Conan Barbarian's Blog

15 Nov 2017

Numismatics in Movies

Coins-United States | Conan Barbarian

one of my most favorite movies of all time had a hint of numismatics that literally changed the entire plot of the movie. the movie, UHF, written and staring the one and only Weird Al is one of the funniest comedies out there but one of the heros of the story has one of the smallest amounts of screen time. this character is a bum who is begging for money on a street corner when a fairly wealthy man tries to mock him by only handing him 1 cent and what do you know that that one cent is a 1955 DD cent worth thousands of dollars. The homeless man instantly recognizes the cent and knows its worth and doesn't hesitate to cash out on this opportunity. this fairly insignificant action done by the wealthy business owner turns both the bum's life around but also the protagonist. i will not give away the ending of the movie but i love the incorporation of the infamous cent within this very comical movie. i strongly recommend watching it or put it on a must watch list but the movie is called UHF and incorporates this small aspect of numismatics very cleverly into the film.

the 1955 DD cent was produced in the Philadelphia mint and its obverse is a very collectible coin in the numismatic field. It is estimated that 40,000 of these coins were minted, all during one night shift at the Philadelphia Mint. Roughly 20,000-24,000 of the pennies were introduced into circulation after the minting error. there are examples out there that are in MS and it is fairly easy to acquire one in lower grades but they are not hard to find for sale but they can get expensive. almost all the large collections Stacks has there is at least one of these coins in it and if you want to see one in person the lot viewings is the place to go. 



Level 4

In Dick Van Dike, one of the episodes they have a Numismatist come over and look at some old coins they found.


Level 6

I've never heard of this movie but it sounds fun! Thanks for the recommendation!


Level 4

that has to go on the must watch list - i seem to remember a tv crime show from the seventies - i do not remember the name, but there was a wealthy coin collector & one night when he & his wife were at home - criminals broke in & wanted the collection, so they "offered" the collector, his wife or the coins, he hesitated - it was all down hill from there


Level 6

Enjoyable blog, thanks!!!


Level 5

Oh wow, Conan, I didn't exactly forget about this scene in UHF, but I certainly haven't thought about it in quite a while! Michael Richards was amazing in this, imho. It weirded me out as a kid in the "80's (who did not have ANY other collectors around me when I was younger) to see people in a movie talk about a collectible coin, even if for just a brief moment. Most of the movies geared toward my generation back then were mostly all about "jocks and dweebs" in (the fictitious Chicago suburb of) Shermer, IL - thank you John Hughes!! And Thank you so much, Conan, for this trip down memory lane today! -Sam Gelberd, ANA Numismatic Educator.


Level 6

Thanks for the hint to the movie. Sounds fun!


Level 7

Very interesting. I never got into Mr. Weird Al but it nice to see that some writers respect coins. There was two movies made about the famous nickel that broke up a Russian Spy Ring and the T.V. show C.S.I. had the famous dime 1916 D and a St. Gaudens. The nickel the movies were The F.B.I. and Spy Bridge with Tom Hanks. I like when writers do that. Now I have to find the movie sounds interesting. Thanks for that. It makes the movie more interesting for us. Especially when it's true. Looking forward to it. Mike


Level 6

Never heard of this movie. That was a good scene, & sounds like it was accurate, numismatically.

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