Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Nickel Penny?

Did you know there was once a nickel "penny"? Properly, a 'penny' is always a copper coin, but during the run-up to the Civil War, the US turned to nickel due to shortage of precious metals, resulting in a one-cent nickel:

But that's not the kitschy part -- in 1871, a chinaman ran afoul of a debtor's attempt to substitute these for more valuable 'indian head' coins, according to the New York Times:

"...Some way individual conceived the idea of a "new way to pay old debts," and, obtaining some of these coins, started for his Chinese washman, whom he owed just $3...[The washman] asked the broker, "how muchee." His countenance fell as the broker informed him that it was but one cent, and, after stating the circumstance, went to look for the deceiver."

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