I Am Number 4

Merrill - dollar

Growing up as the 4th child (middle child), of 6 had advantages and disadvantages. The advantages: the parents are over the novelty of having children by this time. They aren’t overly protective – as they were with the first born. They aren’t as strict with you. They let you muddle through things. They aren’t uptight about a lot of things.

Of course, depending on how you look at it, this could be considered a disadvantage. But I never considered it a disadvantage. It was fun.

The disadvantages: You (me) are the 4th child, the 4th boy. You aren’t able to do things with the big brothers when you are young, and by the time you are old enough, they are all gone and you have nobody to pick on, except your 2 younger sisters.

Occasionally, I had to do my older brother’s dirty work. For example, when my grandparents came over to visit, my grandfather would always bring packs of gum for all of us. My brothers were too shy to ask, but always put me up to asking him. I didn’t mind, as I was able to pick my favorite gum, which originally was Black Jack, a licorice flavored gum that I haven’t seen in  years. I eventually settled on Juicy Fruit, and that became my gum of choice as a child.

My grandfather also gave us all a silver dollar every Christmas, and I still have one that he gave me over 50 years ago. I hadn’t given it much thought until a couple years ago, when I began wondering about its value. As you can see from the photo above it has taken on some tarnish over the years – not exactly mint condition.

It was minted in 1888, and is worth about $35. Not exactly a collector’s item, but really, it’s more about its sentimental value than anything else. If it had been minted one year later, however, it would be worth about $300,000. Yes, that’s right, three-hundred thousand dollars. I don’t know how sentimental I could be if it were an 1889 CC dollar.

But here’s the rub: in 1889, there were only 350,000 of the CC Morgan Silver Dollars minted, and in 1888 there were over 19,000,000 minted. Mine was probably one of the middle children of that vintage, always doing the other’s dirty work – playing the slots, etc., until I came along and rescued it.

I think I’ll keep it.


From A Memoir of Most of It

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