Monday, June 10, 2013

What the Hell is going on with the nickles?

Back in 1998, the US Government had what seemed at the time like a cute and fairly non-threatening idea to start changing what was on the back of the Quarters

*A Note for non-US readers (And Hello, Morocco, btw!) The US Dollar still exists almost exclusively in paper form because we as a people have politely told the US mint to go f*** itself every time they've tried to point out that lots of countries make do with a coin for such things just fine.  The dollar itself can be broken down into denominations of Quarters (25 cents), Dimes (10 cents), Nickles (5 cents) and Pennies (worthless, except for chucking at people and hearing the elderly go on about how you could once use them to buy gum)

** Yes, they were called nickles because that was originally the metal used to strike them.  Vizlsa = Knowledge, as ever.

Anyhow - these coins had existed with more of less the same images since Jesus was a boy (ok, not exactly true, but they were exactly the same for a long time.)

Then in 1998 the government said - Hey, let's start issuing some variations on the design on the back of the quarter in hopes of conning some kids into collecting coins and thus accidentally saving money - as unAmerican as that concept is.

And so they issued 5 new quarters a year, for 10 years, one new design for each state of the union released in the order that they became a state.  And it was pleasant enough and many of us collected the whole set because at a pace of 5 each year that is not a particularly onerous task.*

*Some folk did go ALL out and collect one example from each of the two mints that issue US coins.  There are only two major mints that issue US Coins, btw.  A letter under the year on the coin indicates at which mint it was struck.  V=K

And that was all well and good and at the end of ten years it was widely thought that that was probably enough of that sort of thing.

Oh no, said the treasury.  And being out of states they issued Quarters for each of the protectorates.  And we sort of nodded and accepted that, because we've always had a sort of grudging respect for Puerto Rico if only for the rum.

And then they started doing landmarks.  And we looked on with mild disapproval.

And then they started doing notable events.  And everybody stopped paying attention all together and just went back to using debit cards.

And then they started doing it to nickles.  Except they'd already used everything they could think of on the quarter, so they were left with great events along the lines of 'Slightly different angle of Jefferson's face', 'Nathan Hale having a difficult bowel movement' and 'Ayn Rand castrates her first yearling'.

And by this point, because nobody paid any attention to nickles even when we were pretending to care about coinage, they're pretty much just allowed to run whatever crap they think of.  All of which will only end when they inevitably begin their 'Commemorative Wangs of the Founding Fathers series', and we'll have no one to blame but ourselves.

But I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by Jefferson

Like so many were at the time.

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