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Linda A | all galleries >> Galleries >> Every Day I Write My Book - 2004 diary > 25th July 2004 - find a penny....
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25th July 2004 - find a penny....

….pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck!

I was rummaging around in my cupboard the other day looking for my tiara for my Audrey Hepburn shot and I came across a pile of old pennies from our pre-decimalisation days. There are about a dozen of them in total and I have no idea how I came to own them, I can’t remember actually collecting them or being given them but nonetheless, here they are.

They were mostly (all-bar-one) really old, from around the turn of the 20th century. Only one didn’t have Queen Victoria’s head on the face and that had our current Queen. This 1881 one was the earliest. I pulled them out of the cupboard and polished a few up today (oh for some coca-cola in the fridge, I seem to remember that it is so corrosive that it gets pennies sparkling in moments). For whatever reason I decided to find the newest post-decimalisation penny in my handbag and do a shot of ‘ancient and modern’. I like the mix of old and new.

We were looking at how worn they are and wondering just how many hands they’d passed through. How many times they’d been tossed in the air with the cry of heads or tails to make a decision. How many times they’d been slotted into a toilet door to provide the owner relief! How many times they’d fallen out of a pocket and been found days later by someone else. How many times they’d been retrieved from the back of a sofa. How many times they’d been used to get a screw out of something. How many times they’d been used to enter Kew Gardens, which until about twenty years ago still only cost a single penny to get in. How many lives they’d touched in any way at all.

One thing I do know is that I’m glad for decimalisation – the one on the left, even without taking into account inflation – was always worth two of the big one and it’s so much lighter. The dozen or so old ones weigh as much as a dozen two pound coins in our modern currency.

When we were in the USA earlier this year, our expression ‘going to spend a penny’ was the source of great amusement for our hosts! It stems back to the days when public toilets had a slot machine in the door that you had to put a penny into to be able to use the toilet. The expression is still widely in use here.

On the subject of the States, the coins in the USA are very difficult to get to grips with for us poor foreigners. They don’t tell you what their value is. They say ‘one dime’ or whatever but how much in one dime worth? Is it a cent? Is it more? It totally baffled us when we were over there, to the extent that I ended up holding out a handful of change to an assistant in a pharmacy and saying ‘can you take the right change from here’.

I’m hoping for a good week after picking up my handful of pennies from the past. (That demonstrates my superstitious nature to a Tee.)

other sizes: small medium original auto
Justin 02-Jul-2009 22:18
A Dime is worth 10 Cents :D And btw to Leanne, I believe you are referring to the 1943 Copper penny which it was first found in 1958 and was worth 40 thousand USD! The reason for its rarity is because WWII was in action during 1943 which mean copper was low and "steel" pennies where used. There was a mistake though and a few copper versions made it out into the public. So check your pennies cause you may find one. Just check with a magnet to make sure its real copper and not a fake copper plated steel penny.
leanne 01-Dec-2004 13:48
what you need is a 1933 penny they are worth a fortune
for some reason only a few where released
Guest 13-Aug-2004 14:23
Spooky! I haven't soaked a coin in Coca Cola for about 30 years until last week! (Something our parents taught us as childern when we were in the brownies!) I've just come back from holiday where I forgot to put the lid properly on my shampoo bottle and it spilt all over the contents of my vanity box. I had to empty out all the slimy hair grips, make-up, brushes etc and wash them before I started scrubbing the box itself. I noticed some coins that had turned green with the shampoo (heaven only knows what it is doing to my hair!) and opened a can of Coke to soak them in...

What I want to know is why doesn't it work so well with new pennies, when it brought the old ones up a treat?
Michael Todd Thorpe27-Jul-2004 22:20
Nice shot, Linda. It's funny what we take for granted. I don't even have to think about what a dime is worth, it's such second nature to me. Yet when I was over in GB I had the same trouble with Brit money. Funnier still was to have similar money from Scotland versus England. I still have some pound coins rolling around my dresser. Can't wait to go back.
Susie 27-Jul-2004 17:04
Your coins look pretty cool. My friend who came over from England to be an au pair said she had to buy a new wallet because our paper money which is all the same size was getting lost in her wallet. I know this isn't exactly the same thing, but in the US there is a website for registering and tracking paper money that is pretty interesting. For tracking paper money, not the president!
Dennis Steinauer26-Jul-2004 05:54
Nice shot, Linda. Hope you don't have to spend that penny. FWIW, I always thought it was only used by girls when they laughed so hard they, well, you know... (Maybe that's just the Nebraska translation.)
Guest 26-Jul-2004 01:09
My mother and I often went for 'penny walks' and I did it with my kids too when they were little and bored and it seemed too hot to convince them to get outside and play. Invited for a 'penny walk' they would happily set off.... off we'd go on a walk looking for lost pennies. I always take a few coins to assure that my kids find one or two before the walk is over but rarely have to use them. It's amazing how much lost change there is. One summer we found several dollars worth of loose, lost change. I've never thought about how many lives an individual coin may have touched... it's really quite an intriquing thing to ponder on.
Guest 25-Jul-2004 23:36
If you have a time figging out our money, You would be lost with our measures, I know how you feel.
Ray :)25-Jul-2004 23:19
My estimation is that this coin has probably passed hands about 5,000 times! I loved your thoughts on its history. Perhaps it was once used by somebody famous. Perhaps Mr Winston Churchill bought four farthing chews with it as a kid, or it was used by Marilyn Monroe when she was 'desparate for a pee' whilst over here:-)
Guest 25-Jul-2004 23:18
Love the color and texture here. Very nice. U.S. coins are proving frustrating for my young daughter, too, who believes a dime (10 cents) should be worth less than a nickel (5 cents) because it's smaller. That would be logical, eh?
Stu25-Jul-2004 22:04
That penny is extremely well worn! Great shot, Linda (is that Spurs' transfer budget?)
Beth 25-Jul-2004 21:12
Why not just carry one around with you all the time and see what happens? Hope this week is better than the last one! xoxox
northstar3725-Jul-2004 20:27
Shiny! Yes I wonder about all the hands it has passed through...
Larry Ahern25-Jul-2004 20:26
I'll bet it works! Cool find!