Anthony Rabak: A penny for your thoughts
National Lucky Penny Day is celebrated each year on May 23 — today.
You know, those little coins, the smallest denomination in our currency, the penny? You ever feel like that coin? I mean, just existing but not necessarily thinking you are of any extraordinary worth — at least individually?
Perhaps you were told or made to feel you had no great value. Maybe you bear what you (or others) perceive as a mark or scar declaring low worth. We’ve all walked along, seen a discarded penny on the ground but maybe didn’t think twice about exerting any energy to stop and pick it up (even if all the day you’d have good luck).
Perhaps you thought it just wasn’t worth the effort to stop, especially if you question whether you’d be able to get back up, LOL.
Here’s a perspective for thought: I recently learned something interesting about those little “copper” engravings of Abraham Lincoln; I was surprised that they can be worth way beyond their face or assumed value, especially if it is what is considered a “key date.” I have a novice interest in numismatics (coin collecting) and because of my hobby I was once asked to take a look through a bunch of old coins an elderly gentleman had saved over the years; they were lovingly assembled over many decades and years of experiences.
I was initially drawn to look for the obvious coins of bullion value (you know, silver and gold). In this mix were lots of dingy little pennies which I quickly put aside while looking for the “good stuff.” A few small silver coins were isolated, I then thought I’d give the cast-asides a look; I didn’t think it would make “cents” to waste too much time on them, though. With my limited experience I’d assumed that even though a penny was old most were probably not worth more than two to three cents each, especially if well circulated and worn.
Well, I was wrong; turns out some rare, prime examples can be quite valuable.
For example, a rare, coveted 1944 Steel Wheat Penny once sold for $110,334.
Let me digress a moment, forget about it being just a penny. Pocket change coinage are actually an exhibition of little works of art. Skilled craftsmen were commissioned to create the tiny portraits and scenery that adorn them. Regardless of mass production numbers I’d imagine that one who put so much of themselves, time and talent, into one of their masterpieces would always take time to notice and pick up one of their carelessly discarded creations. To the artisan, there is intrinsic value far exceeding a stamped face value. Some may be new, some old, large or small but all possess value, especially to its creator.
My research yielded values based not necessarily only on base metal content but on the eye of the beholder. Some will spend their lifetime in search of what is unsatisfying or unattainable. I want to tell you that each one of us is an original creation, a one of a kind. We are made up of inexpensive base components but, fearfully and wonderfully put together, our value is not in what we are but in Who we are. Our birthday is a key date to a divine enthusiast who with love creates each individual and wants us to know Him personally.
Inside us is a thoughtfully and skillfully crafted eternal soul — a priceless treasure that cannot be earned or bought at any price but is freely given to us.
So, what are you doing with yours? Make it count. Your thoughts?
Anthony D. Rabak is a writer living in Alta Sierra.
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As a 20-year resident of our fine city of Grass Valley, I got a good giggle out of Christian Stewart’s commentary about opposition to mining from a recent emigrant and a rightly concerned community.