Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Penny For Your Luck

Today (May 23) is Lucky Penny Day.  I'd say "A penny for your thoughts," but maybe it should read "a penny for your luck" today.  Why is finding pennies good luck?  Rather than re-mint the coin (to paraphrase a cliche about redundancy), visit this website for some explanations.

Ouch!  Hey, That's Honest Abe's Face, For Crying Out Loud!

Isn't it a federal crime to deface currency? Just asking.  Scowl-Face says that Title 18, section 331 of the United States Code prohibits the fraudulent defacing, mutilation, alteration, or falsification of any U.S. coins, and this crime is punishable by fines and/or up to five years imprisonment (18 U.S.C. § 331).  Unless somebody is attempting to defraud someone else by defacing U.S. coinage, it appears not to be a federal offense.

How can you find your lucky penny?  Just glance around on the ground while you're walking, or check beneath your sofa or chair cushions.  People don't bother to pick-up pennies on sidewalks or other public floor space, so you should be able to gather several today.

Why is the poor penny unappreciated?  Well, it could be its actual monetary value.  What can you buy with a penny these days?  According to the U.S. Mint, in 2011 it cost 2.41 cents to mint a single Lincoln penny, so one wonders about the economic law of diminishing returns.  I'm not certain if that rule applies to this situation, because I never took economics in school (I'm a cat, after all).  I'd ask Scowl-Face, who completed two semesters of economics in college, but that was before coins were invented.

Special 2009 Penny Backs For Lincoln's 200th Birthday
and the 100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Penny

I'm fond of Abraham Lincoln, naturally (he loved cats, which all by itself makes him one of the greatest American presidents), but I really like so-called Indian Head pennies.

I've Got One Nearly This Old

Because they're more expensive to mint than they're worth at face value, lots of folks want to abolish penny production in the U.S.  That would be a shame, because folks in the over-50 crowd who remember how much you could buy with a penny in their youth want a visual point of reference.  (According to my minions, way back in the day, you could purchase a cart full of groceries, a small automobile, and a round-trip train ticket to San Antonio for a penny.  Frankly, I'm skeptical.)

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

P.S.  "Penny Lane" (1967), by the Beatles, was the group's first single (after they started topping the charts in 1963-1964 with every single release) not to reach number one on the British pop charts (when it was first released), although it topped the American and Canadian charts.  The song was the other "A" side on the single that also featured "Strawberry Fields Forever" (1967).

P.P.S.  Speaking to trains to San Antonio, the Monkees recorded "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" for the LP Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (1967) and, of course, for their television series (NBC, 1966-1968).

P.P.P.S.  Anybody Scowl-Face's age remembers the character Penny Robinson from the television series Lost in Space (CBS, 1965-1968), portrayed by actress Angela Cartwright.   Lots of young dudes fell in love with her (ol' Scowlly included) while watching that show, which was pretty cheesy even by Irwin Allen's production standards.  Hey, Allen made a gazillion dollars making youth-friendly popular TV programs, so I'll cut him some slack.  Here's a fan's tribute video to Ms. Cartwright's famous space chick.


  1. Hey, Cauli. Why does Lincoln face to the right on the U.S. penny, but other folks face to the left on other U.S. coins (other than the dollar coins, where they often face forward)?

    1. Before 2005, Jefferson faced left on the nickel. He faced right on 2005 nickels, and from 2006 onward he faces forward (i.e., not in profile). Lincoln faces right because of sculptor Victor David Brenner's rendering of Lincoln in that profile.


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