"Crazy Penny Guy," a penny hand sorter, achieved a milestone when he sorted 500,000 pennies for his 10,000 Roll Challenge. Penny sorting for copper pennies is an expanding hobby, fueled by high copper prices. It was featured on Nightline, on December 2, 2011.
Online PR News – 23-February-2012 – – Toronto, Ontario, Canada - "Crazy Penny Guy" is a man with a passion, or at least a lot of tenacity. Amassing two hundred boxes of mostly Canadian pennies in late September of last year, he set himself the goal of sorting through all of them for his 10,000 Roll Challenge. On February 19th of this year, he met his challenge by sorting through the contents of all two hundred boxes. On that day, he had sorted half a million pennies.
Penny sorting has become a growing hobby due to high copper prices. Currently, with copper prices around $3.75 a pound, copper pennies are worth around double face value. Like the silver dimes, quarters, halves and dollars made before silver coinage became too expensive to maintain, copper pennies are no longer made. Instead, the mints of the world have switched to cheaper options like copper-plated zinc or steel. The older pennies, now worth a premium, are sought after by a veritable underground of copper bullion hoarders and investors. The most known Website devoted to the hobby is Realcent, found here: http://realcent.org
Almost all serious penny sorters, looking for valuable coppers, use an electromagnetic sorting machine called the Ryedale. Despite the convenience brought by mechanization, some penny sorters stick with hand methods. "Crazy Penny Guy" is definitely one of them.
Hand sorters have the advantage with numismatic and semi-numismatic coins. "Crazy Penny Guy" has found many, although most are common dates. He has found a few semi-rarities, like a very worn 1919 American wheat cent that was minted by the Denver Mint. Coins minted there are identified by a "D" mintmark under the date.
But, the prize of his find is a rarer penny that comes from a country that no longer exists. Until 1949, Newfoundland was independent of Canada and a Dominion in its own right. As a nation, it had its own dollar and authorized coins under that rubric. Prior to 1937, Newfoundland cents were large diameter of about an inch. From 1937 to its absorption by Canada, Newfoundland issued one-cent copper pieces the same size as the pennies that exist today. The rarest of the small-penny series, with only 300,000 minted, covered the year 1940. In addition to the more common 1942, "Crazy Penny Guy" found a lightly-worn specimen of that rare year.
He also found lots of foreign coins. Most popular on his blog was a 1000 dong coin from Vietnam, complete with the Communist emblem on its front. The currency in Vietnam has been highly inflated over the years, so 1000 dong is worth little. Ironically, that coin was the one with the highest foreign exchange value of any of them: about 4.5 cents.
"Crazy Penny Guy" also found several 2-Eurocent coins from the European Union, although not enough to make a complete set representing all the countries in the Eurozone. Since each member nation has the right to issue Euro coins with their chosen national symbol on one side, a complete set comprises coins issued by all seventeen nations.
His enthusiasm and dedication have attracted the notice of the American Numismatic Association: http://www.money.org Several of his finds have been tweeted about by the ANA's tweeter. Although being Canadian, his penny rolls contained enough old American cents to make his blog filled with posts about them. Also, the foreign coins he found provided added interest.
"Crazy Penny Guy" exemplifies a crossover between sorting pennies for copper bullion investing and coin collecting. His hobby may be unusual, but his determination is there to see.
His 10,000 Roll Challenge has been sponsored by Icybid Online Auctions, which has published a recounting of his Challenge in his own words. Read it by clicking here: http://bit.ly/xLZIFD