10¢+10¢+10¢+10¢+25¢+50¢ are six coins totaling \$1.15 that Tommy can’t use to make change for Ray.

(Carolyn was here, preserving some iota of surprise.)

It’s one thing to post the solution, it’s quite another to make the solution the title of your post.

mouse"It's one thing to post the solution; it's quite another to make the solution the title of your post."
I wanted to get your attention.

Mechaniker: That’s wrong, too. The full puzzler also included buying the candy bar for him, which was \$.95.

RAY: Last week, we had just finished the show, and Tommy and I were leaving the building. We were walking by the official NPR-sanctioned vending machines, with granola bars and the like. I had a hankering for a candy bar. I reached into my pocket, and, luckily, I had a dollar bill.
As I approached the machine with my crisp dollar bill, I notice the thing says, “Exact Change Only.” The candy bar I wanted was 95 cents.
I turn to Tommy, and I say, "Can you break a buck?"
Tommy reaches into his pocket, and says, "I know I have six coins. The six coins add up to \$1.15. But I can’t make change for a dollar."
I say, "Huh? Can you make change for half a dollar?"
Tommy says, "No."
I then ask, "Can you make change for a quarter?"
Tommy says, “No, I can’t do that either.”
“No.”
“A nickel?”
"No."
So, I say, “Can you just buy me the candy bar?” To which Tommy replies, "No, I can’t do that, either."
The question is, what were the six coins in Tommy’s pocket?

So they can’t, in any combination, total 5, 10, 25, 50 and 95 cents, nor a dollar.

Unless you go into foreign currency, or include older coins that are either rare or unique (like the half cent, two cent, three cent coins, etc) and not minted anymore, I can’t come up with a solution.

If you do, however, you could have 5 * 3 cent coins, and a silver dollar.

Source for \$.03 coins: http://www.coinfacts.com/three_cents/three_cents.htm (because I’m sure someone will say bull).

Source for \$.03 coins: http://www.coinfacts.com/three_cents/three_cents.htm (because I'm sure someone will say bull).
I'll call bull, because I think the source for U.S. coins should be: http://www.usmint.gov/

When I first clicked on the link, it went to the coinfacts homepage, not the actual linked page. Those coins are obsolete. Now, the puzzler doesn’t say that the coins were currently in circulation, but it also doesn’t say that they are all U.S. coins, or that they even add up to a U.S. Dollar. There are many other countries that have a “dollar” and use the same “\$” symbol (since the text version of the puzzler doesn’t say dollar, but rather uses the “\$” symbol). So, you I guess you can either make the argument that he has foreign coins, or he’s carrying around rare coins worth many times their face value. Why anyone would be carrying around 5, 120+ year-old coins in their pocket like regular pocket change is beyond, but a lot of stuff that Tom and Ray do (or would do) is beyond me.

http://www.xe.com/symbols.php

OK JT, Fine…check:

http://www.usmint.gov/kids/coinnews/coinofthemonth/2008/07.cfm

The coinfacts page is just a nicer looking page than the US Mint page. After all your time on this forum (and I’m sure reading and/or participating in others) you know that the collectors are the one’s who’ll have the most up to date information. Cheeze and rice…

chaissos, you are just dead wrong on this one. The US Mint page is much better looking: bright colors, shiny things. But you were right about coins.

“I’ll call bull, because I think the source for U.S. coins should be: http://www.usmint.gov/

Doesn’t matter if it’s true, if you didn’t get it from the source I want it doesn’t count.

chaissos"Mechaniker: That's wrong, too. The full puzzler also included buying the candy bar for him, which was \$.95."
Go back and read the dialogue again:
"As I approached the machine with my crisp dollar bill, I notice the thing says, "Exact Change Only." The candy bar I wanted was 95 cents.

I turn to Tommy, and I say, “Can you break a buck?”

Tommy reaches into his pocket, and says, "I know I have six coins. The six coins add up to \$1.15. But I can’t make change for a dollar."

In other words, Tommy cannot make change for a buck. He cannot give Ray 95¢ in coin plus a nickel for Ray’s crisp dollar bill. Verstehst du?

Ja, Ich verstehen. I also read the full thing, and just copied it above so I could reference it. He couldn’t make change for any of the combinations, so to fully answer the question, my statement still stands:

So they can’t, in any combination, total 5, 10, 25, 50 and 95 cents, nor a dollar.

The one fact I think you gentlemen are missing is that most vending machines don’t accept half dollars.

Nowhere in the puzzle does it say he can’t make \$0.95, it says he can’t buy the candy bar for his friend. So I do think that half dollar, quarter, 4x dime is the correct solution.

Now that I hadn’t thought of. I’m not 100% sure it’s always correct, but it might be.

"I'll call bull, because I think the source for U.S. coins should be: http://www.usmint.gov/"

Doesn’t matter if it’s true, if you didn’t get it from the source I want it doesn’t count.

When I initially clicked on the coinfacts page it went to some splash page which I mistook as the homepage, so I headed over to the official site for government coinage, and found (as you might expect) that the currently circulating coins are the ones we typically carry in our pockets. I suppose I should have considered that it was reasonable to be carrying coins more than 120 years old in your pocket.
you know that the collectors are the one's who'll have the most up to date information. Cheeze and rice..
I know that you don’t make words plural by adding an apostrophe “s” to them… ;)

“When I initially clicked on the coinfacts page it went to some splash page which I mistook as the homepage, so I headed over to the official site for government coinage, and found (as you might expect) that the currently circulating coins are the ones we typically carry in our pockets. I suppose I should have considered that it was reasonable to be carrying coins more than 120 years old in your pocket.”

Well, the internet is a frightening and puzzling place.

Where do YOU carry coins?

Where do YOU carry coins?
I don’t. I use my debit card whenever possible, and if I must use cash and am given coins, they go directly into a cup in my car, where they sit until I decide it’s full enough to take to the bank and deposit. As for 120 year-old coins, I would probably put them in an envelope and keep them in my desk. Those old 3 cent “nickels” aren’t worth a whole lot; if they were, I’d put them in my safe, or my safety deposit box.

Are you implying that you would carry your 120 year-old coins in your pocket, where, presumably, you carry your pocket change?

It wasn’t plural…it was possessive.

I wouldn’t carry those coins around at all. For a collector, they’re quite valuable, in almost any condition as they’re so rare.

After richmahogany’s comment (possessive again) I had to re-think everything, so maybe Mechaniker was right from the beginning. Honestly, I don’t know…it was just a guess, my BEST guess, maybe, but a guess. And it does fit.

You were thinking, and you were right. Mechaniker’s solution was the one they wanted though. I wonder if in their survey of vending machines to determine that they didn’t take 50 cent pieces did they only come across vending machines that required exact change?

It wasn't plural...it was possessive. ;)
Yikes. I sincerely hope that's a joke. If you really meant it to be possessive, that’s even worse!
For a collector, they're quite valuable, in almost any condition as they're so rare.
Not according to the coin collecting websites I checked before making my previous comment. The production of the 3 cent coin (in nickel, anyway) varied greatly by year. If you have one from a year of very low production, it can be worth a good bit in any condition. I would assume though that any reasonable person wouldn’t carry a particularly rare year around in their pocket with their other change. That being said, if we take the year out of the equation, a 3 cent coin is apparently not necessarily all that rare or valuable. For the years that they were circulated in excess of 500,000 pieces (which is 12 years out of the 27 they were produced), they’re worth about \$20 for an extra fine coin (I’d assume that it’s lower quality than an “almost uncirculated” if you’re carrying it around in your pocket with your other change). That’s not what I would consider “quite valuable,” but I won’t think less of you if you do.

So now you’re picking on me for my English, which is correct, btw. Happy new Year, and have fun.