Keep the Change

A Collector's Tales of Lucky Pennies, Counterfeit C-Notes, and other Curious Currency

Harley J. Spiller


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     5.5 × 8.5 in (14.0 × 21.6 cm)
112 pages
48 color illustrations
Publication date: 04/15/2015
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781616892562

Harley J. Spiller began collecting money at the age of five when, home sick from school, his father tossed him a sack of pennies and a Whitman coin folder. In the five decades since, author Spiller has amassed one of America's most extensive collections of unusual financial artifacts as well as a wealth of anecdotes and quirky historical details about U.S. currency. In Keep the Change, Spiller takes an irreverent look at our most uncommon coins and bills. Readers learn why greenbacks are green; what happens to worn-out bills (compost is involved); how artists navigate the fine line between art and mutilation; whether it's ever acceptable to burn money (short answer: maybe); and how coin clippers and counterfeiters through the ages have profited by manipulating money. This highly selective tour through currency legends and lore will inspire readers to look with a new sense of wonder at the bills that pass through our hands every day.
  • Author Harley J. Spiller was named by Art & Antiques magazine as one of the nation's "Top 100 Collectors"
  • Illustrated with forty-eight color images of items in the author's archives, including bills with printing errors, artists' money, and a "neutron irradiated" souvenir dime from an atomic energy exhibit for children at the 1964--65 World's Fair
  • Includes entertaining and comprehensive catalogs of slang terms for money and of the myriad methods for transforming cash, from bar tricks to folding to rubber stamping to shrinking, silk-screening, and puncturing to make jewelry

Harley J. Spiller's collections are exhibited in museums around the world

Editorial Reviews

New York Times:

"...beautifully written and designed...His interest carries us, as it did him, into the world of coin collecting, a realm with its own terminology, quirky habits and venerated experts and connoisseurs. But he dissents from its codes and in so doing demonstrates collecting as a passion that can be satisfied many ways, more or less free, according to one's own rules."

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