William is the managing editor, appointed to that position on May 1,2015, after serving as news editor for many years. He joined the Coin World editorial staff in 1976 as an assistant editor for "Collectors' Clearinghouse." Bill manages the editorial staff and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the print and online editorial content of Coin World. He serves as chief copy editor for all Coin World publications and directs ditorial production aspects of Coin World. He has served as lead copy editor for all books published by Coin World since 1985. Bill began collecting coins at age 10. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and majored in journalism.
Rolling Stones concert surprise source of half dollars in change
?Coin World senior editor Paul Gilkes’ recent blog about receiving a Kennedy half dollar in change at a concession stand at a rock concert and his news article in this issue about increased circulating coinage production are connected, however tenuously.
Paul writes in his blog (http://goo.gl/DQSZrC), “Despite being Coin World ‘s senior editor for U.S. coins, I haven’t seen a Kennedy half dollar in circulation or received one in change for years. That is, until May 30, in, of all places, Ohio Stadium, home to the national champion Ohio State Buckeyes football team.”
“All of the food and drink items were priced in even dollar amounts or in 50-cent increments,” Paul writes, adding, “I was actually slightly dumbfounded when the concession worker handed me a well-circulated 1972 Kennedy half dollar in change.”
Paul is always the reporter so he asked the cashier why they were using half dollars; the worker explained that because all of the food and drinks sold at the concession stand were priced in 50-cent increments, all change was handed back in half dollars.
A niche market for half dollars doesn’t get any “nich-ier” than a Rolling Stones concert concession stand in Columbus, Ohio.
The Kennedy half dollar has been a niche coin for decades, used increasingly infrequently in circulation. As Paul explains in his news article at the top of page 5 this week about the Denver and Philadelphia Mints rising up to meet increased circulating coinage demand, half dollars are no longer struck for circulation. In fact, that last happened in 2001 when the Rolling Stones was a boy band, when Mick and Charlie and Ron and Keith were mere youths in their late 50s.
During their current Zip Code tour of North America, the Stones have been selling out and rocking the house with their classic tunes, including 1968’s “Sympathy for the Devil” and the lament, “Who killed the Kennedys,” about the hoarding of the half dollar; and 1969’s gold digger tune, “You Got the Silver.”
And the Stones didn’t forget their trio of classics about the woes of cracking out half dollars for resubmission to the grading services: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Tumbling Dice” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
Finally, they brought the house down with tunes from the days when they dabbled in questionable personal forms of coin alteration: “Under My Thumb,” “Paint It, Black,” and “She’s a Rainbow.”
Seriously, though, the half dollar still can serve commerce even in these highly specialized transactions. You may even get one in change some day; time is on your side.
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