I have had this gallon jug that was repository of all my loose pennies and it has been several years since I began filling it. It was heavy, and it was in the way most of the time. Too heavy to be even a doorstop these days, it was actually more of a trip-hazard than anything else. Long overdue, it was time to cash-in. How much is a gallon of pennies, anyway?
A Gallon Jug of Mostly Pennies
Over the years that I have been nonchalantly saving my pennies I tried to not let other coins get intermingled with the contents of this jar. Still, it happens and there were a few dimes and a nickel or two in here. Certainly less than a dollar so I will just eschew any errant final figure as to final total dollar value. The ability of pennies to shift around and occupy the actual volume is far greater probability than the skewed value a dollar's worth of silver might cause.
The Penny Jug, The Mystery of What is it Worth?
(image by author)
I wish that I had weighed this now. It would have given a better descriptor of contents and a more accurate result of how much is actually in this jug. I always imagined a booth at the Fair with a guess how many pennies are in this jar and win a prize scenario. Of course, the weight of the jar would not be revealed at such an event and the jar, whatever volume it was, would not be completely filled either. Just on general principle.
No way was I going to mule this heavy jar to the store as-is. I wanted to take it down in smaller increments. To that end, I used another smaller jar to transfer some portion into. Those automatic coin-machines are pretty neat; you drop your coins onto a perforated rack and press the START button, and you begin to sweep your coins into the maw of the machine.
The perforated tray allows anything non-coin to drop safely out and not jamb-up the counting mechanisms. Things like clothes lint, little wads of paper, paper clips (often, small dishes from office desk contains both paper clips and pennies and get dumped into a cup or bag and sent here.)
The detritus-collector tray always shows what was dropped through and it looks pretty disgusting. Little bits of candy maybe, a tack and some woodchips or ...fingernail clippings? Yuk!
I saw a very small copper coin that made it through the perforated tray; it was foreign. That did come from my handfuls of pennies fed into the machine. Maybe Polish, it was about half the diameter of a dime. It belongs to whomever cleans the machine now.
The machine will possibly stall if it gobbles anything non-coin and this can cause the accurate counting of your coins to terminate. You may lose your money. Try to only deposit for counting the cleanest load of coins that you can.
Loading-up on Pennies
(image by author)
I decided to take more than just the small jar, so a plastic resealable container joins the effort. As it is, this is a bit less than half the total volume of the gallon jug and still almost inconvenient to transport. But the effort will be rewarded. I needed some additional cash at the time for my son's upcoming birthday presents and this would do quite nicely. I was surprised at how much was in this jar in total.
What you see in the smaller jar and the plastic container together was counted by the machine and it came to twenty-two dollars and forty-two cents (after the small fee that the machine extracts for the service.) Not too bad. This machine separates coins by value (size, thickness, weight, etc.) and tallies the total. It ejects a register receipt when you press the finished button. This is redeemable that day only towards grocery purchases or for cash payout at the Service Desk.
It may vary by store, city or other, but this particular location mandates that the receipt given be redeemed the same day. It cannot be saved for a future date. I suppose that this eliminates or reduces the chance of fraud or alternation of the printout.
As my Son would say, More Pennies!
Several days later I re-loaded the small jar and plastic container for the final run and with just a few handfuls remaining, bagged them in resealable freezer bags and took them all to be redeemed. This time the payout was thirty dollars and eighty-one cents.
How Much is a Gallon Jug of Pennies Worth?
This particular gallon jug of pennies came to a total of fifty-three dollars and twenty-three cents but the actual amount might be different between the same size jug. Remember, depending upon how the pennies lay in the jug, the amount of other coins also present and counted your amount can and probably would vary. What I thought was a gallon of just pennies did in fact have several dimes and nickels.
If you have a jar or jug of pennies, what are you hoarding them for? Redeem them for money that you can more conveniently use. If the jug of pennies is a safeguard for the future still you can redeem them and deposit the money into a bank account. Stuff the folding money under your mattress. Either way, it will still be more accessible and convenient to use when you need it.