$8,000 worth of loose change

Here's a solution for those of you who have lost faith in banks: keep your money in coins...

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

After the events of the last 12 months, you’d be forgiven if you’ve lost a bit of confidence in our top financial institutions.  Since the US sub-prime crisis revealed that many of these so-called ‘masters of the universe’ didn’t really quite understand how worthless some of their complex financial products really were, it’s fair to say that the sector has taken a nose-dive in the estimation of most right-thinking people. However, some people were clearly way ahead of the curve: one US man is so distrusting of banks that he’s accumulated his life savings in coins…

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that James Jones, a retired engineer from Ohio, gave his local car dealership a shock when he turned up with $8,000 in coins to buy a new Chevrolet pick-up truck. Apparently Jones dropped 16 coffee cans’ worth of dimes and quarters on the counter to pay for his new car, forcing staff to spend 90 minutes counting it all. Sadly Jones, who last bought a car in 1981, hadn’t accounted for inflation – the Chevy actually cost $16,000, so he had to pay for the rest by cheque.

Jones told the local paper that he didn’t trust banks, so he couldn’t put his savings there (although we’re hoping he has some, or the cheque will bounce); and he considered coins to be safer than paper money because they wouldn’t be susceptible to fire. ‘Paper money will burn, but it is hard to damage coins,’ he pointed out, with admirable logic. So for the last however many years, he’s been converting his money into coins and stashing it in coffee pots, waiting for the day he could treat himself to (half of) a new pick-up.

According to his son, Jones Senior has always given him money in coins, ever since his school days. And it sounds like he was pretty reluctant about this. Jones Junior (rather uncharitably) told the paper that he was ‘amazed’ that he’d talked his father into buying a new car, ‘because he is pretty tight with his money’. Presumably the accident Dad suffered last year when his old car’s parking brake failed (the car ran over him, crushing his liver, kidneys and ribs) finally persuaded him to dip into the war-chest.

Which is a shame, really – a few more years and he might have had a cash pile to rival Scrooge McDuck...

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