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Coins of the Heart, A Currency That Keeps

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My coin collection is not extensive, is not intrinsically valuable, and is not for sale. Once in a great while I heft the wooden box that is my treasure chest and look things over, but I do not fondle the money miserly.

Some years ago now I mentioned here in another context my $10 gold piece that I had lost. Not lost, really, but separated from by the wiles of the bankers. My dad suggested I put this coin in the savings bank for safe keeping, and thus I wouldn't lose it when I frolicked on the green with my juvenile associates. He assured me the bank would give it back to me if I wanted it. Thus I found that bankers and fathers speak in forked tongues, and $10 are $10 and my gold piece disappeared.

But a lady in Winchester, Mass., read my complaint and agreed that I had been needlessly bilked. She graciously sided with the little boy who supposed bankers could be trusted, and she sent me a $10 gold-piece replacement. She was Miss Maude Shapleigh, the date was March 23, 1968, and I love her exceedingly but never met her. My coin collection begins right there. FDR took the country off the gold standard in his muddled time, but Miss Shapleigh and I paid no attention.

It was in 1914 that my mother took my younger sister and me from Boston to Prince Edward Island to get acquainted with our Canadian grandparents. One morning Grampie gave us each a Canadian cent. They were the big Canadian coppers shortly to be taken out of circulation, and mine was dated 1908, the year of my birth.

Grampie told us to trudge over to the Acorn store, the business center of Millview, and buy ourselves some "sweeties," which were small peppermints that looked like camphor moth balls. I don't remember if my sister squandered her cent, but I kept mine and have it now. It is the size of our US quarter, and it might be Canada hasn't a candy counter now where my copper would be recognized as money.


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