In 1963 small coins began to vanish from circulation at an alarming rate. The mint blamed this on coin collectors, and began a series of changes that violated common sense. Like they had done in 1942 they looked for replacements for silver in dimes and quarters. After much searching they decided to change the composition to a clad a sandwich made of copper and cupro-nickel (a copper nickel alloy). They deleted all mintmarks from US coins made between 1964-1967. All of which caused hoarding of pre-1964 coins

The real cause of the shortage was the fact most coins spent 28 to 30 days each month in vending machines, parking meters, and phone booths. A fact documented by noted author Walter Breen at the time. This is another example of the love hate relationship the mint has had with collectors (see coins you cannot legally own)
For a couple years in high school, I had a really cool math teacher. (Yes, The Great Coin Shortage of the '60s.) She used to be an assembly programmer at one of the Baby Bells, and she had a really great story about an older co-worker of hers.

Many years earlier, the co-worker had been working on a major upgrade for the pay phones around the United States. When it was finished, and tested, it was distributed to payphones all around the country.

As all of you who have programmed assembly can attest, programs take a significant amount of time to write, get complex very quickly, and are difficult to modify. The program had a small bug that was overlooked; The money release, for the collectors, did not work. At the time, the number of payphones, and the scale of the problem drastically reduced the number of coins in circulation for a period of time.

The make a long story (that I never heard in its entirety) short, it took them a week to fix the problem and get everything working, the programmer didn't sleep for days at a time, but he got a phone call from Lyndon Johnson encouraging him to hurry up, because of the coin shortage that it was causing.

Anyways, that's all I know about coin shortages in the 60's.

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