According to Straight Dope, the phrase “a penny for your thoughts” was included in the The Proverbs Of John Heywood in 1546. Probably a penny had some worth then. It certainly doesn't now. In many of the countries we've visited ... New Zealand, Australia and Canada come to mind immediately … they've phased out pennies altogether. They round off everything to the nearest 5 or 10 cents. No such thing as $9.99 … it's always $10, no matter what the sign says.
Yet returning to the USA, we find pennies, made of zinc now and not copper, still in use, though their value is nearly worthless. A penny's worth of penny candy will probably get you the cellophane wrapper and Ebay has penny whistles going for $5.65 plus shipping.
They've made several attempts to rid us of pennies, but evidently the zinc lobby (yes, I'm serious) is very opposed to it. The cost of production is more to make them than they're worth. I read that it costs ~2.2 cents to make a penny. I was never a math whiz, but even I can figure out that this is probably not a good business model. Do we really lose that much money making money? Considering the US mints billions of pennies each year, it would seem we could save a bit on materials, labor and overhead if we eliminated this product. Of course, that's just me, but I've noted we have a significant budget deficit and maybe this would help a little.
That said, when I see a penny laying on the ground, I still never hesitate to stop and pick it up … if it's heads up that is...
Find a penny, pick it up. All day long you'll have good luck.
Penny tails, flip again. Share your luck with a friend.
You just never know when you'll find a penny worth something … even my thoughts.
So...do you still pick up good luck pennies?
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