Saturday, October 18, 2008
I found this 1945 penny in my pocket today. I don't usually see coins this old still in circulation. Somehow this 63 year old penny found its way into my pocket. I sat on the beach at dusk, holding it between my thumb and forefinger, trying to imagine its journey.
It was minted in 1945, the year World War II came to an end. Joe Rosenthal took the award winning photo of the Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died suddenly and Vice President Harry S. Truman became the 33rd President. Perhaps a reporter in Washington D.C. first acquired the penny as part of his change for a cup of coffee. In 1954, it could have been part of the 18 cents someone paid for a burger when the first Burger King opened here in Miami, Florida. I'm certain my penny was in someone's pocket at Woodstock in 1969. Perhaps it was in the change purse of a New York City hot dog vendor at the opening ceremony of the World Trade Center in 1973. I wonder how many pockets its been in, how many times it was lost between the cushions of someone's couch, how many times it was picked up off the ground as a token of good luck?
Some interesting facts:
Lincoln has been on the front side (the obverse) of the penny since 1909.
My penny does not have the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse. That began in 1959.
The copper in my penny is worth 2.65 cents. Today's pennies are 97% zinc with copper plating.