Man stole a massive rare coin collection and dropped much of it into a Coinstar machine

A Palm Beach, Florida gentleman robbed his "friend" of a rare coin collection and dropped much of it into a Coinstar machine for just the face value in bills. According to the Palm Beach Post, Shane Anthony Mele, 40, confessed to robbing Michael Johnson's office of many items totaling $350,000 in value, including around 100,000 coins, "some worth just a little and some extremely valuable." From the Palm Beach Post:

(Mele) told investigators he took some coins to South Florida Coins & Jewelry in Lake Worth, where he said he got about $4,000. The store’s owner, George Hornberg, told The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday the total actually was $2,330.

Mele told police he dumped the rest of the collectibles in “Coin Star” machines at area grocery stores. People often trade large stashes of loose coins for store credit, minus a fee of as much as 11.9 percent.

That means if he dropped in the 33 presidential coins, valued at $1,000 each, he got about $29.30.

image: "Presidential $1 Coin Program" by Bill Koslosky, MD Read the rest

New US dollar coin honors Native Americans' contributions to the space program

The latest addition to the US Mint's Native American $1 Coin series celebrates "American Indians in the Space Program." The heads-side of the coin still features Sacagawea. From Space.com:

The reverse features Mary Golda Ross, the first known Native American woman to become an engineer. Ross' work for Lockheed Martin helped advance the Agena rocket stage used by NASA for rendezvous and docking trials during the Gemini program in the 1960s.

The tails-side also depicts an Atlas-Agena rocket lifting off and, peering down from the top of the coin, a spacesuited astronaut. The Mint describes the latter as being "symbolic of Native American astronauts, including John Herrington (mission specialist on the 2002 space shuttle Endeavour visit to the International Space Station)..."

"The nice thing is when something like this comes out, it opens up people to something they did not know about before and people who are really curious will go and learn more about it," explained Herrington. "They might learn about Jerry Elliott [of Osage and Cherokee heritage], who worked in Mission Control during the Apollo program and was part of the team that won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the return of Apollo 13."

"Or Mary Ross, who was honored with the Ely S. Parker Award, the highest award that AISES, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, gives out for contributions to math, science and engineering in the native community," he said. "She was one of the original people at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works."

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This guy takes coin carving to the next level

Carving and reshaping coins, often called hobo nickels, is a classic art form that is getting an update by Russian artisan Roman Booteen. Some even have mechanisms added: Read the rest

Artist put 15,000 coins on a path and filmed the delightful reactions

When Jamahl McMurran hosted Croatian artist Lana Mesic at his home, she faced a problem: she had 15,000 loose coins from an art project. They decided to dump them on a nearby path and document the reactions, which did not disappoint. Read the rest

This hotel really does launder your money

Starting in 1938, San Francisco's Westin St. Francis Hotel began washing all of the change that flowed through the business. Hotelier Dan London initiated the process to prevent grimy coins from dirtying the fancy white gloves worn by women visiting the establishment. These days, the responsibility belongs to one Rob Holsen. From a 2010 SFGATE article:

The process begins when the general cashier sends racks of rolled coins to Holsen, who empties the change into a repurposed silver burnisher.

Along with the coins, the burnisher is filled with water, bird shot to knock the dirt off, and a healthy pour of 20 Mule Team Borax soap. After three hours of swishing the coins around, Holsen uses a metal ice scoop to pour the loot into a perforated roast pan that sifts out the bird shot.

The wet coins are then spread out on a table beneath heat lamps.

This is where once-rusted copper pennies turn into shimmering bronze coins. Quarters look like sparkling silver bits. It's also where Holsen gives the money a quick quality inspection...

Once he's satisfied, he feeds the polished money into a counter, which shoots the change into paper rolls to be distributed to the hotel's cash registers.

(via Neatorama)

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Watch some fantastic coin stacking

In the (soundless) video above, @thumb_tani demonstrates his masterful coin balancing. (via Laughing Squid)

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"Take a Dump On Trump" counterfeit quarter now in circulation!

Devo founder (and vintner) Gerald Casale sent us a photo of this counterfeit "Dump on Trump" quarter passed off to his wife at a Los Angeles grocery store yesterday:

Yesterday my wife paid cash for some groceries and, as both of us always do when we have pocket change, put the change in a bowl in our kitchen. Later she noticed that one of the quarters in the bowl showed Trump’s profile with a slogan “Take a Dump On Trump”. We’re not sure but she thinks she must have received it when she bought groceries at our neighborhood Whole Foods in Santa Monica. If you saw this coin in reality there’s no way you think it’s not real until you notice Trump’s head in place of George Washington.

And here's a news report about a woman in Amarillo, Texas who also was lucky enough to receive a Dump Trump Quarter!

(Thanks to Jeff Winner of the wonderful Raymond Scott Archives for the tip.) Read the rest

This nickel could save your life

If there’s one thing I just love, it’s tiny objects that do amazing things… and the great big objects that do amazing things, too.

What I’m about to share with you is a perfect combination of both, and just knowing about it makes me feel like I’m connected to Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Believe it or not, a company called Shomer-tec has created a compass out of…wait for it… a nickel! It’s the first item in a collection that will be invaluable on secret missions I’ll never go on.

If you loop a piece of thread around the groove of the coin and suspend it freely, the “heads” side will always point to magnetic north. It doesn’t matter what angle you start at, or where you move in space.   Jefferson’s head will always show you the way.

Sure, this tiny thing is amazing. But it’s even more impressive when you consider that it partners with the world’s largest object. By this I mean, of course, Planet Earth itself.

In grade school, we learned that the Earth has a magnetic field that attracts the north side of a compass towards the North pole. Something slipped my mind since magnets 101…

I forgot that the North Pole would have to have a magnetic pull of south to make the nickel face it, because of the "opposites" rule.

 

Here’s a tongue twister for you: The north pole has a south pole pull while the south pole has a north pole pull.

Nicely done! Read the rest