Saturday, February 28, 2009

Red Paint on Quarters

Since he was a teenager in the 1970s the Complete and Total Loser has noticed in change quarters with varying amounts of red paint on them. This always baffled him. Was it counting marker of some kind at the mint or a bank? Were quarters used in some kind of laboratory exercise by high school students in classes everywhere except his own? Did just one crazy person spend his days doing this?
This is the kind of thing the Loser thinks about, even today. When he finds one in the presence of friends, he points it out, only to be met with shrugs.
His curiosity led the Loser spend the late 70s and most of the 80s developing the Internet singlehandedly. "If I do this," he said, "I'll be able to one day use it to search far and wide from the comfort of my own apartment and find out why quarters sometimes have red paint on them."
Sure enough, after hours of hard work making the Internet what it is today, he was able to find, if not the answer, a possible explanation a few years ago: Hobbyists.
There are people in the United States of America who, when given free time, paint quarters and other coins with various designs. The Loser figures the red paint is the result of tests of paint.
But this isn't good enough. Why quarters? The Loser has half dollars, which provide a far larger canvass. And why red? A deep blue background would look as nice. All the coins he finds with paint on them are quarters from the seventies. And the one pictured has paint indiscriminately applied; note the paint on Washington's eye.
More research is required. Much more.

1 comment:

  1. The paint is probably from a laundromat or other quarter-based business that wants to track the quarters. For a laundromat, they paint them so they know which are used by their wash/dry/fold people and which are brought in by customers so they can make sure their WDF people aren't stealing.