He opened the doors and rolled into the establishment with his trolley behind him. People turned their heads with open jaws just looking at what he had behind him.
The lady behind the counter grew wide eyed. He told her he had been saving them for nearly 5 decades. He didn’t think it would be that much money, but he was wrong.
73-year-old Otha Anders worked as a supervisor on the Jackson School Board. He watched over in-school suspended children and absolutely loved his job. And the kids seemed to love him too.
Anders was a family man with a loving wife and children who supported his every move. Even though one particular hobby of his raised a few eyebrows.
What began as something fun turned into a full-blown obsession and an all-consuming hobby.
“I became convinced that spotting a lost or dropped penny was an additional God-given incentive reminding me to always be thankful,” said Anders. “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.”
Where many people think of wishing on a penny, Otha Anders thinks of praying on a penny! He had always been a religious man and his faith had grown stronger as the years passed.
His faith was how his penny obsession all started. He looked at lost old pennies on the floor as his very own personal gift from God. Little did he know, just how many gifts he was going to receive.
When Anders picked up his very first penny, he had no idea that he’d continue picking them up for 45 years. But once his penny pile began to grow, he became more and more obsessed.
So compelling was his idea that penny’s represented a god-given gift that he ultimately decided to stop spending pennies himself. Every penny he had, he kept. But that’s not all.
He also always made sure that whenever he made a purchase with cash, his change contained at least three to four pennies. To him it was a small and simple quirky habit but over time, it didn’t look so small anymore.
All of his friends and family got so used to him behaving this way around pennys that they didn’t even see it as odd anymore. But the amount he eventually managed to collect was staggering.
“I would never spend a penny,” Anders said. “I would break a dollar before giving up a penny”. He was a man on a mission, and when his students at school found out about his strange fascination, they wanted to help.
They’d often come to his class with a handful of pennies to give to him but Anders had principles. “I never allowed anyone, not even my wife nor children, to give me pennies without being compensated,” he said. So, he paid them for pennies?
Anders continued to collect his pennies for 45 years until he successfully filled fifteen five-gallon plastic water jugs.
There were simply too many to count so Anders could only guess that his collection contained hundreds of thousands of pennies but really, he had no idea. But now, he was about to find out.
As the years passed, Anders continued to collect his pennies until he successfully filled fifteen five-gallon plastic water jugs with nothing but pennies.
He would have continued to keep them and collect more if it wasn’t for one problem that he encountered when he renewed his home affairs. It was a problem that left him devastated.
If Anders had it his way, he would have kept his collection and continued to pick up pennies for many years to come but life would throw him a curveball.
Since Anders could have collected a small fortune, he made it a point to have his collection covered under his house insurance, but when he renewed it, they turned him away. And they weren’t the only establishment to do so.
Anders’ new home insurance didn’t cover his penny collection, so he reluctantly decided it was time to visit the bank and cash in his most prized possession.
Anders had no idea how much money his collection would amount to. But as he speculated, he remembered reading about a coin collection that resulted in a fortune for the owner.
Although Anders’ collection contains mostly modern pennies, it’s crazy to think that if he held onto those coins long enough, they’d soon bring him a fortune as big as a million dollars!
That’s what happened to the owner of a 1943-S Lincoln Wheat penny. An error in the coin made it extremely valuable, and its value could only keep growing over time. But why?
It has long been said that time is the most valuable commodity. That’s especially true when it comes to coins – but – only certain kinds of coins.
Specifically, coins made of precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and even copper fluctuate in value over time but generally become more valuable. The same with coins that hold an error. However, that’s not true for all coins…
Coins made of base metals, such as aluminum, have very little worth. Their worth is even less still if the government issuing the coins no longer exists.
But what about Anders’ coins? Which side of value did they fall under? Although Anders didn’t have time on his side, he did have volume. And with hundreds of thousands of coins, perhaps one had a valuable error…
To get the pennies to the Ruston Origina Bank in Ruston, LA, Anders needed help.
He ended up getting a couple of his friends to help move the five-gallon jugs full of pennies into his truck and then into the bank. They were much heavier than you’d think, and not to mention, there were fifteen of them!
The bank employee’s looked at Anders rolling his containers in on dolly’s and stared at him in utter confusion. Their eyes popped as they took in the sight of the sheer amount of pennies.
Anders worried they would turn him away. He approached the questionable expression behind the desk and asked them to cash his pennies in. “How many?”, the woman asked.
Bank Vice President Jennie Cole told reporters that it was not a typical day at the bank when Anders rolled in with his collection of pennies on a dolly.
“I’m not sure exactly”, Anders said. “I would guesstimate about half a million pennies?”. The woman stared at him in disbelief. “And you think we have the time to count half a million pennies for you?” she laughed.
Anders sheepishly laughed with her before pleading to her again. “I know it’s a crazy amount but this is a dear collection of mine that I need to cash out. Believe me, if I had it my way, I’d keep these pennies forever”.
The woman gave Anders a long look before calling her manager.
How would they be able to count all these pennies? But when they finally did, the actual amount Anders had saved all these years was incredible!
When the manager walked out to see who was causing all the ruckus, his face lit up at the sight of Anders. As it turns out, he knew Anders quit well…
Anders was a longtime, loyal customer who never gave them any problems so immediately knew the manager wanted to help him.
“We value his business, as we do all of our customers,” he said. “But if we can help Anders with his endeavors, we are happy to do so.”
Anders and his friends hauled in the containers one by one. Employees gathered to see the first five-gallon container being counted. It was by far the most exciting thing that had happened at the bank in a while!
The plastic jugs were hacked open by an ax and hammer. It took at least 5 hours to process his pennies through a coin-counting machine until the sum was revealed.
Anders saved up an incredible $5,136.14 through collecting pennies for 45 years.
For anyone who’s trying to work it out, that’s $114.14 a year, Anders was able to collect by picking up dirty old pennies left forgotten on the side of a street. But what was he going to do with his saved money?
Anders was able to put his money to good use and spend it on a dental bill that had just been issued to him.
It was a happy coincidence that he found himself with more money just as an expensive bill landed in his lap. But he still had some cash left over which he put towards a family trip and church donations.
Anders collected pennies, not as a sign of greed but as a symbol of faith that he was being looked after by the man upstairs, the universe, the penny god’s, or whatever you might believe in!
His quirky hobby turned out to be a brilliant reminder of how much little things matter. Who would have thought a penny a day could someday bring you $5k!
It seems like Anders’ steady patience and consistent well-wishing has paid off for him. The extra bonus of income came just in time for him to pay a medical bill.
It is said that the world works in mysterious ways, and for Otha Anders and the result of his penny collection, that motto is certainly true !