#75 - 1964

Posted on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 at 8:39 am by LaLonde Jewelers

I think back to when I was a youngster and what events shaped my life. I grew up in a river community with approximately 50 homes. With my parents help, I got myself a paper route. I didn’t realize at that time that I had a core of customers to work from. My two brothers and I were soon cutting their lawns and helping with gardening. We would make apple cider from our fruit trees, and it would cost 19 cents a gallon to make, and we could sell it for $1.25 to my paper route customers. I had a little cottage industry going.

I learned if you kept you word with these folks, that there was no limit to what I could do for them.

I think that if I had grown up in a larger community I might have never left.

Something happened in 1964, the US Government went off the silver standard with their coins. No longer would there be silver in the dimes, quarters and half dollars. So, in stepped my mother. She told me that when I collected the change on Saturdays for the paper, I was to take all the silver coins and put them into my right pocket and the clad (non-silver) coins and go into the left. When I had to give change take it from the left pocket. When I got home, I turned all the silver over and got paper money from mom.

This lesson with coins, didn’t end there. One of the customers that I delivered to, a huge plantation home, were two old women. They lived by themselves, I think they had outlived their spouses. They had to be in their 80’s. This meant that they were born shortly after the Civil War. When I was invited inside to collect for the paper, I saw their phone and it was a hand crank style with the cone that you put to your ear.

Well every week when they paid, they would give 15 of the 60 cents in Indian Head Pennies. Hell, they stopped making those 60 years earlier. At my young age I knew I had to save those.

This, I realized, was the beginning of my interest in rare things, coins, jewelry, watches and diamonds, and also the start to my ability to deal with people.

Now, when I left my area and then went to Gem School and also studied coins, I got to thinking about that box of coins that my mom had beaten me out of. My father had just passed and I asked her about that white box. I was sure after all the years it had grown like the fish tale. Must be a million by now.

I found the box. I took it to a good friend in the coin world and said write a check to my mother.

Didn’t make a penny on the deal but it was the best money I NEVER made.

Written by Dan LaLonde, G.G., G.I.A.
Lalonde Jewelers & Gemologists
The Gem Expert