Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

coins

No More Penny Reports…

…and the reason is simple: The supply of old pennies appears to have dried up in my usual haunts. I got a 1967 penny at Fry’s on the 18th, and that was it. Nothing I’ve gotten since then has been older than 2003.

So maybe it’s a local rather than a global phenomenon: Somebody cashed out a big penny jar, and it’s taken until now to work through all those 50-60-year-old pennies. I’m going to keep watching, of course, but unless the trend appears again I’ll assume it was a one-time thing.

Daily Penny Report

  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 1998-D, near-unciculated, 90% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 2016-D, extremely fine, 60% mint luster.

Daily Penny Report

  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 1988-D, extremely fine, 30% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at Whole Foods: 2013-D, brilliant uncirculated, 100% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at Whole Foods: 2011-D, extremely fine, 85% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at Whole Foods: 2005-D, very fine, dirty, 25% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at Whole Foods: 1975-D, extremely fine, 60% mint luster.

Daily Penny Report

  • 2 pennies at Safeway: 2019-D, brilliant uncirculated, 100% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at Safeway: 2000-D, extremely fine, 60% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at Safeway: 2001-D, fine, 5% mint luster, corrosion
  • 1 penny at McDonald’s’s: 2012-D, extremely fine, 85% mint luster

Remember, if I don’t post a penny report on a given day, that day I didn’t buy anything for cash and get pennies in change. And no, I won’t be doing this forever. I’ll stop when I get some stats on the age of pennies in common circulation.

Daily Penny Report

  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 2019, brilliant uncirculated, 100% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at Fry’s: 2007-D, very good, dirty, no mint luster.
  • 1 penny at Fry’s: 2012-D, near-uncirculated, 85% mint luster
  • 1 penny at Fry’s: 1986, very fine, 10% mint luster
  • 1 penny at Fry’s: 1959-D, brilliant uncirculated, 100% mint luster

This last one was a bit of a surprise: a 61-year-old penny that looked like it had never been touched. Photo below, beside the 2012-D with just a few smudges.

Uncirc 1959-D - 500 Wide.jpg

I’m not sure where a penny would have hidden for 61 years except in a penny jar. And so the experiment continues…

Daily Penny Report

  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 1985, fine, no mint luster.
  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 2005-D, extremely fine, 50% mint luster.

Daily Penny Report

  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 1978, very fine, 5% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 2000, near-uncirculated, 60% mint luster.
  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 2002-D, extremely fine, 20% mint luster

Let me clarify how these reports work: I am posting a line item for every penny I receive in change on any given day, not a line item for each transaction. (Actually, if I get two pennies with the same date, I’ll report them in a single line item, as I did yesterday.) Today’s pennies came to me in one purchase at MickeyD’s. If you don’t see a Daily Penny Report, it means I didn’t buy anything that day that gave me pennies in change. Big stuff I typically charge, but I pay cash for little stuff so as not to clutter my charge statements.

Daily Penny Report Intro

I’m getting 25, 30, and 35-year-old pennies almost every day when I get change at all. So for awhile I’m going to post a short entry each day when I get pennies in change. I’ll give a year, a condition, and where it came from, for each penny I get. Maybe there’s no trend. Maybe I just notice the older pennies more. Except…I look at them all. The old ones outnumber the new ones. I’m doing this more to keep a log than to provide engaging reading. Is this a passing phenomenon, or is it real and long-term? I won’t be adding this intro each time. So you’ll see a lot of one- or two-line entries, even on days when I post something bigger. Let’s see what the numbers eventually say.


  • 1 penny at McDonald’s: 1985-D, near-uncirculated, 50% of mint luster
  • 2 pennies at Natural Grocer: 2019-D, brilliant uncirculated, 100% mint luster
  • 1 penny at Natural Grocer: 2016-D, uncirculated, smudgy, 90% mint luster

Monthwander

1943D Lincoln Cent - 500 Wide.jpg

The old pennies continue to arrive in my hand, at both McDonald’s drive-through and the Fry’s supermarket across the parking lot. Just yesterday I got a 40-year-old penny in change from my $1.09 coffee, again with plenty of mint luster. And about a week ago, something wonderful ker-chunged out of the Fry’s autocashier machine, after I fed it a twenty for some groceries. It was a 77-year-old penny, and one-of-a-kind for US coins: It was struck in steel in 1943, because in 1943 American bronze was going elsewhere, primarily into shell casings.

Although it certainly looks its age, the penny was clearly not a parking-lot penny. It had some dirt and oxide on it but none of the pits and scratches that parking-lot service will impress on a coin. Even when I was a kid they were curiousities. Ever so rarely we’d get one in change, and when we did we put them in our penny jars. I don’t think I’ve seen one in the wild since 1965 or so.

Now, if you remember, take a look at the pennies you get in change. I’d be curious to see how widespread this phenomenon is.

And the next time we get one of those little glass bottles of heavy cream, I think I’m going to start a penny bottle, with nothing but 20+ year old pennies in it.

_…_ _…_

In my spam bin a few days ago I found an email pitch for…wait for it…a Monkees fan convention. I will readily admit that I was a big Monkees fan when I was 14. The band recorded some good material, with the caveat that not all of it was used in the TV show, like their wonderful cover of the Mann/Weil song “Shades of Gray.” But a Monkees convention? Their show went off the air 52 years ago. Half of the Monkees are (alas) dead. Who’s the demographic? Sixtysomething Boomers? The con is real. If it were in the Southwest I might even be talked into attending, just to see who else shows up. (It’s in Connecticut.) It’s funny how I remember the TV show as being hilarious. Carol and I watched a few episodes on Netflex a couple of years ago. It had its moments, but I would not describe it as anything better than whimsical. Of course our standards for humor have gone up. That’s what standards do.

_…_ _…_

Summer weather in Scottsdale ended pretty abruptly last fall, skipped autumn entirely, and went right to winter. Of course, for us that means daily highs in the 50s and 60s, and nightly lows in the 40s. This year, we were dipping into the 30s in November. Carol’s had to cover some of her plants with old towels and pillowcases to protect them from radiative freezing, and that was even before the winter solstice. It’s been a mighty chilly year in a lot of places, including some you don’t generally associate with cold weather, like Saudi Arabia. You will not see anything mentioned in the MSM. Of course it’s weather. But line up enough weather in a row, and you get something else, heh.

We don’t get three dog nights here. (That’s a big part of why we’re here.) But we’ve been having some two-dog nights lately, even though there are six dog beds in the great room alone:

Two Dog Night - 500 Wide.jpg

_…_ _…_

Once again, a reminder: Those links and (very) short bits I used to do here as “Odd Lots” I’m now doing on Twitter. I have 512 followers, and that’s more people than those who read Contra regularly. You can find me on Twitter at @JeffDuntemann. I’ll probably be doing more of these “wander” items here, plus longer form essays as they occur to me.