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Your lifestyle, your quirk
It feels like the value of a penny shrinks by the day, but put enough of them together and you can help someone pay for college. No one has taken Benjamin Franklin’s “a penny saved is a penny earned” saying to heart quite as much as Faith Hammock, an Indiana woman who saved every penny she came across for fifteen years for her goddaughter’s college tuition. And it really was every penny she came across: KCTV reports that Hammock even picked up pennies she found on the street to add to her collection.
Just in time for Kyla Gilbert to prepare for college, Hammock gave 500,000 pennies over to her goddaughter in the form of a $5,000 check. Hammock named her change collections “Pennies from Heaven,” as the giant check reflected. Gilbert will attend Indiana University this fall, and her tuition is almost completely covered by scholarships. She plans to put the $5,000 toward her room and board.
500,000 pennies may seem extreme, but the collection is small compared to that of Edmond Knowles. After 38 years of collecting, the Alabama man cashed in his 1,308, 459 pennies, or $13, 084. 59, in 2005. Knowles had the 4.5-ton collection delivered to his local bank, where it took over seven hours to process in the Coinstar machine. He currently holds the record for the most pennies ever cashed in by a customer.
Like Hammock, Knowles started collecting pennies with a plan. He put the pennies away for a retirement fund and planned to use them for retirement, home repairs, and emergency medical expenses. Being the manager of Ed’s Service Station, he was able to store his pennies in old oil barrels; it took four 55-gallon barrels and three 20-gallon barrels kept in his garage. After dealing with so many pennies, Knowles says he’s tired of pennies, but might start collecting dimes instead.
The previous record was 1,048, 013 pennies ($10, 480.13), set in 2004 in Barberton, Ohio. Eugene J. Sukie, then 78, had collected pennies for 34 years, keeping them in paper rolls inside 575 cigar boxes, which were stacked in his basement. Sukie didn’t have a plan for the pennies while he was stowing them away; it was just a way to save without taking away from their lifestyle. After using $400 in pennies to help pay for his daughter’s wedding in 1970, Sukie decided he wanted to collect at least one million pennies.
Coinstar said that as of 2005, there was $10.5 billion in loose change sitting in homes across the United States. No one knows how the change is distributed among American piggy banks, so there could be a few more giant coin deposits. Makes you look at your loose change in a new light, doesn’t it?