BrianRxm Coins in Movies 20/130
Dear John (2010)
American soldier's coin-collector father gives him a "mule" coin
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The 2010 Screen Gems film "Dear John" is about the romance between John, an American soldier,
and Savannah, a college girl, from the period 2001 to 2007.
 
Most of the film is set in Charleston, South Carolina.
 
A "Dear John" letter is a slang term for letter received by a serviceman from a girlfriend stating that
she is going to marry another man.
 
The soldier's father is an obsessed coin collector whose specialty is US mint error coins.
John once went on a tour of the US Mint in Philadelphia and was shown an error coin.
 
He received a "mule" coin from an ice cream vendor which his father kept for him.
A mule coin is a coin minted with obverse and reverse designs not normally seen on the same piece,
in this case the coin has a US Jefferson five cent nickel obverse and a US Lincoln one cent reverse.
 
 
The mule coin in the film is a prop coin manufactured by embedding a cent into a nickel.
Dear John
1. Title
 
John Tyree is a soldier serving in Afghanistan.
He is shot, and mentally reads a letter to his father, who lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
He begins with a childhood trip to the Philadelphia Mint.
 
Dear John
2. John (as a boy) at the Philadelphia Mint
 
 
I'm 8 years old again on a tour of the U.S. Mint.
I'm listening to a guide explain how coins are made.
How they're punched out of sheet metal.
How they're rimmed and beveled.
How they are stamped and cleaned.
And how each and every batch of coins are personally examined.
Just in case any have slipped through with the slightest imperfection.
That's what popped into my head.
 
At the mint, he is shown an error coin, a US five cent nickel with an off-center strike.
 
Dear John
3. Holding error nickel
 
John continues with his letter.
 
I am a coin in the United States Army.
I was minted in the year 1980.
But now I have two small holes in me.
I'm no longer in perfect condition.
 
In the summer of 2001, John is home in Charleston on leave from the army and at a beach meets
Savannah, a college student.
 
Dear John
4. John and Savannah meet
 
They begin a romance, but Savannah has another boyfriend, Tim, who has an autistic son, Alan.
 
Dear John
5. Tim and Alan
 
Savannah is studying autism in college and wants to work with autistic children.
 
Dear John
6. Savanna meets John's father
 
John's father, always referred to as Mr. Tyree, is a a coin collector.
 
Mr. Tyree shows Savannah a Bryan Dollar.
 
Dear John
7. Holding and comparing Bryan dollar
 
Bryan dollars were campaign tokens issued by opponents of William Jennings Bryan, who ran
for the US President in 1896.
 
This token shows how large a US dollar coin would be if Bryan was elected, compared with a standard
US silver dollar.
 
John goes back to his army unit which is stationed overseas.
 
Dear John
8. John in the Army
 
After the September 11 2001 attack, John reenlists in the army, and corresponds with Savannah
using real letters.
 
Savannah visits Mr. Tyree, and he shows her some coins.
 
Dear John
9. Mr. Tyree explaining a cull
 
A cull coin is one that a coin collector would not normally save, either too common or too
worn or damaged.
 
Dear John
10. Standing Liberty quarter cull
 
As a child, John buys an ice cream cone and is given a special coin in change, a mule coin.
 
Dear John
11. John receives the mule coin
 
 
Dear John
12. The mule coin
 
The prop coin used here is not an actual mule coin but was manufactured for the film.
 
John's father takes the mule coin to two dealers to see how much it is worth.
 
Dear John
13. First coin dealer
 
The first dealer offers him $20 but the father knows it is worth several thousand dollars.
 
Dear John
14. Second coin dealer
 
The second coin dealer is honest and shows the father a coin magazine.
 
Dear John
15. Coin magazine
 
The $4000 Mule
One of the Rarest Minted Mules In Existence...
 
The magazine cover shows the coin to be worth $4000, but the dealer suggests that he keep
the coin as a family heirloom.
 
Some of the dealer's other coins are shown, including a few British coins.
 
Dear John
16. Second dealer's British coins
 
The British coins are from the last years of Queen Victoria and appear to be a half crown,
a penny, and a florin.
 
 
Dear John
17. John in the war zone
 
John receives a letter from Savannah stating that she is going to marry Tim.
This kind of letter is known as a "Dear John" letter, hence the title of the film.
 
Later, John is sent home to see father who has had a stroke and is in a hospital.
The father dies and John has to take care of the estate, including the coin collection.
 
Dear John
18. Father's coins
 
These include packaged commemorative coins sold by the US Mint.
Also there is a Coin Wallet 12-coin holder.
 
John takes the collection to the second dealer to sell.
 
Dear John
19. Selling father's collection
 
John sees the collection for the last time.
 
Dear John
20. The collection in car trunk
 
The collection includes coin folders and papar money.
 
John keeps the mule coin that he received as a child and takes it back with him to the front.
He carries it as a "lucky piece".
 
Dear John
21. John holds mule coin
 
He flips the coin to make decisions.
 
In Charleston, Savannah's husband Tim becomes ill and later dies.
 
John comes home on leave and sees Savannah in a coffee shop.
 
Dear John
22. Together
Notes:
 
Cast:
Channing Tatum as John Tyree
Amanda Seyfried as Savannah Curtis
Richard Jenkins as Mr. Tyree
Henry Thomas as Tim (Savannah's husband)
R. Braeden Reed as Alan (Tim's son)
 
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writers: Jamie Linden (screenplay), Nicholas Sparks (novel)
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