1. On April 1, 2004, I exchanged $1000 in US currency at my bank for
Pounds Sterling. On April 3, I exchanged the Sterling for Mexican Pesos. On
April 5, I exchanged the Pesos for Australian Dollars. On April 8, the AU$ were
exchanged for Polish Zloties. Finally, on April 12, I took the Polish
Zloties, added 150 Euros, and paid my taxes. I had just enough. If the
bank took 5% of each transaction as a fee, how much were my
My answer was $973.54, but there was a lot of variation, probably due to
where you got each exchange rate.
Closest answer was from Sebastian Mercado (one of our newer members) at
John Baumgart gets special credit for his answer of "Too damn much," which
is also very correct.
2. Name a movie whose story line revolves around a coin.
I was thinking of "American Buffalo" (Dennis Franz and Dustin
Chase Davis chose that one, too, so he gets the credit. But, everyone got
this one right, regardless of the movie selected. John Baumgart chose "Three
Sovereigns for Sarah," which I had to research, because I'd never heard of
it. He was right!
3. I have 12 coins. One of them is counterfeit; it weighs differently. I
don't know if the false coin is heavier or lighter than the right coins.
What is the least number of weighings on a balance scale that will
identify the counterfeit?
Answer - The answer is three, and three entries got it right (John Baumgart, Bob
Fitzpatrick and Howard Spindel). Howard was nice enough to point to an
explanation, so I don't have to detail it here.
Answers ranged from two (?) weighings to 132 weighings (!)
4. Where is the "Golden Door"?
New York Harbor, and again, three people got it right (Chase Davis,
Howard Spindel and Bob Fitzpatrick).
From the poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus, inscribed on the base of
the Statue of Liberty: "Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I
lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Liberty and the Statue have been a
long-favorite subject of US coinage.
5. What is special about April 6, 1862? How does it relate to this
Answer - The date is the Battle of Shiloh (Civil War). In that battle, Colonel George Dixon would be shot, but his life was saved because the bullet struck a gold piece given to him by his girlfriend, Queenie Bennett. He turned it into a love token, and carried it for the remainder of his military career. He was killed in the Confederate submarine "Hunley," recently recovered
outside Charleston harbor. The coin was found on board.
Five entries correctly identified the Battle of Shiloh, but only two (Bob
Fitzpatrick and Howard Spindel) made the connection to Dixon and his gold
coin love token.
6. You are given 1000 one-dollar bills and 10 envelopes. Put the bills
into the envelopes in such a way that someone can ask you for any amount of
money from $1 to $1000 and you can give it to them through a combination of
Answer - Arrange the envelopes so that each has a dollar value equal to ascending
powers of 2 (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256). Put the remaining $489 in
the final envelope. (Note: This is how computers count in binary.)
Obviously, we have computer-savvy numismatists here. Five of seven entries
got this one right, and Jim Gosney was SO-O-o-o-o close. But, Sebastian
Mercado gets the credit. His answer, and I quote, "If I had $1000, I wouldn't give one dollar to anybody."
7. Who (or what) is "King of the Bush"?
Answer - From "The Kookaburra Song": "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, merry,
merry king of the bush is he." The "Kookaburra" is the nickname of the
Australian gold bullion issue.
Again, five out of seven got it right.
8. Why is "penny" abbreviated "d"?
Answer - From the Roman "Denarius", an ancient Roman coin, also the Latin word for
I think we're on a roll. Five out of seven again.
9. Name seven movies with "money" in the title.
Answer - Everyone got this one right. There are more than enough titles to go
10. What happened on April 16, 1972?
Answer - What I was thinking of was China's donation of two "Pandas" to the
Washington (DC) Zoo. (The real kind, not the coins.)
Howard Spindel correctly identified that event. However, Jim Gosney and
Chase Davis (and Howard) pointed out that Harry Bass purchased a rare 1838
Gobrecht half dollar at auction. And, everyone else reminded me that Apollo
16 was launched. Credit for everyone!
11. How much is a Broad worth? (Careful!)
Answer - The Broad was a British Commonwealth coin issued in 1656, worth
approximately 20 shillings.
Chase Davis, Bob Fitzpatrick, Jim Gosney and Howard Spindel all got it
correct. However, in keeping with my promise of credit for making me laugh,
John Baumgart gets credit for "two narrows", and Sebastian Mercado gets
credit for "25 Argentine Pesos for 15 minutes." ;o)
12. Why would a question about Scott Joplin be appropriate for this
Answer - Because he composed the "Maple Leaf" Rag. Remember, I said to think
Four out of the seven answers were correct. Half credit to Bob Fitzpatrick
and Jim Gosney for their answers relating to the 1893 World's Fair, which
was commemorated in coin.
13. Is this a real coin ? If so, what is its significance?
Answer - No, that was a PICTURE of a real coin. (Trick question) But, if you
correctly identified the coin in the picture, you got the credit. Nobody
did. For what it's worth, that is a picture of the first sixpence issued by
Britain, during the reign of Edward VI.
14. How many different ways can you give change for a dollar?
- The "dollar" refers to the current US dollar.
- The "change" should be based on CURRENTLY MINTED US coinage.
- The term "making change" should be construed in its commonly accepted
usage. This is NOT a trick question
Answer - I was looking for 292, but if you include the dollar coin, it is 293. Five of seven people got this one right. If you'd like to see the combinations, view them HERE.
15. What is the shortest run, in years, of US coinage (single
Answer - My intended answer was the 20-cent piece of 1875-1878.
However, it was
pointed out the question is unclear and ambiguous, since it isn't clearly
stated that I was looking for circulating coins (my fault), and that
patterns and commemoratives could be included. Question was tossed out. No
credit to anyone.
At this point, here's where we stand:
Howard Spindel 11
Chase Davis 10 ½
Bob Fitzpatrick 10 ½
John Baumgart 9 ½
Jim Gosney 7
Sebastian Mercado 5
Spencer Guiley 4
By the narrowest of margins, Howard Spindel is the winner. Congratulations,
Howard. You have won a beautiful wooden nickel from South Park Coins,
Forney, TX, good for a $1 discount on a future purchase. And, in the spirit
of generosity, I'm throwing in two gen-yew-wine US Mint tokens, personally
removed from Philadelphia and Denver uncirculated sets. Who knows, some day
their copper content value may be up to 1 or 2 cents.
So, we didn't need the tiebreaker:
And a tiebreaker, just in case:
16. How did Philip V of Spain further numismatism?
My intended answer was that he financed an expedition to Peru, where
platinum was discovered. Here is the quote from Wikipedia:
"Platinum was discovered by astronomer Antonio de Ulloa and Don Jorge Juan y
Santacilia (1713-1773), both appointed by King Philip V to join a
geographical expedition in Peru that lasted from 1735 to 1745. Among other
things, Ulloa observed the platina del pinto, the unworkable metal found
with gold in New Granada (Colombia). British privateers intercepted Ulloa's
ship on the return voyage. Though he was well-treated in England, and even
made a member of the Royal Society he was prevented from publishing a
reference to the unknown metal until 1748. Before that could happen Charles
Wood independently isolated the element in 1741."