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Got a penny, Penny? March 29, 2009

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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It’s me, Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame, here today to talk once again about dollars and cents, or at least, cents, popularly known as pennies. In a post last month (“A new look for Lincoln”), I wrote about how, to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Lincoln cent, first released in 1909 to mark the centennial of Lincoln’s birth, the U.S. Mint was releasing four new designs for the back of the cent, starting in February on Lincoln’s birthday, then appearing every three months through 2009. So, where is it?!

I’m a pocket-change collector from way back. I’ve pulled nice examples of the state quarters and the new Jefferson nickels out of pocket change, and have been known to stop by the bank to see if the latest presidential dollar had arrived. (“I’d like five, please.”) Last time I stopped by the bank, I asked if they had the new pennies. The answer dismayed me: “No, and we’re not likely to get them.” What?!! Well, apparently the bank already has plenty of pennies, and the place (unspecified) that supplies them with pennies has plenty of pennies, and there’s just no need to order any of the new pennies.

What’s a poor collector to do?! Well, there’s always the U.S. Mint. I headed over to their website (www.usmint.gov) and clicked on their online catalog. Trying to find any pennies took a nearly Herculean effort, but I finally spotted them under the “Bags and Rolls” listing. Now, I wasn’t really in the market for a whole roll of pennies, but I figured hey, if that’s the only way I can get some, at least they’re only pennies, so they won’t cost bazillion dollars. I clicked the link. Guess what? “SOLD OUT.” Aaaarrrgh!!!

Has anybody out there actually gotten any of the new pennies in pocket change? If so, lucky you. Maybe you’d better hang onto them!

And by the way, in case you’re wondering, this post’s title is the first line of a Depression-era jazz song, “Got a Penny,” that’s performed by The Nat King Cole Trio in one of my classic jazz collections. It seemed appropriate!

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