His name is Jim Houlton, but his friends and family have taken to calling him a “coin master” when he exchanged more than $ 5,000 in an effort to address the national coin shortage brought by coronaviruses.
“I was saving my change after drinking coffee or running,” Holton, a Wisconsin painting contractor, told NBC News. “I was hoping to save my wife and I could have some fun after my children graduated from high school.”
Holton, a father of four, began saving when his eldest son Cameron was born. Holton was given the Green Bay Packers Piggybank to remind him of Cameron’s birth, but did not need to bring the container over until he filled the container.
Holton said that over the course of two decades he would fill “any container” he could replace, including ice cream containers, buckets and other tins. Nevertheless, he was surprised to find that he deposited $ 5,366.05.
“I thought that when the kids graduated, we could do something fun like going to Europe or something we never dreamed of doing,” Holton said. “I figured it would top $ 1,000 or $ 1,500.”
Holton kept the change in his basement and didn’t intend to touch it for a few more years – his youngest child, Holly, is currently 15 years old. Yet when he came to know about the lack of national coins, he felt compelled to help. He called the North Shore Bank in Wauwatosa to see if they could exchange coins last week and by Friday he was giving three five-gallon buckets and other containers to the bank.
“It felt like it weighed 300 pounds,” Holton said. “I was sweating when I pushed Doli.”
The epidemic affects the economy and coin circulation is no exception. As businesses close or implement cashless policies, the changes decrease. Last month, the Federal Reserve set up an American coin task force “to mitigate the effects of low coin inventions caused by the Cov-19 epidemic.”
While the Federal Reserve said in a statement that “it is confident that the coin listing issues will be resolved once the economy opens up more widely,” some banks have called for customers to submit their changes due to shortages.
Holton, for his part, has deposited his windfall into a separate account – one he still hopes to use for a special occasion.
Holton said, “I won’t save coins for a while due to shortages, but maybe I can find a more creative way.” “If we all do something small in our communities and help each other, this is what makes the world better.”
The current coin shortage sums up the “penny drought” of 1999, during which businesses had to ask customers to stop the coins.