With the country buzzing over a "coin shortage," a Wauwatosa man decided he could help get some coins back in circulation--and some greenbacks into his wallet.

Last week, I posted a piece about different places of business here in Rockford that are asking for credit card/debit payment rather than cash because they're short of coins to make change (Is There Really A Coin Shortage Going On?).

As it turns out, the answer to the question was both yes and no. Yes, because there are fewer coins in circulation because places that deal with primarily cash have been closed or reduced service since the pandemic began. Those coins just aren't getting back into the money stream as fast as they normally do ("velocity of circulation" is the term).

We still have the coins, but they're just sitting gathering dust for the time being.

Maybe Jim Holton, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin read that piece and decided that he would do what he could to speed up that velocity of circulation. Jim may not have unilaterally ended the problem in Wisconsin, but he's put a $5,000-plus dent in it.

Jim's one of those people who, at the end of the day, throws his pocket change into a bucket. The thing with Jim is, it's been 20 years since he's actually emptied that bucket. Well, actually, at this point, it's not a bucket, but several buckets. He figures he's thrown in about 60 cents a day since he got started.

His plan was to cash it all in when his kids finished up with college, but after reading about the purported coin shortage, he thought he'd help out.

So, he headed for a local North Shore Bank with 5 buckets, along with some other containers of coins.

He walked out with a grand total of $5,366.05.

My grandfather passed away in 1981. He'd been throwing his change into one of these things (his was heavy-duty glass) since 1940.

Big bottle of water isolated on white background
Getty Images

After his passing, my grandmother asked my dad and I to take it to the bank and cash it out. I don't remember the exact total, but it was somewhere north of $8,000.

What I do remember though, is that it took 3 of us to carry it out of the house and into the bank. I also remember the bank teller being rather testy about having to handle the transaction, which took the better part of a couple of hours to tally up.

Maybe we should have done it like this guy. He used 5 wheelbarrows of change to pay the DMV:


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