Monday, December 01, 2008

And Hawaii makes fifty

There was joy at my home this weekend. Rayda produced the new Hawaii quarter, the last of our collection of the fifty state quarters. No longer will I search my change to find needed quarters, only to bring them home and find that we already have the state I have found. The collection is finished, the mission is fulfilled, we can check off yet another milestone in our lives.


The Hawaii quarter has a special affinity for me (or rather I for it).I recall Hawaii entering the Union (Alaska too, some months before). In just 30 days we will begin celebrating those states’ golden anniversaries. Fifty years since I asked my father if life would change now that there was a bigger state than Texas.


My father was a patriotic fellow, but prudent with the family fortune. Upon Alaska joining the Union, he went out and bought a 49 star flag so that it could fly proudly over our fence on the fourth of July, 1959. In his loyalty to the nation, he temporarily forgot the very temporary  utility of the 49 star flag. Within months Old Glory had fifty stars and my dad was not happy about possibly  paying more money  our local flag dealer (I never knew where he bought our flags) so soon after his 49 star purchase. Being somewhat compulsive (the kind of guy who would spend  years collecting 50 quarters, as long as my wife was responsible for organization of same) I badgered him to get a fifty star flag before July 4, the date of the neighborhood party we always hosted. I could tell that he was not happy about this. To put us back into 1959 lingo, the flag he had purchased was an Edsel. It was purchased  six months early, and a star short.


I had given up on the fifty star flag when I returned from playing baseball on the afternoon of July 4, 1959. As I looked up at our fence I saw our forty nine star flag hanging limply in the typical breezeless Houston humidity, but wait, what was that beside it ? To the left of our flag, my father had place a Pineapple. This was a great Ace Porter solution, honoring the country and its new state ,without having to buy a new flag. I never asked him what he paid for the Pineapple. By July 4, 1960, the Porter family was  up to fifty stars.


Another reason that I am partial to Hawaii is that I am a taxpayer there. This being Monday morning, and my not wanting to start the work week in a foul mood, I shall not go into the details of that arrangement between myself and the Aloha state. Better to talk about that on a Friday, maybe on a payday, after about three or four drinks.


I would hope that the appearance of the Hawaii quarter signaled the end of the great American experiment of coining money without the intent of the legal tender ever entering into circulation. My rough estimate is that there are about 500,000 million quarters, or $125 million dollars  sitting in various collection apparatus (apparati ?) around the country. Maybe more, among coin collectors in other countries. That money could be of great use right now in combating deflationary pressures, but alas, there it sits in millions of junk drawers, forgotten and unused. Our government, in its wisdom, has now disappointed me and upped the ante of money  which will never  be used by introducing dollar coins with pictures of Presidents upon them. Since those have proven to be as unpopular as every other time the Feds have tried this, they have embarked on a huge advertizing campaign begging us to use these coins, I don’t think it will succeed. If it does however,people will collect all of the Presidents aand hundreds of millions of more dollars will be kept out of circulation, just as the Federal Reserve is doing everything possible to make us spend money. Maybe they will release that 700 million bailout to the banks all in coins. Of course, the banks are not lending anyway, so what’s the use ? Aloha.


Blogger Stacey said...

The completion of this collection makes me $12.50 richer. Thanks Mom & Dad.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Jannie said...

The Pineapple Plan! hilarious, a good sense of humor had he.

10:42 PM  

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