In 2015, an elderly Louisiana gentleman cashed in at a nearby bank, a truckload of 55-gallon plastic water jugs he had collected over the past 45 years. After the last penny was counted, Otha Anders received over 5,130 US dollars as the total amount for his pennies. That’s over 510,000 groschen. To the general public, this news probably sounded wonderful, but to every American numismatist who collects and buys coins from entertainment and profit, Anders has lost a lot of money.
According to the News-Star of Monroe in the state of La. Anders mentioned that each of his pennies was “a God-given incentive that reminds me to always be grateful.” In the case of Anders, however, the “saved penny” may be more than the “earned penny”. Many of those he cashed to get instant money would be worth more money.
Ever since Anders started hoarding pennies in 1970, he would have picked up a lot of “wheat” coins struck by the mint between 1909 and 1958. Even today, there are still many cents of “wheat” in coil rings and in circulation. When he started saving in 1970, he would find many cents of wheat in excellent condition. Over the last 45 years, most of each of these coins would have become worth more than one cent.
According to RS Yeoman’s “Guide to U.S. Coins 2015,” cents of wheat ranged from $ 10 in “good” condition to several hundred dollars in “almost” uncirculated condition. Also, the guide records several extremely rare coins that were worth up to $ 5,000 in uncircumcised conditions. However, it would be impossible to estimate what the numismatic value of the entire collection might be; each coin would have to be inspected by reputable coin dealers who could help him sell his collection, but it’s easy to imagine Anders would have earned more than $ 20,000 had he had the patience to evaluate them.
In addition to the numismatic value, there is a value of the precious metal for the price of all the weight of the coin in copper. All American copper coins minted until 1981 contained 95% copper. According to the InvestmentMine website, in 2015 the average value of copper was $ 2.86 per pound. All of Anders’ lindens together weighed over 2,800 pounds. So, if he had chosen all the coins, we would have multiplied 2,800 pounds, and the amount of 2.86 in copper would have been a total of about 8,000 US dollars. However, a conservative estimate of the number of coins made of copper was 75%, we would get about $ 6,000, which is about $ 900 more than he received.
Although Anders received over $ 5,100 for his huge collection, he could have gotten a lot more had he taken the time to train them all with a trained numismatist. However, the good news is that if you live in or near Louisiana, you can buy a lot of bundles of pennies from local banks and probably find some of those more prized wheat cents.