Cracker Jack Coin

by Josh on August 30, 2007 · 5 comments

in House History

We found money buried in our backyard! It’s the secret dream of every owner of an old house to find a pile of money under the birdbath or behind a wall, but it really happened to us.

Unfortunately we only found one coin.

And it’s only play money.

But it’s still buried treasure to me. The coin we found is a Cracker Jack Mystery Club Presidential Coin. From a bit of googling, I learned that the coin is aluminum and was made between 1933 and 1936. (Even during the Great Depression the prizes were better than they are today!) When kids had collected five coins they could mail them to Cracker Jack for some better prize.

Cracker Jack Coin front

Ms. Bungalow found the coin in the backyard while gardening. Our best guess is that it was revealed after some of the recent heavy rains washed away the layer of dirt it was under.

Cracker Jack Coin back

This is the Andrew Jackson edition. On the face it has a profile portrait of the president along with the words: 7th President U.S.A., 1829-1837, Andrew Jackson. On the back around the edge it says “Old Hickory, The Hero of New Orleans,” and in the center is printed, “Join Cracker Jack Mystery Club, Save This Coin, The Cracker Jack Company, Chicago, U.S.A.” I meant to photograph a real coin for comparison, but the Cracker Jack coin is about the size of a quarter.

Our coin isn’t worth anything, but the one you find in your yard might have real value, so here are a few tips for handling old coins:

  • Be gentle! You want to preserve patina and minimize scratches.
  • A simple soak in hot water will loosen most dirt.
  • If you must scrub, baking soda and a toothbrush can remove dirt trapped in the little crevices and details.

This episode makes me wonder what else might turn up if I went over the lawn with a metal detector. Have any of you dear readers done this? Did you find anything interesting?

Happy treasure hunting!

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