Press-Republican

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October 14, 2012

Some pennies more valuable than you think

I’m old, but it doesn’t take much to get me started. A word or phrase sends me to my keyboard. Today, it was “penny.” 

For many of you, it is rapidly losing its relevance, and some would be thrilled if it weren’t made any more. Our neighbors up in Canada have already made that decision. 

Kaye and I are old school. We pick up pennies from the sidewalk. If they are “heads up” — even better. There is an old rhyme: “See a penny, pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck.” In my pocket, I carry a half-dozen battered pennies. In some obtuse way, I feel sorry for them.

I have pennies squished on railroad tracks and pennies with my name on them from tourist locations. I have collections of pennies (and just about everything else). I have the steel pennies coated with zinc made in 1943 when copper for the war effort was scarce. I have one that is mottled copper and zinc and dream that it could be worth a fortune. Fat chance.

I have walked across the Ha’ Penny bridge in Dublin, Ireland. I can quote the “Hot Cross Buns” lyrics and the word “penny” in them. I can sing “Pop Goes the Weasel” with its penny for a spool of thread and can make you think I know the difference between that kind of weasel and the ones on my river bank. I have owned penny loafers and can play a penny whistle. I have offered people a penny for their thoughts. I believe that some pennies come from heaven and have dropped hundreds in machines at penny arcades. I paid a pretty penny for this computer and believe in the phrase “In for a penny, in for a pound.” I try to pinch pennies and know people who always turn up, like a bad penny.

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