ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pennies Don't Fall From Heaven

Updated on December 2, 2019
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1963. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose!

A Penny for Your Thoughts!

Lincoln Wheat Ear Penny, 1909 to 1958
Lincoln Wheat Ear Penny, 1909 to 1958

The hue and cry we hear of late from government officials and banks over the severe shortage of pennies may be vexing to those who have to cope with the effect of the problem, but, personally, I find the situation laughable.

The U.S. Mint and the Federal Reserve Board continue to rail about "low inventories" and "spot shortages," ostensibly caused by people stashing their pennies away in coffee cans and desk drawers.

These federal officials, apparently, are dim-witted as well as myopic.

A Virtually Worthless Coin

Anyone who thinks about the problem for more than 10 seconds knows why nearly everyone has a huge jar of pennies on his (or her) living-room mantel, or in that humongous piggy bank in the children's room: If you had a handful of pennies, you could barely buy the 33-cent stamp you might need to mail a letter to your congressman telling him how you feel about those little copper, or is it zinc, cents.

I'm old enough to remember when you could really buy something with a penny -- and a handful of pennies was actually worth something. Once upon a time, a penny could buy any one of a large variety of candies or be used to find out how much you weighed on one of those commercial scales.

Tucked away somewhere in my penny-rich Darien estate, I have more than a dozen rolls of pennies. What's more, they are not the currently minted Lincoln Memorials; every one is a wheat ear penny, which the government began minting in 1909.

Pennies Galore!

In fact, I have so many pennies at home that I feel a kinship with computer whiz Bill Gates. You've heard the story: Billionaire Gates makes so much money every minute that he'd be wasting his time just bending down to pick up a dropped hundred-dollar bill.

I feel the same way about pennies. I see pennies on the ground almost daily, dropped or tossed away by people who couldn't care less about them. I'm sure you see them, too. Pick them up? Why?

Typically, the government can't see the forest for the trees. It has a problem, sure, but if it's looking for a solution it's going about it the wrong way.

Will Nickels Be Next?

Officials should recognize that pennies are all but worthless -- that's why there are shortages. That's why people hoard them. In fact, the way things are going, nickels will be next. They're barely worth five pennies.

The Philadelphia and Denver mints are continuing to manufacture pennies six days a week on a 214-hour basis. Over the last 30 years, 312 billion pennies have been minted, and more than 114 billion are actively circulated in the United States.

Instead of minting more pennies by the billions -- and billions -- officials should be looking for a way to discontinue their use entirely.

But, obviously, this is far too complicated an idea for our political and financial leaders. After all, these are the same people who think they can save big bucks by minting dollar coins by the billions despite convincing proof, from history, that such coins are not any more enticing to Americans than pennies.

In my book, the only thing worse than a pocketful of pennies would be a pocketful of dollar coins!

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper in Norwalk, Conn., on July 29, 1999.

Should the U.S.Government end all circulation of the penny?

See results

Movie Clip (1936) Bing Crosby Sings, 'Pennies From Heaven'


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)