February 12, 2009

Coin dealer giving away 1 million pennies

A Louisiana coin dealer wants to give away 1 million pennies during the 12 days between Lincoln's Birthday and the beginning of Mardi Gras.

Paul Hollis of Mandeville said just getting all the pennies has been hard work. He arranged for a shipment of 500,000 pennies from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia by armored car.

Hollis hoped to get the new Lincoln pennies that went into circulation for the first time Thursday. He had to settle for the last of the old coins with the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse side.

Local bankers and the Federal Reserve Bank told me they don't expect delivery of the new pennies for weeks or even months later until the current inventory of earlier-dated one-cent coins is reduced in Southern states, Hollis said. So, I'm making arrangements to get at least some new coins as soon as they're available from banks in another part of the country.

Some of the recipients will be getting a collector's item. Hollis plans to give away 10,000 pennies minted between 1909 and 1958 with a wheat sheaf reverse.