A Wheat Penny For Your Thoughts

lincoln-wheat-penny

Lincoln pennies from 1909-1958

The other day at the bank, I was given four pennies back in change. All four were wheat pennies, which means that they were dated before 1959 when the Lincoln Memorial replaced wheat stalks on the back of the U.S. penny.

lincoln-penny-memorial-on-back

Lincoln pennies from 1959-current

For you non-numismatists, finding a wheat penny in circulation is extraordinarily rare. For me, it was instant nostalgia. I was an avid coin collector as a kid and kept a box of dixie cups under my bed. The cups were labeled 1945-D, 1945-S, 1946, 1946-D, 1946-S and so on. Whenever I found a wheat penny, I’d toss it in the appropriate cup; I’d make a roll of that particular date when I had accumulated fifty of the little guys. I tracked the quantity of each date by roll and cup on a computer at school, which spit out my wheat penny inventory on large green-and-white barred paper. I was one organized nerd!

buffalo-nickle-front-and-back

Wheat pennies weren’t all I found in circulation. The U.S. mint stopped making silver coins after 1964 but you could still find a wealth of collectible coins in your dad’s pocket change—Buffalo nickels, Franklin half dollars, Mercury dimes and even an Indian Head penny, Standing Liberty quarter, Liberty Head V-nickel, Walking Liberty half dollar, Peace or Morgan silver dollar or Barber dime now and again. I feel sorry for kids today who will never see such treasures except in specialty coin shops.

mercury-dime-front-and-bacl

Even though wheat pennies have all but vanished from circulation, only the very best dates are really worth anything. Still, getting those four pennies back in change instantly rocketed me back to my youth. And it occurred to me that if all four pennies I received were wheat pennies, I bet there were more where those came from. At my request, the teller happily went through her supply of pennies and found fourteen more, including three steel pennies from 1943. I scooped them all up, of course!

standing-liberty-quarter-front-and-back

I routinely sorted through hundreds of coins as a kid but now have to squint to read the dates. So I walked out to the parking lot, sat in my car, pulled out the little pocket magnifier I keep in my planner and examined my eighteen little friends. I was astonished to find dates like 1914, 1917, 1919 and 1925-D. I imagined some kid breaking into his dad’s penny collection to buy some candy and baseball cards.

frankln-half-dollar-front-and-back

Although my find was almost unheard of, none of the pennies were actually worth much. A coin dealer wouldn’t even pay fifty cents for any of them. Still, it made my day and brought back a wealth of good memories. I suspect that anyone who collected coins as a youth can relate to my little trip down Penny Lane.


whitman-lincoln-penny-folder-coverWhen my daughter Erin was seven, I eagerly introduced her to coin collecting. Her interest in it didn’t last long but for a short time we collected pennies together. One day, we spent an hour or so pressing pennies into her blue Whitman coin folders, the brand which continues to be the industry standard. When we finished, I folded up the books. Erin, who was already keenly aware of social justice, glanced at the front of a blue book and exclaimed in disgust, “White man coin folder? They can be for black people, too!” With a smile, I pointed out that the word was Whitman, not White man. We still laugh about that today!

whitman-lincoln-penny-folders





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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA

Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
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Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

Order it at GodIsLogical.com.

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?


Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.




Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.



SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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4 Responses to “A Wheat Penny For Your Thoughts”

  1. sharon Says:

    wow phil i didnt know there was a wheat penny maybe i am young well 35 is kind of old ,yeah i am getting old

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yep, anytime before the late 1960s was the golden age for coin collecting. Sorry you missed it, Sharon!

  3. Your seester Says:

    Fun column, Philip. What’s a Barber dime? Change from Cliff?
    (He’s the guy who cut our hair when we were kids.)

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Good one, Noncat!

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