Penny pinching pays big dividend for Louisiana teacher

Otha Anders cashed in over half a million pennies that he had collected over the past 45 years, filling 15 five-gallon jugs.

For the past 45 years, a Louisiana teacher has collected over half a million pennies. 

Otha Anders cashed in his penny collection at a bank this week for $5,136.14, proving his longtime hobby really is worth “a pretty penny.” It took the Origin Bank in Ruston, Louisiana five hours to count and process Mr. Anders’s 15 five-gallon jugs of pennies, the Monroe News Star reports.

Although Anders called the bank ahead of time to warn them about his plan to cash in almost 2,800 pounds of pennies, the banks’ senior vice president Ryan Kilpatrick told ABC News that he was still surprised by Anders’ collection.

“It’s shocking for sure,” Mr. Kilpatrick said. “I would say he’s done a lot of collecting over the years.”

Anders finally decided to cash in his collection when his homeowner’s insurance policy stopped covering his accumulating penny jugs. But it was not easy for Anders to part with his collection; he had grown rather attached to the cache of pennies. The Louisiana teacher even refused to cash in his pennies during the 1970s when the US government offered an extra $25 for each $100 of pennies turned in. 

But Anders says penny collecting in itself hold value for him. “I became convinced that spotting a lost or dropped penny was an additional God-given incentive reminding me to always be thankful,” Anders told the News Star. “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.” 

“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,” Anders further explains to ABC News. “I never failed to do that. That’s why they had so much value to me.”

And maybe similar penny-pinching methods are a realistic strategy. As The Christian Science Monitor reported, you are a lot more likely to be killed by a shark (one in 3.7 million chance) than hit the jackpot of the Mega Millions (one in 259 million chance).

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