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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

If Only Money Could Speak

By Ken Anderson, The Mayberry Guru,

One thing I enjoy is looking at collectibles and antiques. When I visit antique shops and see the vast assortments of dishes, knickknacks, clothing, tools, and toys, it makes me realize that behind every item lies a story. I always wonder where each item originated and how it found its way to an antique shop.

My wife and I have an old bank cash bag that contains many old and unusual coins and bills. I spent some time this week sorting through them, and I couldn't help but wonder what stories these coins could tell if only they could speak. Each one must have traveled many miles and visited many places before we placed it in that bank bag, where it would remain unused.

One of our more unusual coins is an 1893 Indianhead penny. My wife found it years ago in an old dresser that has been in her family for generations. The penny was lodged in a corner where a drawer came together. Her grandfather had made the dresser back in 1893. We believe the coin was placed in the dresser by my wife's father to commemorate the year his father built the dresser. But we will never know for sure.

We also have two other Indianhead pennies. One is from 1883, and the other is from 1903. I think about all the possible hands that may have held these two coins in all those years. How many children used them to buy a precious piece of penny candy or perhaps milk at school? Maybe someone with very little money placed them in a church collection plate. How many hands held these two pennies so many years ago, and how many miles did they travel?

One of the old bills we have is a 1934 ten-dollar bill. This bill began its journey in the middle of the Great Depression. Millions of Americans had lost their jobs, banks closed, and the stock market had crashed in 1929. Ten dollars would have been a considerable amount of money.$10 in 1934 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $207.42 today. That bill that has been tucked away safely in our cash bag for many years probably helped countless people survive the Great Depression as it passed from hand to hand all those years ago.

We have many more coins and bills in that old bank bag. What part of history they each played, I will never know. I hope whoever we pass them on to will keep them because they are certainly a part of many fascinating stories, even if those stories are never known. If only money could speak.

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