Lost coins, stolen coins, fake coins — they all turn up on television, grist for murder, mayhem and comic misunderstandings.
Coins make for great drama. They’re ubiquitous, hideable, portable, liquid and potentially valuable. A plot can twist on a tiny bit of easily lost, easily hidden metal no bigger than a fingernail.
Collectors notice coins on television, and everyone has a favorite story from Sheriff Andy Taylor’s famous backwards buffalo to Hawaii Five-0’s $100,000 nickel. Collectors cringe a bit, too, when watching coins on TV shows. The coins are often abused to the point that they would lose much of their value to scratches and wear.
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For example, the 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent piece featured in the Hawaii Five-0 episode was placed in a vending machine, thrown in two cash register tills, carried in pockets and plunked down on a bar.
God only knows what kind of condition it would be in after all that. Coin collectors, though, can be thankful that a stunt double was used for the Olsen specimen. The Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has certified the real coin as Proof 64.
Here is a look at a few of the more interesting coin appearances. (Most of the images are screen shots taken from the episodes, most of which are viewable online.)
Gold doubloons and pieces of eight
The Mickey Mouse Club, Oct. 1, 1956:
The Mickey Mouse Club was must-see TV for baby boomers in the 1950s. Every school day afternoon, Walt Disney’s mouse led a parade to start the show, which featured dancing and singing Mouseketeers, words of wisdom from Head Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd and a really old cartoon or a serial adventure.