Pennies that normally go untouched on the ground are treasured by a Louisiana man, and he’s finally cashing in on the seemingly minuscule coins.
It took Otha Anders 45 years to collect a half a million pennies, each acting as a reminder to “give thanks” to God.
Since Anders’ homeowners insurance policy reportedly doesn’t cover the cost of his collection, he warily took his precious pennies to Origin Bank Tuesday afternoon.
Weighing in at 5,400 pounds, his fifteen five-gallon water jugs full of pennies required an ax and hammer to open before beginning the five hour counting process.
Anders is now $5,136.14 richer, and is reportedly using the money toward a recent dental bill.
“I would never spend a penny,” he says about his coin collection. “I would break a dollar before giving up a penny.”
Anders credits others for his massive penny pile that he’s been working on since the 1970’s.
While many family members and friends, as well as students he supervised for in-school suspension for the Jackson School Board, wanted to donate pennies to Anders, he never let them do so without proper compensation.
Anders took pride and enjoyment in his collection, even denying an offer by the U.S. government for a $25 bonus for every $100 worth of pennies he handed over in the 70s.
That deal didn’t work for Anders, so he waited it out and remained focused on his mission to give thanks with every penny he collected.
As Anders watched his collection pour into counting machines, he remembered his friend, Jack ‘Domino Kid’ Brown, who saved nickels.
“Jack saved nickels as I saved pennies, and every nickel that passed through my hands I would save for him,” he said. “He did likewise with pennies for me.”
The “competitive exchange” helped both men, as their compilation of coins continued to grow.
Looking back at his 45 years of picking up pennies and offering God praise, Anders says: “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.”