March 28th, 2012
I have three pennies. In the official parlance, that’s three one cent pieces. They’re the remains of my savings. Last year, when I made the switch from multinational conglomerate bank to a credit union that had an interest rate greater than 0.05% on their savings account, I took all of my money out of the one and went across the street to deposit it in the other. The next day, however, the bank called me back: they couldn’t close my account quite yet. In the interim, the phantom of my money in savings had accrued interest! Three cents, to be exact. I had to go back to the bank.
The first trip was relatively painless but this one was much more ludicrous and actually took longer than the initial trip to close out my account. When things got to be finalized, however, I told them, naturally, that I wanted my savings in cash. They actually brought it out to me in one of those blue leathery ziploc deposit bags: these three pennies.
I decided then and there that these pennies, the remnants of an account I’d had for the better part of a decade, must all have a specific fate. I sequestered them into a separate pocket and have kept them set aside for their destinies. They are, in chronological order:
The oldest and most tarnished of the three. This one features a one “Abraham Lincoln” character on the front. I get the feeling this isn’t the last we’ll see of him. Being made after 1946 but before 1982, this one is brass. Specifically, it’s 95% copper and 5% zinc, according to the almighty Wikipedia. As with all three pennies, the reverse features the Lincoln Memorial.
This one is still fairly ruddy but noticeably less worn than penny numero uno. It has a lot in common with the first penny, from it’s Lincolnlike visage to its metallic composition. It, however, was made sometime after I was born. Also, in Philadelphia.
Easily the newest and shiniest of my hoarded savings, as a newer penny it’s hardly copper at all. All pennies made from 1983 to the present day are largely zinc, with only 2.5% of its composition being copper, most of which is the pure copper plating. Like the other two, it is worth more as metal than as a one cent piece owing to inflation.
So, as we’ve learned, there is a lot of information about the penny on Wikipedia. Also, zinc is apparently highly toxic to dogs and parrots, so stop feeding your pets newer pennies. And we know their densities but what, prey tell, are their destinies? I’ve identified a few possibilities, some distinct fates to which I shall leave these forlorn farthings. The list of possibilities so far…
- Wishing Well/Fountain (of course)
- Turn into a souvenir in a penny-flattening machine
- Flatten on the train tracks (although this is too similar to the above)
- Use as a fuse (not really, that’s actually kind of dangerous)
Okay, so I’ve actually only got two ideas but, alas, three pennies. I’m keeping them in a certain coat pocket, ready for that inspiration to strike at a moment’s notice! Or when I find a wishing well. But as to the fate of the third penny… I am open to suggestions. Anyone?
Entry Filed under: Personal