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Worlds Largest Share-A-Penny collection

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Shirley owned a prosperous health food store in Scottsdale since 1988. She placed a small dish on the checkout counter for her customers to leave pennies or, if needed, take a penny. More folks supported the dish than taxed it, and the coins accumulated, soon Shirley had to exchange the small dish for a larger one.

shirley.jpg Eventually, Shirley had the largest “share a penny” deposit in the world. She upgraded to a straw gift basket from a Harry and David gift she had received from a friend to contain the thousands of coins left on her health food store counter. The basket of pennies became a center piece of conversation to new comers and regulars alike.

One day a gentleman visited the store and asked if he could search the basket of coins for Lincoln wheat cents for which he would purchase. Shirley approved and described a very excited man that left her two dollars after his search leaving the store with a small plastic bag of Lincolns.


Sadly, last year Shirley, now 80 years old, closed the store after 21 years in business.

The old straw basket was beginning to tear and she needed a new container to hold the over 5100 coins now nearly escaping through the straw weaving. She decided that the last remaining decorative glass bath salt container in the store would have to do. She brought the newly designated penny jar, loaded with the worlds largest “share a penny” home as memory of 21 fine years in business.


We never did find out what the old gentleman was so excited about but he was thorough in his search and removal of Lincoln wheat cents. Well, almost!


A few weeks ago, I was visiting Shirley in Scottsdale. We were chatting in her room when I noticed the rather large glass container of coins. Come to find out, they were the collection of “share a penny” coins accumulated over 20 years. She told me the story about the old gentleman that searched the basket the previous year. I can only guess what he found in there, but I was “like damn, I wish I would have thought of that”!


I asked mom, “How much money is in the jar”? She had no idea, so we counted the loot with her two grandchildren helping.


With filthy fingers we meticulously counted the over 5100 coins and made a single surprising discovery. The old gentleman missed one of those wheat cents.


1952 D – Anyone care to grade it?


That’s the story about the Worlds Largest Share-A-Penny collection.


Don’t forget to submit your guess on the total amount of money in Grandma’s Coin Jar Holiday Contest. The answer will be revealed tomorrow at 7:00.








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