The U.S. 10-cent coin is much too small for me to comfortably
handle in my relatively large hands.
I am, without question, all thumbs at manipulating these
17.9-millimeter coins while attempting to examine them with my
magnifying lens or jeweler’s loupe.
Because of my clumsiness, I am a reluctant searcher of dime rolls.
As dimes take four times longer than any other denomination to search
through, I would rather search through cent rolls.
The slight increase in the size of cent coins makes it much easier
to pass each coin through my hand.
But being an avid roll searcher, I put my reluctance to search
dimes aside whenever a large number of the “wee” coins becomes
available at my local bank.
As always, I’m glad I did. While the coins discovered are not
particularly valuable, they are still unusual finds!
I always get a kick out of the non-U.S. coins that emerge from
dime rolls since their discoveries are made easier by their obvious
Measuring 18 millimeters in diameter, the first unexpected coin I
found was a French 1923 aluminum-bronze 50-centime piece.
The obverse depicts an image of the Roman god Mercury (Hermes
being his Greek counterpart), seated above the date and facing left.
To his left is a caduceus and to his right, a rudder. To the left of
the date, is the name DOMARD, indicating that the design was created
by Joseph-Francois Domard (1792 to 1858).
The reverse design shows the denomination in the center with the
text BON POUR 50 CENTIMES (“good for 50 centimes”) within a ring
surrounded by CHAMBERS DE COMMERCE DE FRANCE.
Beneath the denomination is a cornucopia, which is the Mint mark,
indicating the coin was struck at the Monnaie de Paris.
Following World War I, France was facing war debts it couldn’t
meet. It suspended production of small denomination silver coins.
Under a plan with Chambers of Commerce throughout France, the
Paris Mint began producing 50-centime and 1- and 2-franc “tokens” that
were issued by the chambers from 1921 to 1929. These pieces eventually
came to be accepted as coinage.
The next unusual coin I found was a 1967 cent of Trinidad and
Tobago, measuring 17.8 millimeters, struck in a bronze alloy.
The obverse design of the coin indicates the denomination, the
date and the country of origin. Being a bit of a birder, I was curious
about the birds that were depicted in the design of the coat of arms
on the reverse.
The design shows two hummingbirds on a shield. Holding the shield
on the left is a scarlet ibis and on the right is a cocrico. The
cocrico is the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago.
I look forward to hearing about your discoveries. Please feel free
to share your finds by emailing me at email@example.com.
Bill O’Rourke is a collector who has spent the past several years
searching coin rolls in
pursuit of his hobby.