In 2015, an elderly Louisiana man cashed in a truckload of 55-gallon penny plastic water cans from a nearby bank that he had collected over the previous 45 years. After the last penny was counted, Otha Anders received over $ 5,130 as his total penny. That’s over 510,000 cents. To the general public this probably sounded wonderful news, but for every American numismatist who collects and buys coins for fun and profit, Anders has lost a lot of money.
According to the Monroe, Louisiana News-Star, Anders referred to every one of his pennies as “a God-given prompt reminding me to always be grateful.” In Anders’ case, however, a “penny saved” may be more than a “penny earned”. Many of the ones he cashed in for instant cash would have been worth more money.
Since Anders started raising pennies in 1970, he is said to have collected many pennies of “wheat” which the Mint minted between 1909 and 1958. Even today, there are still many pennies of “wheat” in it. rolls and coins in circulation. When he started saving in 1970, he was said to have found many cents of wheat in very good condition. Over the past 45 years, most of each of those pennies would become more valuable than a penny.
According to RS Yeoman’s “Guide Book of United States Coins 2015”, the value of wheat cents ranged from $ 0.10 in “good” condition to several hundred dollars in “almost” uncirculated. Additionally, the guide records extremely rare pennies that were worth up to $ 5,000 in uncirculated conditions. However, it would be impossible to estimate what the numismatic value of the entire collection might be; every coin should have been reviewed by reputable coin dealers who could have helped him sell his collection, but it’s easy to imagine Anders would have made over $ 20,000 had he had the patience to make them assess.
In addition to the numismatic value, there is a precious metal value for the price of the full weight of the copper coin. All American copper coins minted up to 1981 contained 95% copper. According to the “InvestmentMine” website, in 2015 the average value of copper was $ 2.86 per pound. All of Anders’ pennies weighed over 2,800 pounds. So if he had chosen all the coins, we would multiply 2,800 pounds and 2.86 the copper sum would have been a total of about $ 8,000. However, a conservative estimate of how many copper pennies were 75%, we would get about $ 6,000, which is about $ 900 more than what he got.
Although Anders received over $ 5,100 for his huge collection, he could have gotten a lot more if he had taken the time to have them all appraised by a qualified numismatist. However, the good news is that if you live in or near Louisiana, you can buy many rolls of pennies at local banks and likely find some of those higher value wheat pennies.