Truth in the Coin Shop

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You are uptown in a shopping district of a small community, and you pass by the meat shop, the wine shop, the coffee shop, two churches side by side, a coin shop, an antique store … and hold it right there.

A coin shop? This is irresistible, because, as implausible as this may sound, all political truth can be found in a coin shop. And not just political truth: you find in here the story of the whole of modern life on exhibit, and learn more from looking than you find in a multivolume history.

There they are on display: coins from all lands. Why are they worth more than the coins in your pocket? Because they are old? That’s part of it but not the essence of it. There are some new coins here that are also just as valuable as the old ones.

What is critical is that they are made of gold and silver. You can pick them up and tell the difference. They are heavy. Stack them and let them fall on each other, and they make a different sound from the coins that usually rattle around in your pocket.

It strikes everyone and anyone immediately. Somehow these coins are "real"; the coins we use today are not. But what does this really mean? And what does it imply?

The value of the coins amounts to far more than their marked value. Even dimes before a certain date sell for ten and fifteen times the face value. The larger coins can be quite expensive.

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Jeffrey Tucker [send him mail] is editorial vice president of www.Mises.org. Comment on the Mises blog.

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