The Coin

Hmmm,  I’m puzzled and intrigued at the same time.  A number 4 in the center and words around the edge of this large antique coin piques my interest. It is one of those distinct pieces of jewelry that certainly has a story.  I know it must be of sentimental value because she wears it each day we see her.  The other clue is the thickness of the chain holding this coin.  You purchase a thick twisted chain to secure something that is valuable to you.

Call me weird, but while others sit behind their electronic gadgets at airports, I play a lot of mind games with myself, such as trying to guess the jobs or life stories of total strangers.  So even as I was conversing with my friend, I was guessing the story behind the coin she was wearing around her neck.  It reminded me of some of the coins that have been recovered from shipwrecks I’ve seen sold in dive shops on remote islands or high- end jewelry stores in popular tropical settings.  It is doubtful one would stumble upon something like this.  My next guess is that it might be a colon, the previous form of currency in El Salvador before the country converted to dollars in 2001.  But that seemed unlikely for this coin to have a 4 because the colon was divided into units of 10 centavos.

Now I realize that I am being rude as I spend more time staring at her neck than making eye contact and probably even wearing sunglasses is not disguising my obsessive curiosity.  It is time to be forward and hope she doesn’t mind my nosiness.  “If you don’t mind my asking, is there a story behind the coin you are wearing?”  I sheepishly inquire.

WOW, IS there ever a story!  Her great-grandfather, the original owner of her finca (farm) lived during the time when each finca owner minted his own currency which was used to pay his workers.  The workers then in turn exchanged those coins at the local bank for colons which they could use for their needs.  She shows me both sides of it.  The name of the finca is written around the edge of it. 

Only four of these coins from her great-grandfather’s estate remain in existence and the one around her neck is one of them.  Others are divided among family members.  To say she treasures this part of her heritage is an understatement.

But the story doesn’t end there.  Recently she and her husband added a new set of steps to their front porch.  During the excavation workers discovered a fifth coin which they gave her. 

Who knows?  Maybe they will discover even more coins or other artifacts as they continue to renovate and build.  The locals describe this 120-year old estate as a relica, or one of the few remaining original finca homes still in use.  Things are anything but static at this finca where possibilities, dreams, and visions are constantly coming to fruition.


    Afflicted with Hope / is one of many outreach ministries at
    Saint Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA)
    30 West Main Street, PO Box 266
    New Kingstown, PA 17072

    Tax deductible donations for support of this work in El Salvador may be sent to the above address.