For 45 years Otha Anders collected pennies, eventually collecting more than 500,000 of them. He kept these pennies in 15 large five-gallon water jugs.
Anders, a teacher from Louisiana, says he loved looking at his enormous collection so much that he passed up an opportunity to make an extra 25 percent by cashing them in when the U.S. government offered a $25 dollar bonus for every $100 in pennies turned in to them.
Anders says he wasn’t even tempted.
For Anders, the coins that he’s collected represent something more than a lump of money. “If I would see a penny when I’m gassing up, on the ground, or in a store, it would be a reminder to stop right there and say a prayer,” he said, continuing, “I never failed to do that. That’s why they had so much value to me.”
Anders says that his collection had far surpassed his original goal.
He wanted to fill five 5-gallon jugs. That was the goal, but I couldn’t stop.” When Anders finally took the collection to the bank, he had filled 15 of the five-gallon jugs. According to Anders, he decided to cash in the pennies now because his homeowner’s insurance stopped covering the collection.
His pennies weighed nearly 3,000 pounds!
Anders contacted the bank a week before he took the pennies in, but the bank’s senior vice president Ryan Kilpatrick told ABC News that there’s nothing that would have prepared him to see 15 five-gallon water jugs filled with pennies rolled into the bank on dollies. According to Kilpatrick, “It’s shocking, for sure. I would say he’s done a lot of collecting over the years.” The pennies weren’t weighed, but if the U.S. Mint’s estimate of 2.5 grams per coin is accurate, Anders’s collection likely weighed about 2,800 pounds.