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Getting started

I started with a 1964 Kennedy half dollar coin, as it is about 90% silver and easier to shape. I am using a small hammer to strike the edges, and after 30 minutes of hammering the grooves are starting to disappear.

Minor Progress

After about 3 hours of hammering the coin edge is starting to widen and the face is starting to curl under so that the date and the word “LIBERTY” will be visible on the inside of the ring.

Half Done!

Finally, after several more hours of hammering, the lip of the ring is wide and straight, and the circumference of the ring seems to match the circumference of another ring that I know fits his ring finger. The other ring, actually, is a large ring I found on my home street at age 10. It’s just costume jewelry and was way too big for any of my fingers but I’ve kept it ever since, on an inexplicable hunch that the hand it fit one day would be important.

Sanding

I clamped the coin between two boards and drilled a starter hole through the face. To sand off the hammer marks and give the ring some shine I used the drill to rotate the coin against different grits of sandpaper.

Drilling Holes

There was definitely something that felt very wrong about putting a hole through Kennedy’s head. Hm.

Back Story

At some point last year a roaming Sacajawea coin crossed paths with JP and would not leave his person for some time after. It accompanied him in his travels across the US, seeing at least 15 states and hundreds of thousands of miles. We dubbed the migratory currency “The Coin of Truth” for its decision-making ability with respect to heads and tails assigned options. Used on everything from business decisions to restaurant options, the coin of truth functioned on one simple premise – the user must observe the decision of the coin.

The coin continued to draw power from our regard, until the day we asked it whether or not it liked being with JP. A sense of foredoom set in when the coin flipped a conclusive “no”. Despite its negative answer the coin stuck with JP for a few more months, until it disappeared from his pocket in an airport in Phoenix, Arizona today. The wanderlusting woman set out to brave new frontiers, and we are left to wonder where she’s headed next. JP quoted my favorite movie and said “I shouldn’t have put it in my pocket. I put it in my pocket, it became just a coin. Which it is.”

Coin of Truth

No fuckin way!

I just got a call from JP who is on his way back from working in Austin this week. He told me that he just stopped at a gas station and was in line behind several people. When he got up to the counter, he looked down and sitting on top of a pack of gum was a gold Ulysses S. Grant $1 coin. He’s talked so much these last couple weeks about how he’s waiting for his next coin of truth to find him. Who would’ve thought it would be so soon? Unbelievable.

Getting Close

Removing the center has been ridiculously time consuming, but I’m almost there! Just a little bit more and then I’ll shine it up. I can’t wait!

“Don’t put it in your pocket. It’s your lucky quarter.”

“…Where you want me to put it?”

“Anywhere not in your pocket. Or it’ll get mixed in with the others and become just a coin. Which it is.”

Iron & Wine – Boy with a Coin

Patina

I added a dark patina to the ring using liver of sulfur, which was extremely cool to watch. The ring darkened up all over and after neutralizing, I removed the dark patina from the raised areas of lettering on the inside. I ended up doing three washes to get the result I wanted.

All Polished Up!

How it looked after using 1600 grit sandpaper.

Follow Up

After contacting Sam Beam’s band manager, I received the above email.

Boy with a Coin was the last song Sam played.