Epic Change-Jar Hoarder Finally Cashes In His Half-Million Pennies

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Pennies
Photo: 2/Siede Preis/© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

A Louisiana man made $5,000 from cashing in his life’s work: a 45-year-old penny collection.

Otha Anders has been pinching pennies for almost half a century, dropping them in jars, and he says he still makes sure to thank God for every penny he finds.

I became convinced that spotting a lost or dropped penny was an additional God-given incentive reminding me to always be thankful,” the 73-year-old told the Monroe News Star. “There have been days where I failed to pray, and more often than not, a lost or dropped penny would show up to remind me.”

Anders finally cashed in his collection on Tuesday at his local bank, and after five hours of cracking open sealed jars of pennies and running them through the money-counting machine, he was able to deposit $5,136.14.

Anders had collected more than half a million pennies.

I would never spend a penny,” Anders said. “I would break a dollar before giving up a penny.”

Since he started collecting, Anders has always made sure that if he makes a cash purchase, his change includes a few pennies. Friends and family helped him, too — even students Anders used to supervise for the Jackson School Board would contribute theirs.

But I never allowed anyone, not even my wife nor children to give me pennies without being compensated,” he said. “I wanted the inner satisfaction that God and I acquired this collection.”

He treasured his pile so much that even in the 1970s, when the price of copper had gone up so much that the government offered a bonus for every $100-worth of pennies, Anders hung on to his collection. 

If I was at someone’s house, and I found a penny, I would pick it up, and I would keep it,” he explained. “I will always tell the person that if it was a quarter, I would give it back, but since it is a penny, I’m keeping it.”

Anders finally decided it was time to cash in his stash since his homeowner’s insurance unfortunately doesn’t cover heaps of pennies. But he’ll always have the memories.