We all have pennies lying around in our drawers that we don’t know what to do with. Sometimes we keep them in the back of the wallet or in our pocket, hoping to use them to buy our next baguette. What Otha Anders did is going to be a lot more amazing to you!
In fact, Otha Anders had accumulated so many pennies that to transport them and finally deposit them in the bank, she had to resort to a truck. And to bring them to the premises of the bank, he had to use a cart and a wheelbarrow!
This whole incredible operation also required the help of five friends and close family members to transport the infamous loot. The parts were stored in 15 large water bottles, each with a capacity of almost 19 liters!
Well aware that her reserve of coins was out of the ordinary, Otha Anders had had doubts that the bank would accept this rather unusual deposit. He had contacted the bank in advance to warn them.
Like any large deposit of money, the bank was not going to accept the money without knowing where it was coming from. In addition, it was a rather unusual request, it was a first at the bank.
Now around 70 years old, Otha Anders had decided, 45 years earlier, to start saving the few pennies that came to hand. As for the very first coin he saved, it was a coin he found on the floor.
Otha Anders said, “I came to believe that spotting a lost or abandoned piece was an additional God-given motivation to remind me to always be grateful.”
“There were days when I didn’t pray, and most of the time, a small lost or fallen coin came up to remind me,” Otha Anders continued. For years the man had been happy to keep the pennies in his Ruston house.
But in 2015, he learned that the total value of all those pennies accumulated over the years exceeded the amount covered by his home insurance, so it was time to take them to the bank for a safe deposit.
When the time came to finally let go of his many coins, transporting them to the bank was truly an obstacle course.
Otha Anders’ incredible collection of pennies was estimated, hang on tight, to weigh in at around 1200 kilos! To give you an idea of what this number represents, it is more than the weight of an average American bison!
1200 kilos of 1 cent coin! This is a testament to the passion Otha had, but now he needed to get rid of it. It was not an easy decision for him, but the time had come for him to stop.
Once the 15 water bottles were filled with the coins Otha collected, he and his relatives brought the precious loot to the bank. Carrying all that weight was already an ordeal in itself.
But the next challenge was to efficiently take them out of their plastic containers. And it turned out that the fastest way to do it was… well, take an ax to destroy the containers! Who said subtlety always pays off?
Then, once the pennies arrived at the bank and collected inside the fifteen plastic bottles, the next mission of counting the total amount of coins could begin.
It is not surprising that this was done with machines capable of counting automatically. After all, no one would want to be charged with head counting more than 1,200 kilograms of pennies! Plastic buckets were used to pour coins into counting machines.
But even with automatic counters, it took no less than five hours of continuous counting for the machines to finish counting all the parts! Otha Anders watched silently as the buckets poured into the machines.
The machines swallowed up the many coins that man had saved over 45 years. Unbelievable, but true, the bank staff had to change the ATM bags every 20 minutes or so, as each of them could only hold 50 cents at most!
Eventually, the machines succeeded in counting all of the pennies in Otha Anders’ collection. The moment of truth had therefore arrived. What was the final value of all the pennies Otha Anders had collected for over 45 years? The answer is impressive: $5,136.14, no more, no less!
In total, Otha Anders had therefore collected 513,614 1 cent coins in 45 years, or 16,425 days. This means that on average he had collected around 31 cents per day. Here is a man who certainly followed the expression “if you see a penny, pick it up, it will bring you luck for the day”. And his “luck” was five thousand dollars.
That’s R71 234,75 in South Africa’s money