What’s Round, Brown And Unwanted?

September 28, 2012

penniesWhat do you do with your loose change? Throw it in a jar on your nightstand where it collects dust? Give it to the little lemonade stand at the corner of the block? Leave it in the bottom of your purse until it gets too heavy to carry?

Well, maybe you should start looking a little closer at your “collection” of coins, in particular the copper ones.

Recently a 1943 penny was sold for $1 million. One million dollars, people! This rare penny was accidentally made of bronze instead of zinc-coated steel, thus making it very rare. Who knew a mistake made 70 years ago could pay off so well for someone today.

Once, while in the presence of my 84-year-old grandfather, I threw away a penny. I just threw it right in the garbage. It was a little dirty, I had nowhere else to put it, and it was just one cent, I thought. My usually chipper grandpa got mad — really mad. How could I throw away money? In his day, pennies could buy loaves of bread and handfuls of candy, necessities and rare pleasures that he saved his pennies for, and here I was just throwing them away. To me, the penny was more of an annoyance in my pocket than something of value and meaning.

wheat back pennyThis fall, Canada is actually planning to do just that, throw away its pennies. The Canadian government is looking to save $11 million a year by stopping the production of pennies. In the United States, we lose 1.4 cents for every penny we produce. Should we stop the production of pennies too, or have they become an integral part of our history having meaning beyond their cost?

I now find myself checking the date of every penny I come across. Is it a wheat penny or maybe an Indian head?

Could you possibly be housing a penny that is worth millions and not even know it? Go empty out those piggy banks people, scrub the grime off those pennies and do a little research, you might just get lucky!