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  #1  
Old 03-15-2019, 02:00 PM
shootinxs shootinxs is offline
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Default Some thoughts about the old coins we find....

I've often wondered about the value of the coins at the time they were lost.

It seems to me that losing a (for example) seated liberty dime back in 1840 would have been a pretty big deal. I know personally there have been times where I'm in a parking lot or something and a penny falls out of my pocket and rolls under a car or something I've just not bothered and let it lay. If I reach in my pocket and a dollar falls out I'm picking it back up for sure.

I'm assuming a dime in 1840 had a decent amount of worth to the point where it was noticeable if it went missing. I guess I'm just surprised that people find them, as well as other silver coins from that period, as often as they do since those coins had real value back then. Much more so than a dime or quarter means to us living in today's world.

I guess this post really has no point or question. Just a thought. Anyone care to comment or think about these things as well?

Anyone know the value of a dime in say, 1840? Or what you could buy with a dime in 1840?
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:20 PM
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10 cents today would have had the buying power of about $2.54 in 1840.

You can't really say something that costs 10 cents today would have cost 2.54 in 1840 because market demands were very different. For example, I can buy a banana for a quarter today. I doubt somebody in Kentucky could have done the same in 1840.

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Old 03-15-2019, 03:06 PM
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And if you extend the question to the value of gold coins ($5, $10, $20's, for instance) it gets even more astounding. Back then, a miner's pay for the entire day might be $5. So for him to loose a $5 gold piece, would ....... I guess ...... be like you or I loosing $100 to $200, eh ?
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:50 PM
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The thing is, even though a dime bought more then than it does today, it was still the same size coin....very easily dropped, lost, and hard to find once you dropped it even if you were aware you dropped it. If it was retrievable I'd bet that virtually everyone made the effort to pick it back up. Today...maybe not so much.

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Old 03-15-2019, 04:15 PM
IDXMonster IDXMonster is offline
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Once again, Diggin makes a sensible point about losing coins...no matter what the value of them was to the person,they still got lost in tall grass,snow,sand,etc. Sometimes they didn’t even know it was gone until miles later...good luck with that!
It’s not that they heard it go “ding!” off a rock and said “so what” and kept walking...they DIDNT hear it go “ding!” and it was WAY lost before they even realized it was gone. Coinage of ALL kinds “meant more” back then because people generally didn’t have the relatively easy access to money and credit as most of us do now. THEIR “economics 101” lesson back then when you didn’t respect and guard money was...you didn’t eat.
I think about these things often,especially when it’s a very old coin from around here,generally mid-late 1800s. It’s another reason why I’m strictly an “old coin hunter”. Old coins with their artwork,history and potential value(at times) is fascinating.

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Old 03-17-2019, 09:19 AM
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The question is more complicated than simply the CPI adjusted buying power of a dime in 1840 vs today. To start, the CPI formula has been changed many times over the 180 yr period. Many think these changes were made in order to limit the cost of living increases paid to retirees through social security. I have heard estimates that actual inflation is 2-3X what CPI would estimate over a long time period. So dime could have purchasing power up to $7.65 of today's money.

So far we have just discussed purchasing power, if you consider relative affluence the value of the dime goes higher. In 1840 there was no government safety net, retirement, minimum wage & insurance to name a few. The government could not run 22 trillion dollar debts as currency was linked to gold and silver. These all make money much more scarce than it is today. Thus, the average guy had to get by with MUCH less purchasing power than he has today. In other words the lost dime could make the difference in eating or not eating that day. The dime would have been precious to the average guy in 1840.

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  #7  
Old 03-17-2019, 09:47 AM
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Pant pockets and coat pockets probably were cotton and developed holes easier back than and coins were lost. Hands probably had more callouses and they couldn't easily feel the coins and dropped them.
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2019, 09:51 AM
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Another way to look at it is not only what you can buy with it, but how long it took you to replace it. Remember in many homes with children, most were a 1 income household. Here is a pretty eye opening link. In 1840 a farm hand made 75 cents a day. Miners up to 1.75 for a 12 hour day. That's less than 10 dollars a week.

If they knew they dropped a dime, they could probably afford the hour to try to find it.

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Old 03-17-2019, 03:13 PM
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Here is a link I had meant to share before, concerning wages.

https://libraryguides.missouri.edu/p...ages/1840-1849

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  #10  
Old 03-17-2019, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Treble View post
Another way to look at it is not only what you can buy with it, but how long it took you to replace it. Remember in many homes with children, most were a 1 income household. Here is a pretty eye opening link. In 1840 a farm hand made 75 cents a day. Miners up to 1.75 for a 12 hour day. That's less than 10 dollars a week.

If they knew they dropped a dime, they could probably afford the hour to try to find it.
“Afford the hour to try to find it”...we spend MANY hours to try to find it!

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  #11  
Old 03-17-2019, 04:39 PM
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Looking at the shape of old coins that are found very few are in great shape meaning they were drop well after there mint date .

You can prove it to yourself by going to the bank and getting a box of pennys which is 2500 coins .the box well contain 70 percent zinc 25 percent copper memorials and about 10 to 20 wheats .

Since the wheat came out in 1909 that's 110 years of circulation out of the 20 wheats you find 2 will be in the teens some 20s and 30s with the majority in the 40s and a couple of 50s .

If hunting a site that dates to 1900 there well be coins that can date back to 1840 not many but looking at the #s very good chance of finding a few .

Then again someone else may have found them before you . sube
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  #12  
Old 03-17-2019, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by shootinxs View post
I've often wondered about the value of the coins at the time they were lost.

It seems to me that losing a (for example) seated liberty dime back in 1840 would have been a pretty big deal. I know personally there have been times where I'm in a parking lot or something and a penny falls out of my pocket and rolls under a car or something I've just not bothered and let it lay. If I reach in my pocket and a dollar falls out I'm picking it back up for sure.

I'm assuming a dime in 1840 had a decent amount of worth to the point where it was noticeable if it went missing. I guess I'm just surprised that people find them, as well as other silver coins from that period, as often as they do since those coins had real value back then. Much more so than a dime or quarter means to us living in today's world.

I guess this post really has no point or question. Just a thought. Anyone care to comment or think about these things as well?

Anyone know the value of a dime in say, 1840? Or what you could buy with a dime in 1840?
Some values of that time http://anotherandrosphereblog.blogsp...1850s-usa.html

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Old 03-17-2019, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by IDXMonster View post
“Afford the hour to try to find it”...we spend MANY hours to try to find it!
I could easily mat h their days wages of the 1840`s with my metal detector.

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Old 03-17-2019, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Treble View post
I could easily mat h their days wages of the 1840`s with my metal detector.
We have stuff today nobody could have imagined...and even if they could, certainly not to the degree of accuracy with which we can “see” things(us CTX users that is....BOOM!). Now if we can find their wages in SILVER! And let’s make it realistic and only find 1840’s stuff,you know...just to keep it real.

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Old 03-17-2019, 06:10 PM
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I was in 3rd grade back in '55 and i can tell you even then losing a dime was a big deal to a kid...losing a quarter was a disaster ...that would've been 25 baseball cards and25 pieces of bubble gum .
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:00 AM
shootinxs shootinxs is offline
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Originally Posted by roadrunner_426 View post
I was in 3rd grade back in '55 and i can tell you even then losing a dime was a big deal to a kid...losing a quarter was a disaster ...that would've been 25 baseball cards and25 pieces of bubble gum .

Exactly my point! I spent my childhood in the 80's and I can remember a quarter going a long way in the candy store. We tortured the poor old lady behind the counter day in and day out making her count out swedish fish.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sube View post
Looking at the shape of old coins that are found very few are in great shape meaning they were drop well after there mint date .

You can prove it to yourself by going to the bank and getting a box of pennys which is 2500 coins .the box well contain 70 percent zinc 25 percent copper memorials and about 10 to 20 wheats .

Since the wheat came out in 1909 that's 110 years of circulation out of the 20 wheats you find 2 will be in the teens some 20s and 30s with the majority in the 40s and a couple of 50s .

If hunting a site that dates to 1900 there well be coins that can date back to 1840 not many but looking at the #s very good chance of finding a few .

Then again someone else may have found them before you . sube
Very good observation & a valid point!

On a side note, the number of wheats per box has sadly decreased. Since I started CRHing back in 2017, the most wheaties I've found in a single box is 14 with the average under 10. In over 125 wheats I've found total, I have found 1 from 1909, 3 from the 10's, 6 from the 20's, & 1 from the 30's, with the majority of about equal amounts from the 40's & 50's (probably a little more from the 50's). But, there are still oldies out there! The 1909 was a very recent find for me, I posted it here: February CRH Report - I Found a 1909 V.D.B. Wheatie!

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Old 03-18-2019, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View post
And if you extend the question to the value of gold coins ($5, $10, $20's, for instance) it gets even more astounding. Back then, a miner's pay for the entire day might be $5. So for him to loose a $5 gold piece, would ....... I guess ...... be like you or I loosing $100 to $200, eh ?
now put this into perspective, apparently around my area there were places where in the mid-late 1800's there was a number of people making $500 a day in oil.... Man oh man how I wish to hit one of those sweet stashes. Lots of cool architecture in those areas as well because of it. They were making in one day what takes the better part of a week for me to earn today.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:52 PM
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Don't forget that there were no lawn mowers in 1840 so grass was a lot deeper and dropped coins were harder to find.

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Old 03-19-2019, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by shootinxs View post
I've often wondered about the value of the coins at the time they were lost.

It seems to me that losing a (for example) seated liberty dime back in 1840 would have been a pretty big deal. I know personally there have been times where I'm in a parking lot or something and a penny falls out of my pocket and rolls under a car or something I've just not bothered and let it lay. If I reach in my pocket and a dollar falls out I'm picking it back up for sure.

I'm assuming a dime in 1840 had a decent amount of worth to the point where it was noticeable if it went missing. I guess I'm just surprised that people find them, as well as other silver coins from that period, as often as they do since those coins had real value back then. Much more so than a dime or quarter means to us living in today's world.

I guess this post really has no point or question. Just a thought. Anyone care to comment or think about these things as well?

Anyone know the value of a dime in say, 1840? Or what you could buy with a dime in 1840?
In 1840 if you had to have a water well dug "by hand of course" it would cost you 10 cents per ft to have someone dig it.
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