Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Picked Up A Penny This Morning

Yeah, I still dive for pennies. Ages ago, Mom would say, “It pays the tax,” but now that tax in my home state is 6.5%, it takes more diving than before. Some people will only go for pennies that are face-up, on the belief that face-down coppers are unlucky. I say that are worth one cent, regardless of whether it’s “face ou fesse,” to use the kinder-sounding French. Get enough of them and you can buy a car.

I used to get two of them for every good metal coat hanger I brought to Jacopian Cleaners in Stratford. About once a year I’d canvass the village asking people if they had extra coat hangers, bundle up the good ones in 25’s and take them up for sale. The money was good for my age and came in handy.

“Wheat pennies” always seemed so much more economically worth something, rather than the later Lincoln Memorial cents which came out later. Someone spoke of a quiet Midwest town, “where you seemed to get a lot more wheat pennies in your change.” I can’t find out who it was, but he certainly grasped the image of a time and a place.

I think I missed the days of the penny postcard. Not sure on that one, but one time I checked to see when they went up to two and three cents; it seemed as if the price went up before I entered the scene. There was a thing called “The postman’s privilege,” which was being able to read what was on postcards, be they the blank style, or picture postcards. Those with no photo carried a lot of correspondence in days gone by; for one cent and small handwriting, you could say much for cheap.


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