Penny In a Puddle

By Jim K.

I have a habit of picking up money off the ground. I’ve picked up pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, 1 dollar bills, 5’s, 10’s, even $20.00! It seems strange, but my favorite is pennies. For one thing, you see them all the time. There is hardly a day of walking I don’t see at least one penny. If I’m in a parking lot, I’ve had people tell me I’m an idiot if I end over to pick up a penny. I tell them it’s good exercise.

Just last week I picked up a penny in a mud puddle. The man I was with said, “Are you out of your mind?” I smiled, put the penny in my pocket, slapped my hands, rubbed them to get the mud off — all for a penny.

I’m not sure about the reason I prefer pennies, but in 2000 I dumped all my change on the table at my house. There was a penny that looked very odd: Jefferson on the front and Monticello on the back. It was copper, and smaller than a nickel, but bigger than a dime. On the back it said ‘one cent’. I showed it to a lot of people, some laughed, some said, “What?” “Ooh?” “Woo?” I took it to the coffee shop where I go all the time. I got the same reaction.

One Sunday at the coffee shop, someone asked to see the penny. He passed it to somebody who passed it to somebody. After a while, I had no idea where it was. I sat at the counter feeling real bad  — I had lost my penny. Oh well, it was just one cent. I was going to leave when a tall, slim man came over to where I was sitting and said, “Is this yours?”

“Wow,” I got my penny back. He said I should take it to a coin dealer. I thanked him, and the next week I too it to a coin dealer. He looked at it, put an eye piece in – looked at it some more. After a ‘hem and haw’ he said, “Well, I’ll give you 20 bucks. It’s not worth anything, but I’d like to have it for myself.” I took it and headed for the door thinking I’d like to have the $20, but I didn’t like this guy.

A couple of days later I took it to another coin dealer. He was worse than the first one. He offered to throw it away for me. I took it home and put it in my sock drawer.

About a week or two later, my next-door neighbor came over and asked if he could look at the penny again. He took it over to his place, took a picture of it to put on the computer. I was getting tired of passing this coin around.

On December 20th, 2000, a man called, gave me his name and his phone number, and all kinds of other info. He wanted me to send him the penny and insure it for $200.00 – send it overnight, he said. He told me how to wrap it. I took it to the post office on the 22nd. The man behind the counter asked me what was in the package. I said, “A penny”.  He said, “Are you crazy?” I thought he was rude.

The day after Christmas, the man from California called and said the coin was Double Denomination and he’d pay me four. I said, “Four what?” “OK, I’ll pay 450; I’ll send you a release form and a check.”

I think I went into shock. On December 27th, 200, I got a check, I took it to the bank. They said it was fine and gave me $450.00 in cash.

I still pick up pennies. It’s good exercise.

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One response to “Penny In a Puddle

  1. Jim- What a great story! I would say more but I need to get outside and start looking for pennies! Maybe I’ll bump into you while bending over in some parking lot!

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