This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
It seems whenever I buy something new, something bad happens to it.
Within a week of buying every new car, someone’s car door or a stray shopping cart has made a little dent in the side of it.
I was reminded of this truism this morning. I was looking at our kitchen table and the somewhat faded big red stain right in the center.
Flash back 10 years. We had 2 young kids, and our old kitchen table had permanent marker and glitter glue indelibly embedded in it from, well, 2 young kids.
I was tired of looking at that crappy old table so we started fresh with a beautiful new oak table. We admonished our kids to always put something on top of the table before starting art projects. Which they absolutely did, for a day or two anyway.
A week or so later I came home from a hard day of coin dealing and immediately noticed a large red stain on the new table. It looked as though someone slaughtered a meduim-sized animal there. Neither kid did it, of course.
I set to work on removing it, but that stain wouldn’t budge. That was a decade ago.
Every week since, when we clean the house and after every meal we give that stain an extra hard scrubbing. The stain is still there, but it has faded very slightly. I propose that the US Navy use whatever ink that stain was made from to coat our nuclear submarines; we’d never have to paint them again.
Why do I bring this up? Well, partly because that stain still really bugs me when I see it, but mostly to make a point about coins. Yes – this really does relate to coins.
I was reminded of humans’ frequent failure to keep nice things in pristine condition when I purchased a collection from a local estate. It was a large collection consisting of very ordinary coins – circulated common date Morgan dollars, dateless Buffalo nickels, oodles of wheat cents and so on.
But in the midst of this there was a Morgan dollar. A beautiful, unmarred, superb uncirculated 1885 Morgan dollar (see below). It seemed to glow in the dark, especially in that morass of “stuff”. How did it remain in this condition for all these years? And how did it end up in there? Seeing it in the midst of that typical, beat up coinage reminded me that every single high grade coin still in existence is a little round miracle.
These objects were made to be used, and used hard. When we see one that has somehow escaped the fate of nearly all of their brethren it gives me a renewed appreciation for each of them.