Otha Anders is a teacher from the state of Louisiana.
When he began collecting coins in the late 1960s, it wasn’t to amass any type of wealth, he just liked doing it. Even when the government began a program of paying $125 for every $100 of pennies turned in, he wasn’t interested. He liked having the collection.
Collecting pennies as an excuse to say a prayer.
Anders said that he began seeing pennies as a reminder to stop and say a prayer.
“If I would see a penny when I’m gassing up, on the ground, or in a store, it would be a reminder to stop right there and say a prayer,” Anders said to ABC News. “I never failed to do that. That’s why they had so much value to me.”
At no point during all of his penny-collecting did Anders accept coins as a gift from anyone else.
“But I never allowed anyone, not even my wife nor children, to give me pennies without being compensated,” he continued. “I wanted the inner satisfaction that God and I acquired this collection.”
A reason to be thankful.
Over time this practice of stopping what he was doing and saying a prayer every time he saw a penny became important to Anders. He noticed that on days when he wasn’t thankful enough for what he had, a penny would show up in his sights to remind him.
“I became convinced that spotting a lost or dropped penny was an additional God-given incentive reminding me to always be thankful. There have been days where I failed to pray and more often than not, a lost or dropped penny would show up to remind me.”
Filling up giant water jugs with pennies.
Anders filled big water jugs with the coins he collected. He said at one point his goal was to fill up 5 giant water jugs but once he had done that, he felt the urge to keep going. He needed to go to the bank and turn them in or else he’d never do it.
At the time he finally went to the bank, he had filled 15 5-gallon jugs.
“I wanted to fill five five-gallon water jugs. That was the goal, but I couldn’t stop. … If I hadn’t turned them in yesterday, I was not going to stop.”
In addition to the intrinsic value Anders found in collecting the pennies, they also added up to have significant financial value. After finding out his homeowner’s insurance policy wouldn’t cover his collection, he called the Origin Bank in Ruston, Louisiana, where he had been a customer for years.
Anders let them know he would be coming in with a large number of pennies. They were happy to help but it was quite the undertaking.
“We value his business, as we do all of our customers,” said the bank’s Vice President Jennie Cole. “But if we can help Anders with his endeavors, we are happy to do so.”
The jars had to be opened with an ax and the whole process took over 5 hours. By the end, it was determined that Anders’ coin collection was worth thousands.
Learn more about Otha Anders’ valuable penny collection in the video below.