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An Unusual Find



Over the years, I have retrieved Indian Head Cents, Buffalo Nickels, and War Nickels from circulation. Adding to those finds are hundreds of wheaties and an occasional silver coin. However, I have never found a proof coin in circulation... That is until now.

Summer is a great time for day tripping and occasional stops along the way for fuel and refreshments. If you pay cash for your purchases, more often than not by the time the trip is over, you come home with a pocketful of change.

Now my wife and I are members of an evangelistic pantomime drama team and last Friday we left for a day trip to a youth camp to do a show. On the way to the show, we stopped at a Speedway station to buy gas. While there, I went into the convenience store to buy a couple of bottles of water for my wife and I and paid for them in cash.

Now it is usually my habit to examine my change before placing it in my pocket. However because I was in a hurry, I put the change in my pocket without looking through it.

On Sunday morning while we were getting ready to go to church, I cleaned out the pockets of my shorts before throwing them down the laundry chute. When I stepped towards my dresser to put the coins from my pocket in a dish, I noticed the reverse of a Montana State Quarter with a much more reflective surface than usual.

Now I was in a dimly lit room when I first noticed the quarter and thought to myself that it must be proof-like. I also noticed that the feel of the coins rim was much sharper than usual. At that, I flipped the coin to examine the obverse finding that it was just as reflective as the reverse. Then I saw the S mintmark and thought not proof-like but PROOF! I had just retrieved my first proof coin from circulation!

I know that every serious coin collector has heard of PVC residue but how many of you have heard of sweat residue. Now it gets a little hot in front of stage lights and I was beginning to sweat during my performance with a proof coin unknowingly in my front pocket. Therefore, not surprisingly, sweat residue is exactly what happened and the picture I am posting clearly shows it.

Normally, I am not a strong proponent of cleaning coins and I do not have any acetone on hand. However, I have heard that olive oil can safely remove some forms of residue and I gave my coin an olive oil bath. Well this worked pretty well and I am posting the after pictures of my coin with the before pictures.

Now, if you are wondering what am I going to do with the coin, I am not going to submit it for grading because as you can see its banged up a bit. I am also not returning this coin to circulation. Instead, I am going to keep it as a memento of an enjoyable day and my first circulated proof find.

All this begs to question, how did this coin find its way into circulation? Did some kid raid their parents collection to buy candy? The world may never know! Happy hunting!



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