Man Collects Pennies For Over 45 Years — Bank Tellers Stunned By Total Value

Mar 15, 2021 by apost team

Have you ever felt bogged down by the change in your wallet that feels like extra weight that you'll never get rid of? All of us have random coins lying around that don't amount to much and cannot always be used to pay for something when we are out shopping. Most of us eventually find a way to incorporate our nickels and quarters into our shopping sprees — but pennies? They seem somewhat worthless, save for the moments when we find pennies on the ground that promise us a day filled with luck.

Pennies are small both in size and worth, but as a popular Indian saying goes, "Drops of water collected eventually become a flowing stream." A few people have the profitable habit of collecting coins over a long period of time and cashing them in for good money at the end. Over a few years, a random collection of coins can amount to a fancy night out or give you the exact amount to buy a beautiful outfit. 

Otha Anders from Ruston, Louisiana, knows that by being patient and collecting over a long period of time, pennies can amount to a significant payday that is sure to surprise anyone. For over 45 years, Anders had been collecting pennies, storing them in 5-gallon water jugs. Back in 2015, he had to finally cash them in because his homeowner’s insurance policy no longer covered his pennies, and he needed some extra cash. When he finally took his collection over to the bank, tellers were staggered by the amount he had saved. 

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Otha Anders started collecting pennies in the late 1960s. The News Star reports that the habit was first ignited when he found a penny lying on the ground. This penny reminded him to give thanks for the small but wonderful things that happen in life. This small event set the path for over four decades of Anders looking out for pennies, be it whatever he may have found on the ground or collecting all the pennies after a trip to the grocers. 

"If I would see a penny when on the ground, in the hallway, on the floor, or anywhere, I would automatically and invariably a prayer of thanks and I'd say, well this is God's way of reminding me that I should always be thankful," he told reporters. 

Anders, 73-years-old at the time, said that it quickly became an incentive to pray and give thanks very often. He told USA Today, "I became convinced that spotting a lost or dropped penny was an additional God-given incentive reminding me to always be thankful. 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."

Anders is a beautiful example of how all of us can learn to be thankful for the small things. After all, the magic of life is preserved in the ordinary, everyday things, and it is up to us to find it. Studies have shown that gratitude is a sure-fire way to a path of greater happiness in life.

Once the first penny was saved, there was no stopping Anders from growing his collection to become the record-breaker that it was in 2015. Ultimately, Anders went out of his way to stop spending pennies and made sure that after every purchase, his change contained at least 3 to 4 pennies. "I would never spend a penny," he said. "I would break a dollar before giving up a penny."

Anders was a supervisor for in-school suspended children for the Jackson School Board in Louisiana, and when his students found out about his habit of collecting pennies, they would save up their money to sell to him. However, Anders always made sure that every penny that came his way from others was compensated properly.

"But I never allowed anyone, not even my wife nor children, to give me pennies without being compensated," he told the news outlet. "I wanted the inner satisfaction that God and I acquired this collection." 

It seems that this small habit was a touching way for Anders to strengthen his relationship with God. When he found out that his homeowner's policy no longer covered his pennies, he had no choice but to cash in his collection of over 45 years. By this time, he had acquired over 15 5-gallon water jugs full of pennies, which were over half a million pennies in total! This is a staggering number! It wasn't easy to transport these jugs to the bank, especially as the total weight was more than 2,800 pounds. However, with the help of friends and family, Anders made it to the bank with his tremendous collection. 

The plastic jugs had to be opened with an ax and hammer, and the bank was not prepared for such a large collection even though Anders had called a week prior to inform them that he would be coming with a colossal amount of pennies. Senior vice president of the Origin Bank in Ruston, Louisiana, Ryan Kilpatrick said that they were not prepared for such a huge amount to come rolling through their bank. “It’s shocking, for sure,” he told ABC News. “I would say he’s done a lot of collecting over the years.”

Vice President Jennie Cole also said that Anders was a long-time customer whom they wanted to help. "We value his business, as we do all of our customers," she said. "But if we can help Anders with his endeavors, we are happy to do so."

After over 5 hours of counting and processing pennies in a machine at the bank, Anders had a total of $5,136.14 worth of pennies. The process of counting took so much time because the coin bag had to be changed every 20 minutes after it would reach $50. The final amount was certainly not small. It would go towards his recent dental bill, he told the News Star.

He was reluctant to give his years of work away, but Anders also said that he has not lost the joy that comes from collecting coins. While he may not be able to amass another collection so large, we are sure that the happiness that comes from the act of collecting the coins will only continue to multiply. 

For Anders, the process of collecting the coins meant more than the money he would make. In the 1970s, when the government was offering a $25 bonus for every $100 worth of pennies turned in, he still refused to cash in his collection, as per USA Today. This just goes to show that the special meaning he had created with his pennies served him through his life, and strengthening his relationship with God through this collection was worth more than the money he'd make. 

Anders also added that his friend, Jack "Domino Kid" Brown, played a significant part in his penny collection. "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 two men could only redeem their preferred coins with an exchange; Anders got a penny for a nickel and vice versa. "Our exchange became competitive by each trying to outdo the other and consequently our collections; his nickels, my pennies began to multiply," he added. 

In the end, Anders was always fair about how he came across his pretty pennies. "If I was at someone’s house and I found a penny, I would pick it up and I would keep it," he said. "I will always tell the person that if it was a quarter, I would give it back, but since it is a penny, I’m keeping it." After over four decades of this spectacular collection, we wish Anders the very best for his future penny collections as well! 

Are you as amazed by this beautiful story as we were? Could you have the discipline to collect coins for almost 50 years? Tell us your tales of coin collections if you have any, and don't forget to show this story to your friends as well! It may inspire them to start a collection of their own. 

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