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The dime’s story

by B.B. Pelletier

There have been so many questions about the silver dime I use for scale in my reports that today I will reveal the entire truth to you. In fact this is a very special dime! It is a rare misstrike, and the image on the obverse isn’t President Roosevelt at all! It is his feeble-minded but kindly identical twin cousin, Louie Roosevelt. You can’t tell that from the pictures I have been publishing, so today I have enlarged the image to show all the subtle but important differences.

You don’t notice until the dime is enlarged that the man on the coin has a thin mustache and an anchor tattoo on the back of his neck. The date of the coin is another giveaway. What looks like a smudge over his eye is actually a birthmark that was the only way his nanny could tell young Franklin Delano Roosevelt from his cousin. Twin siblings are rare enough, but you almost never hear of cousins who are identical twins. The danger of a mixup while they are young is obvious. You don’t want Bob Dylan’s twin cousin, Dylan, growing up as Bob. The music would be awful and think of all the album covers that would have to be changed, once the mixup was discovered!

This is an extremely rare misstrike that was never supposed to leave the U.S. Mint. The date is a clever giveaway.

Back in the 1960s I was a dealer in rare coins in New York. I specialized in error coins such as the 1955 double die cent and others that are less known. One day while I was eating lunch in the coin district of New York City where my shop was located, I witnessed a crime. A robber had just robbed the Ersatz-Mart, a huge emporium of rare counterfeit coins, bills, rare artifacts and political promises. Manny Ersatz was a good friend of mine, so I copied down the license plate number of the getaway car and within an hour the robbers were caught. Why would anyone drive their own car to a robbery, a pink Eldorado convertible with vanity plates that said BADGUYZ?

Back to my story. Manny was so thrilled to recover his stolen merchandise that he offered me any one thing in his store as a reward. Well, I had no trouble selecting what I wanted. On display in his store for everyone to see was the actual hatchet used by young George Washington to chop down his father’s cherry tree. Of course, being so old the wooden handle had been replaced three times and the head once since the incident, but the provenance for this historical artifact was beyond reproach. I wanted it!

But Manny wasn’t about to let that hatchet go. So he reneged on his generous offer, and instead gave me a collector’s book of Roosevelt dimes. It was half-filled and at the time was worth about ten dollars! However, I was a coin guy, so naturally I popped every dime out of the book for a once-over. That’s when I discovered this rare misstrike. You can bet that I went straight to Manny and waived it under his nose. I was angry over losing the hatchet, but I didn’t appreciate how upset he would be over this mistake. He offered to buy it back from me, but I was pigheaded and told him I reckoned I’d just keep it awhile.

Well, a while turned into over 30 years. Manny and I never spoke again and he passed away in a freak accident involving a runaway Macy’s Thanksgiving parade balloon. It was Woody Woodpecker that was featured in a Seinfeld episode, where it was supposed to be accidentally deflated. What the public never saw was the balloon falling on one of the line holders as it came down on Fifth Avenue. Manny was wearing a World War I Bavarian pickelhaube helmet in support of Woody’s German ancestry, and when the balloon came down the tip of the helmet ripped through the fabric, trapping his head inside the gas bag for several minutes until the other workers could get it off him. When they did it was too late. Manny had passed. The Seinfeld people stopped doing real stunts after that. They embedded a brass plaque in the avenue where he fell and visitors can see it in the early hours of the morning, when the traffic dies down. And the city passed an ordinance making it illegal for anyone to wear a pickelhaube helmet on Thanksgiving.

Of course I was devastated when this all happened, but it was too late to do anything about it. My good friend, Manuel Varms Ersatz, was gone forever and I still had the dime that caused the rift between us. So, now you know the whole story behind the dime that appears in my reports. I hope in a small way that this tale helps us all remember Manuel Varms!

53 thoughts on “The dime’s story”

  1. What an incredible story! I actually saw that plaque in NY on a recent trip an got my pic taken with it, I had no idea of the full story behind this guy, only the Seinfeld part.

    With all the recent questions lately I knew this blog was coming soon but I wasn’t expecting it to be THAT good and at the start when you said you would be reveling the truth I tought it would be about how it was an specialy made larger dime than usual to make the groups seem smaller, kinda like the coin the “two face” guy had that identical on both sides in the latest Batman movie but without all the killing people part.


    • Les … It appears that you have not read the latest developments in the Lizzie Bordon investigation. Lizzy didn’t do it. It is now widely accepted that it was her ugly twin cousin, Elsie.

  2. I wouldnt have minded a louie instead of fdr… Sorry almost slipped some political rant in there. I have some currency you may like, a clinton three bill, a obama million, a bush 43 $200. On a serious note, my old man has an old r7, i tuned it but still wont move a pellet, has a nice thunk, but then a reverse suction and pellet plops out, or nothing at all. How far is the breech seal supposed to stick out? Any ideas would be fantastic

  3. G’day BB
    Obviously this coin was carried into space with the laser gun to pay off the aliens if the laser gun did not work?
    Not this time Mate, my leg is still recovering from the last time you pulled it!
    Cheers Bob

  4. B.B.

    You sure know how to shovel it. At least it was more believable than the (insert appropriate objectionable words here) that our presidential candidates have been handing out.

    You must have been good at telling “war stories”. Everyone in the military knows about them.
    The difference between a fairy tale and a war story…..
    Fairy tales always start out…”Once upon a time…”
    War stories always start out….”Man, this is no (insert appropriate objectionable word here) .


  5. I never noticed those discrepancies before. But usually that is because I’m distracted by all the pellet holes about 2 inches outside of it in your target testing…..JUST KIDDING BB!!! You’re an excellent shot and could out-shoot me blindfolded! I just couldn’t resist……. 🙂

  6. I agree: This posting is DEFINITELY 16 days late! In related activities, while at the NRA exhibition on Saturday, neither myself nor ANY of the Scouts I brought from my BSA Troop could find the Pirimid Ayr booth! It wasn’t even LISTED!!! Maybe NEXT time we’ll look for REKTANGULYR AYR’s booth! Or maybe LYNYIR AYR?? 😉
    However, it was good to finally meet you and chat with you there. My Scouts DID enjoy the exhibition and the Crosman range.

    PS: Trouble with this CPU: It won’t take THRII for the anti-spam query what is (blank) + 9 = 12 !!!!!

  7. I have an off-topic question. I found a place very conveniently placed between my home and my work place that can fill tanks to 4500psi, they mostly cater to paintballers so they sell these 68 cubic inch tanks, I found out thanks to Lloyd’s airgun calculators http://calc.sikes.us/ (thanks Lloyd) that I could fill my Hatsan AT-44 9 times with it but I have no idea what I could use to plug between the two, also the tank is regulated at 850psi so will I be able to fill my air tank with?
    This is the manufacturer of the airtank I’m talking about page:
    Since the bottle comes with a CO2 type connector I was thinking of this:
    or even this:

    I had a new fill adaptor machined to fill my AT-44 that ends in a foster male fitting to make things easier, it should be here anyday now.

    Thanks for your help, it will be greatly appreciated as I would prefer not to blow myself up with one of these tanks and/or hose.


    • the tank is regulated at 850psi so will I be able to fill my air tank with?

      Not a high-power/high-pressure airgun reservoir.

      850PSI is roughly the pressure produced by CO2 — and paintball guns were designed for CO2 pressures. Most airguns are refilled before the pressure drops below 1500-2000PSI — IOW, the residual pressure in the gun reservoir is still twice as high as the output port of the regulator; nothing will flow from the regulator to the gun.

      Replacing the regulator with just a flow control valve (knob) to start/stop air flow (and fitting a bleed screw on the outlet side), and then fitting a hose with coupling for the airgun MIGHT be possible… But would have to be done in such a way as to prevent ever using the unregulated tank on a paintball gun (if the air blast doesn’t blow the paintball to bits in the barrel, it will likely be traveling fast enough to penetrate skin).

      Hmmm — were those paintball tanks /rated/ for such pressures to begin with? Even my 3000PSI tanks for the Condor will have to go in for pressure checking in two years.

      • Okay — checked the tank specs, so the last concern is moot.

        However, the CO2 => Marauder (and similar) adapters are likely rated for CO2 pressures — meaning a burst rating of under 1500PSI (that’s almost 2X CO2 pressure, might be as low as 1200PSI). Even if the linked tank could have the regulator removed I suspect the adapter hose would burst before you ever got a usable fill out of the tank.

      • Thanks, that’s what I tought would happen.
        Oh well, you know what they say about deals that seem too good to be true.
        10 fills seemed good enough for me, the larger 88 cu/ft AirVenturi sells has way more fills but it’s 500$ more!
        I’m not sure the carbon fiber tank is worth it, maybe I should just get a used steel scuba tank. I need to check the number of fills I can make with 3000psi vs 4500psi.

        Anyone else has an opinion about this? I’m open to discution.


        • J-F,
          I will be speaking in generalities because I have tried to count fills but I always lose track. So, if you have a gun that likes 2000-3000psi you will get many fills. If you have a gun that has to have 3000 in order to be precise you’ll obviously get much less because tank fills are to 3200psi normally, so it doesn’t take long to drop below 3000.

          I wish I had a number to give you because even I don’t feel very helpful. The shop I frequent will fill to 3500 if you say it’s for paint ball and not diving. They don’t understand pellet rifle but they do paint ball.

          There probably aren’t many cases where guns must always be 3000psi to be accurate anyway. Seems like when they start at 3000 they make that usable fps plateau at something less that is more effective.

          I fill my Marauder to 2500 so I get a ton of fills. I fill my Talon SS to 3000 but am just as happy with its accuracy between 2500-3000psi.

          Sorry I can’t be more precise but I’m not a good bean counter. If you can hold off your decision I could top off my tank and see how many fills I get before it reaches a pressure of your choosing.


        • Hi, J-F. If you have a convenient shop that can do 4500psi fills, I think you have a very good case for investing in a larger carbon fiber tank. The great thing about airgun “ammo” (pellets and air) is that the cost is essentially $0 over time, compared to shooting just about anything else. A few hundred bucks invested in a good tank, early in a PCP obsession, goes a LONG way!

          I hand-pumped for the first two-ish years of my PCP journey before purchasing a 44 cu ft CF tank. No regrets, but if I had known that I would become so hooked on airgunning, I would have grabbed the tank from the gitgo. The tank really facilitates getting to know your rifles. Hand-pumping is not too tough as you’re well aware, but it does sometimes interrupt the flow of a nice shooting session!

          Pyramyd sells a nice looking 88 cu ft tank. And /Dave is right that Joe Brancato is terrific to deal with. I really like the 44 cu ft tank: good compromise between fill count and portability.

          If your fill source is paintball-centric, you might want to double-check that they won’t be spooked by the big CF tanks. If they’ve only done 68 cu in, 88 cu ft is BIG!

          4500-capable dive shops will typically have no problem with the “DIN300” connection (the 4500-capable SCUBA fitting). If you get a tank with a SCBA (firefighter) fitting, you may need a DIN300SCBA adapter like I did. Paintball shops may want something different, like perhaps even a male/male Foster-style connection which would be connected to your fill hose! Definitely something to sort out before deciding which tank and which fittings to purchase.


    • J-F,
      Here’s a review by a guy in the UK on your Hatsan:


      His comment was:
      “a 190-bar fill gives approximately 50 full power shots, with approximately 40 in .177 calibre.”

      For some reason I would have thought the .177 would get more.

      200bar is 2900psi. I don’t know what 190bar is but it sounds like a 3200psi tank will last a long time.

      I’m surprised to see you said only 9 fills on a Hatsan but I use a scuba 80cf so biiiig difference.

      I don’t know if I did this right but using my .22 Marauder as an example and this web site:


      I plugged in:

      12 liter bottle (80cf)
      Fill pressure to 207bar (3200psi?)
      Rifle bottle 215ci
      Rifle fill pressure 1000psi
      Rifle Empty pressure 2500
      Standard filling hose

      I get 30 fills.

      However I’m not sure I understand the rifle fill pressure and rifle empty pressure parameter. I assume “rifle fill” is the amount I have to put back into it after shooting for a while, and “rifle empty” is how much to put in a completely empty tank.


      • I’m getting more shots than that because my rifle is detuned for the Canadian market. Some do it by letting air venting out, Hatsan did it by enlarging the size of the pin inside the valve so less air is coming out. I’m still pumping out but I haven’t shot it until the accuracy decreased so I’m not doing THAT much pumping but as I’m looking into buying more PCP’s (it is indeed the darker side of airgunning, there is just no turning back, you can’t just say “meh, I’m selling all my PCP’s and I’m going back to springers”) I’m feeling the pumping will get old really fast.


  8. I have Twin cousins! One named Robert Bahbob and the other named Robert Boberrand. They were instrumental in the song lyrics “Bob Bahbob, Bob Boberrand”!

    You started this…


  9. Howdy B.B., Ms. Edith & The Gang,
    Bein’ kinda new here, didn’t realize Tuesday’s were open mic night @ B.B.’s Blog, Do It Yourself Laundry & Comedy Club Emporium. Don’t care who ya are, that’s funny stuff right there. Tax day, perfect timin’ for a detailed blog about the intricate details of a great B.S. story. Gettin’ pretty deep in here, roll up your pantz boys, it’s too late ta save your shoes. Ride/shoot safe & always wear your helmet (can’t get hurt w/a helmet on).

  10. B.B., last night I took my fourth dose of 750 mg Levoquin; only six more to go. In the midst of being kicked while I’m down, it is great to have a good laugh. And I don’t forget for a moment that you have been down a similar path returning to wellness.


      • B.B., unfortunately I am not remembering my dreams. I do tend to dream fantastically surreal dreams even when I’m not on drugs 🙂 and I like to remember them. At least I am feeling quite a bit better. I’m eating my morning yogurt to stave off whatever else is waiting in line to play tag team on me.

        Again, thank you muchly for the good laugh.


        • Ken,although I haven’t spoke up before this,please be certain that we will all breath a collective sigh of relief when you are mended.I know it ain’t much help,but it is good to know folks you’ve never met wish this over and you back ta shootin’.

          • Frank, if anything, I don’t want to drop in and just whine. On the other hand, I do feel comfortable with all you to just give a basic update. I certainly do feel I have friends here I may never meet in person, and I appreciate it. I also never want to sound like I don’t know that everyone here has or will face illness or injury to themselves or someone you care about. I also never want to forget that the common bond we all know of here is our love for the airgun, whatever other “implements of destruction” (see Alice’s Restaurant, the movie, to know that I say this tongue in cheek).

            Thank you,

  11. Oh Tom. You should be a stand up comedian. I was one. Than I got tired then went to sit down comedy.
    Good one Tom! Tell you and Edith I said hi. Or is that creepy? yeah…lol

    Keep up the awesome blogs!

  12. Earlier I mentioned Alice’s Restaurant, the movie. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that the movie came after the the song/tale was made.

    You might enjoy about eighteen minutes of a rather humorous story about the Alice’s Restaurant Massacre (pronounced massa cree).

    Alice’s Restaurant is part two in one of four formats; two for listening over the Internet and two for downloading and playing later. I haven’t heard parts 1 or 3 yet so I can’t comment on them.

    This is a video of a live performance on YouTube. This is my second choice to the mp3 file from the above. Either way I have to download for later listening when I’m at home. I capture YouTube videos with either Real Player or StreamTransport. Should be no legal problems; I avoid things not freely available.


  13. Cute story. What could you do with my store name? “Dread Pirate Lavenderbeard’s treasures”. The name kind of happened when I was chatting with a friend and I needed a name for my jewelry shop. Pirates of the carribean was just out and everyone was going pirate crazy….blackbeard was taken so we decided lavenderbeard was funny. Of course lavender beards aren’t very piratey so we stole dread pirate from the princess bride got rid of roberts and added lavenderbeard. Since then I have expanded to make other things…electric bikes, mopeds, go karts, and air rifles…all of them high quality. Anyway it’d be interesting to see what you could find about the real “Dread Pirate Lavenderbeard” and his fearsome dinghy “guppy”.

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