31 December 2007

dollars and cents

In my daily life, I collect all the discarded money I reasonably can. Pennies mostly, of course, usually on the sidewalk, at the a store checkout counte, the airport floor. When I was 16, I started collecting the pennies in memory of my late grandmother --- a sort of teenaged idea of being profound. In fond childhood memories, she had helped me with my math skills by rewarding successful rounds of flashcards with pennies (nickels for the harder ones). The habit stuck into adulthood, and about four years ago, I decided to keep track of my annual haul by keeping all of the coins I found (and rarely folding money) in a change bowl separate from the regular change bowl, and then count it up at the end of the year. I have developed quite a game at it -- setting rules and guidelines. My friend Matt plays along now, and we have even come to have moral discussions about the pennies (afterall, what would your mother do?). I admit, I get a little obsessive about it from time to time -- I find myself scanning the floor at the grocery store, nearly to the point of being rude to those around me. Not to mention that I probably look mighty suspicious to the guy watching security camera footage.

My first year, I collected something like three dollars, and then six the next year. Last year, I believe I had something like ten dollars. This year though, I found forty dollars in a crosswalk on my birthday, which brings my final collection* to (drum roll, please)......$50.37
Happy New Year!!
* One of the rules is that I don't have to place the exact coinage that I find into the annual haul bowl (i.e.: if I find a dime, I can put ten pennies from my regular change bowl into the annual haul bowl), so providing a breakdown of the coins spread before me on the floor as I write this wouldn't be accurate, but I will say that this figure includes a ten Euro cent piece (and applying the current exchange rate of 1 EUR = 1.45964 USD), no Canadian coins (surprising, considering where I live), and it does not include the two novelty stretched pennies I found (one bearing the likeness of a sea otter from the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the other with the ten commandments in teeny tiny letters).

1 comment:

matte said...

nice haul! i brought in $6.17 myself and that's not including the 7 cents from canada or the chinese penny. Nor the round piece of metal mangled so far that it could only be guessed at. it was great fun to keep track, thanks! i learned to appreciate the dime, something about finding such a slight piece of silvery coin that was exciting every time, and i renewed my love of the penny. I now have a decent collection of beautifully mangled pennies, and i can tell if a penny was made after 1982 just by smacking it on a table. favorite finds: over a dollar found when i walked 17 miles around town right before tackling the canyon, 2 quarters found outside Pies and Pints, and 7 dimes and a chinese penny, all brand new and shiny found in the u-village parking lot near barnes and nobles right after they closed one night. Oh! the night i kept finding pennies on 35th biking home from bumbershoot after andrew bird was good too. And the quarter i plucked from the toilet bowl at the kort haus. before using the toilet, i promise. i don't know how you make such a killing at airport security, i had me and 7 year old Mora stalking with eagle eyes and we didn't make one cent!