Poems in Progress: #26–April 26, 2016

Number 26

The Value of Pennies

My dad
used to hide them
instead of Easter eggs,
rare steel  War coins. We had to find
each one.

Leslie Schultz

Personally, I am partial to pennies. When I see one, I pick it up. I love the hues of copper, polished red or patinated green.

Yesterday, to create this number twenty-six, I used pennies on hand. This morning, I remembered how my father, an amateur coin collector,and my mother would hide one hundred of his steel pennies around the house on Easter Sunday. My brother, sister, and I would seek them on window ledges, behind doors, under furniture. We had to count our finds–accounting for each hidden coin–and return them to Dad, who would exchange them for standard issue coins (heavier and shinier, but paradoxically less valuable).

My dad, born in 1938, became interested in coins when he was a boy with a paper route and collected money for subscriptions. He remembered these valuable but ugly WW II pennies minted when all available copper was needed to manufacture ammunition and wiring. Compared to standard pennies, these ‘steelies’ were too light, too rough and easily corroded–often with a tacky white coating forming–and too dull. They were also magnetic. It always amazed me that these coins, inferior in beauty and function, were so much more valuable due to rarity and historical imprint. But what did I know?

That memory morphed into this cinquain.

Until tomorrow!


2 thoughts on “Poems in Progress: #26–April 26, 2016

  1. I didn’t know about this. Thank you for sharing it. I remember the life savers from Grandpa. Now I will think of him, too, when I see the penny here and there.

  2. Family legend has it that when you find a penny on pavement it means someone in heaven is thinking of you. I believe Grandpa Les is handing them out to his grandchildren, like he used to give us life savers when we were kids.

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