Posted by Deliverator on June 25th, 2005
Stopped in at Vetco the other day to pick up some odds and ends for a project I am working on for one of my clients, a nice guy named George. George was layed off a few years short of retirement and rather than sitting around decided to live out one of his dreams and start his own wine store. His store – George’s Wine Shoppe – opened up about a week ago in the Lake Hills Shopping Center (his store is a few doors down from the DMV – good combo, right?). The store carries a good selection and price-range of wines from around the world, as well as a couple refridgerators of import beers. George is very knowledgeable and is a lot of fun to chat up, so if you are looking for some good wine (or just 3 Buck Chuck) check him out. He is going to be doing a number of wine tastings in the near future, so if you want to be notified, send him an email at email@example.com
While at Vetco, a guy walked in and proceeded to show off a number of coins that he had shrunk using an electromagnet and some super-capacitors. He had 3 or 4 of the coins with him. One was a quarter that had been shrunk to around the size of a dime. While I had seen this sort of thing online, previously, this was the first time I had seen one in person. He intends to sell them on eBay once he refines the process. One customer in the store proceeded to argue that defacing currency is illegal. Actually, to the best of my knowledge, defacing money is illegal only in such cases where the defacement is an attempt to defraud. For example, in the past, some coins were made of precious metals such as gold and silver. The metal in such coins was valuable, in and of itself. So, unscrupulous persons would take a sharp knife and shave a little bit of metal from each coin that passed through their hands. In the case of businesses with a lot of currency “churn,” one could accumulate a pile of shavings rather quickly. This led to coins shrinking more and more, until someone would refuse to accept it. This was a big problem for our and other governments. One method of trying to stop this practice was to put ridged edges on larger denomination coins. Thus, if a coin was missing its ridges, it was obvious that it had been shaved recently (likely by the person trying to give it to you). Once the US moved off the silver/gold standard and let the currency float, coins started being manufactured out of less precious metals like zinc and nickel. The ridges on coins like the quarter are thus there largely out of tradition, rather than any functional purpose. Thus, seeing a shrunken coin with its ridges intact is both a curiosity and a bit of an inside joke with coin collectors.