Glimpses of Grace & Truth...When George Walton died in a 1962 car accident, authorities found a strange nickel in a velvet package at the crash site. Walton knew the value of his special coin because he had researched how a rogue worker at the US Mint made it fifty years before. When the US Treasury decided in 1913 to change the image on nickels from the old Liberty Head to the Buffalo nickel, long-time mint worker Samuel Brown was changing the plates late one night so they would be ready the next morning. After changing the year plate to 1913, Brown decided to keep the Liberty image plate and run five coins for safe keeping. For years, the story and the value of those coins was known by few people,
including George who just died. Authorities gave the velvet-packaged nickel to Walton's sister, Melva Givens. When she asked coin experts to value the coin, they unfortunately declared the coin was fake and worth no more than a wooden nickel. Although Melva hung onto the coin, she put the nickel in the top of a closet in an envelope where she penciled, “This is fake.” When Melva died in1992, her son, Ryan, and his sister left their “worthless” coin in the same envelope and closet for years. Finally in 2003, Ryan saw a coin show in Baltimore featuring the other four 1913 Liberty Head nickels. When he took his “fake” coin (after it sat in the closet over 40 years), coin experts there declared it was the long-lost nickel.
Once they decided to sell it, their “worthless coin” sold for $3.2 million.
How unfortunate that Melva Givens spent her whole life, and her adult children also spent years convinced that something worth so much had no value. How unfortunate it is that even when we ask “the experts,” they too can greatly underestimate the value of things. Society today is filled with many “experts” who have undervalued some of life’s most valuable things. Think of all the New Testament phrases describing what today’s society undervalues, things like faith, hope and love, or the fruit of the Spirit (where “fruit” is singular to say they’re a unified whole, not just individual characteristics). Or remember how Jesus pushes us to value every single person—from the Samaritan woman at the
well to the metaphor of a lost coin worth diligently searching all night to find. If someone were to ask you to name some things today’s society undervalues, what makes your list? Or if we surveyed that long list of so-called “experts”—authors or celebrities who show up first at Barnes & Noble, or make the first
page of Google Search results— which of them should we listen less to about the value of things? In Lenten season, how can we turn down the volume of those so we pay more attention to those most valuable things? Join us Sunday as we are reminded how hard it is for today’s youth to find and hold onto those things of greatest value, and bring a friend to worship.
Sincerely glad to be serving Christ alongside you: Ed, Will and the First UMC Family