1931: Another “Good” Year

Experienced coin collectors know that a depression, panic, or recession often has an effect on mintage figures. When I was a boy, I didn’t always make the connection that coins of the early 1930’s were hard to find, or priced higher in a dealer’s showcase because of the Great Depression. I mean: I knew about the GD because my parents told stories about it. (Will the young miss share her stories about GD2 with the generations to come? Who knows?) I just never connected the dots. Those rarities were beyond the budget of a boy who slightly preferred to spend his allowance on books.

I was on the road for a good bit earlier today. I listened to NPR’s afternoon talk for awhile. First time in a long time. Bankrupt cities: you don’t read much about that in the blogosphere. I wondered what would happen if everybody defaulted on all debts. There would be no borrowing in the aftermath–that’s for sure. Everybody would be financing their lives and businesses and governments based on income. Not what they could borrow at favorable rates semi-arbitrarily imposed by often-shady economic groups.

Anyway, I traded in some silver coins for a Depression-era scarcity.

My find today is similar to the one above. I couldn’t get a good image on my cell camera. Mine is a bit darker, but still a healthy brown. No spots. For west coast cents, only the 1909 had a lower production. The San Francisco mint produced less than a million of these in 1931.

I remember reading that one collector amassed 200,000 of these through banking channels in 1932. That hoard, if kept intact, today would be worth in excess of $25,000,000.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to 1931: Another “Good” Year

  1. I don’t know a lot about coins, but I remember that a friend of mine who collected them called these “wheaties.”

    As it happens, up at this early-even-for-me-hour, I was just listening to the BBC as I made coffee. They were talking to an American economist who spoke about the US emerging from WWII wealthy and encouraging spending and consumption. In Europe and Japan it was different – they had to start from their impaired places. Of course, everyone began to emulate the US, although we have always been the worst savers.

    Well now it all comes home to roost. I always wonder how we can keep telling everyone that spending will boost the economy and yet with so many out of work.

  2. P.S. – I had no idea about the mintage and the years either, thanks. I always learn something here.

  3. Liam says:

    Does anyone track how often SF coins made it east of the Rockies in pre-automotive days? Certainly, during the era of gold and silver booms of the second half of the 19th century, the bullion made it eastward to the mints of the east, but what about the coins actually minted in SF?

  4. Pingback: Fun With Coins: Good Cents | Catholic Sensibility

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