Otha Anders: The Man Who Turned 45-Years Worth of Pennies Into Cash

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jun 16, 2024

For 45 years, Otha Anders collected pennies he found on the ground. What started as a simple hobby turned into a lifelong passion, resulting in a collection worth over $5,000.

Here’s the story of how a devoted family man turned his unique hobby into a remarkable achievement.

A Penny-Collecting Hobby Begins

Otha Anders, a 73-year-old family man and member of the Jackson School Board, started picking up pennies from the ground in 1978.

A hand holding several US pennies

Source: Freepik

This small act was more than just a quirky habit. It was a daily reminder for Otha to be thankful for the blessings in his life.

Pennies as Symbols of Gratitude

For Otha, each penny was a symbol of gratitude. He believed that finding a penny was a divine reminder to be thankful.

An array of pennies spilling out of a large glass jar

Source: Pixabay

“I became convinced that spotting a lost or dropped penny was an additional God-given incentive reminding me to always be thankful,” Otha explained.

A Growing Collection

Over the years, Otha’s collection grew significantly. He didn’t just rely on finding pennies on the ground. He also made sure to receive pennies as change whenever he made purchases.

A close up of two columns of stacked pennies

Source: Kim Gorga/Unsplash

This practice helped his collection expand to fill 15 five-gallon water jugs.

The Family’s Support

Otha’s penny-collecting habit was well-known among his family and friends. Although some thought it was a bit odd, they supported his unique hobby.

An array of U.S. pennies spread out on a dark surface, showcasing a variety of copper tones from new, shiny pieces to older, tarnished ones

Source: Ash _ Ismail/Unsplash

His students even tried to contribute to his collection, but Otha insisted on compensating anyone who offered him pennies.

An Unexpected Problem

As Otha’s collection grew, he faced an unexpected challenge. When he tried to renew his homeowner’s insurance to cover his penny collection, the insurance company refused.

Certificate of insurance and policy with car, magnifying glass, and dollar bills on desktop.

Source: Vlad Deep/Unsplash

This prompted Otha to consider cashing in his pennies.


A Visit to the Bank

In February 2024, Otha decided to take his pennies to the bank.

A glass coin jar on its side spills some copper coins.

Source: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

With the help of friends, he transported the 15 jugs of pennies to his local bank. The sight of so many pennies drew curious looks from the bank staff and customers.


Counting the Pennies

The bank staff initially didn’t know how to handle Otha’s request. Counting half a million pennies was no small task.

A person with three piles of coins in front of him. He is holding some coins in one hand and is about to put them on one of the piles.

Source: Towfiqu Barbhuiya/Unsplash

Fortunately, the bank had a coin-counting machine, which made the process much more manageable. It took five hours to count all the pennies.


The Final Count

After five hours of feeding pennies into the coin-counting machine, the final amount was revealed: $5,136.14.

Someone holds up multiple $100 bills in one hand.

Source: JP Valery/Unsplash

Otha’s collection had grown into a substantial sum, proving that even the smallest coins can add up over time.


Reflecting on the Journey

Otha’s 45-year journey of penny collecting was more than just a hobby. It was a reflection of his persistence and gratitude.

A glass jar with gold and silver coins inside.

Source: JesseDotExpert/Pixabay

His unique practice brought joy and a sense of purpose, reminding him daily of the importance of being thankful for life’s small blessings.


A Lesson in Patience

Otha’s story teaches us about the power of patience and the value of small acts.

A person showing several coins on the palm of his hand with his pocket turned out

Source: Nicola Barts/Pexels

By consistently picking up pennies and appreciating their significance, Otha turned a simple habit into a remarkable achievement that brought financial and personal rewards.


Inspiring Others

Otha’s story has inspired many people to appreciate the small things in life.

A man writes down his finances while saving coins in a jar

Source: Freepik

His dedication to penny collecting shows that with patience and gratitude, even the smallest actions can lead to significant outcomes.