In 2015, an elderly Louisiana gentleman cashed in at a nearby bank a truckload of 55-liter plastic water jugs he had collected over the past 45 years. After the last penny was counted, Otta Anders received more than $ 5,130 in total for his penny. That’s over 510,000 cents. To the general public, this news probably sounded great, but for every American numismatist who collects and buys coins for fun and profit, Anders lost a lot of money.
According to Monroe’s News-Star, La., Anders mentions that each of his pennies is “a God-given stimulus that reminds me to always be grateful.” In the case of Anders, however, a “penny saved” may be more than a “penny earned.” Many of those he cashed in to get instant money would cost more money.
Since Anders began storing his pennies in 1970, he would have taken many pennies of “wheat” minted between 1909 and 1958. Even today, there are still many “grain” cents in rolls and pennies. When he started saving in 1970, he would find many wheat cents in great condition. In the last 45 years, most of these pennies would have become more valuable than one cent.
According to RS Yeoman’s 2015 US Coin Guide, wheat cents range from $ 10 in “good” condition to several hundred dollars in “almost” uncirculated condition. Also, the driver recorded a few extremely rare pennies, which were worth up to $ 5,000 in non-circulating conditions. It would be impossible to estimate what the numismatic value of the whole collection might be; each coin would have to be researched by reputable coin dealers who could help him sell his collection, but it’s easy to imagine that Anders would make over $ 20,000 if he had the patience to get them valued.
In addition to the numismatic value, there is a value of the precious metal for the price of the entire weight of the coin in copper. All American copper coins minted before 1981 contain 95% copper. According to the InvestmentMine website, in 2015 the average value of copper was $ 2.86 per pound. All Anders’ pennies weighed more than 2,800 pounds. So if he chooses all the coins, we will multiply 2,800 pounds and the 2.86 amount in honey will be a total of about $ 8,000. However, the conservative estimate of the number of pennies made from honey is 75%, we will get about $ 6,000, which is about $ 900 more than he received.
Although Anders received over $ 5,100 for his vast collection, he could get much more if he took the time to evaluate them from a trained numismatist. The good news, though, is that if you live in or near Louisiana, you can buy lots of penny rolls from local banks and probably find some of those valuable wheat cents.