The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 26, Number 24, June 11, 2023, Article 31


Rich Bottles passed along this story about a couple who found a stash of about a million cents while cleaning out a parent's home. -Editor

  Million penny hoard

Having more money than you know what to do with is usually a good thing, but for one California family, it's a little bit more complicated than that.

John Reyes, a realtor from the Inland Empire area, is trying to figure out what to do with more than 1 million pennies he and his wife discovered in her father's former home in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The pennies were found in a crawlspace way back in the basement of the home last year while the family was cleaning out the home that once belonged to John's father-in-law, Fritz.

Fritz and his brother, both German immigrants, lived in the home for decades until Fritz passed and his brother moved away.

In the years since, John, his wife, Elizabeth, her sister, her cousin and their spouses, have been cleaning out the historic home with plans to renovate it for the next generation.

They kept everything, Reyes told KTLA, adding that it's taken several years with their busy schedules to get the place clean and ready for renovations.

He says their cleaning job became a rescue mission one day last year while cleaning out the home's basement. The crawlspace was tight, literally requiring members of the family to get on their knees to reach the deepest corners.

At first, they stumbled upon some loose pennies, the paper rolls disintegrated from years of basement dwelling. Loose pennies led to crates, which led to boxes, which eventually led to the discovery of dozens of bank bags filled with an undetermined amount of pennies from decades ago.

Some of the banks don't even exist anymore, Reyes said.

The discovery was exciting, but also led to the realization that they were stuck with hundreds of thousands of pennies, each bag weighing several pounds and needing to be pulled from the crawlspace and brought into the light for the first time in years.

They did some rough mathematics, weighing the bags of pennies and determining how much each bag held, and then stopped once they felt comfortable with an estimate: at least 1 million.

Next came the question that still rings true for Reyes and his wife's family: what exactly do you do with a million pennies?

The immediate thought was cash out and be done with it.

‘We've got to take these to Coinstar,' Reyes recalled thinking at the time, but they quickly changed their minds. We didn't want to pay 8%, and there's no way we can take these all the way [home] to Ontario.

They began calling around banks in L.A. to see if any of them were interested.

One Wells Fargo branch said it was just too many pennies for them to take in. ‘I don't even have the room in my vault,' Reyes recalled a bank manager telling him. ‘Don't bring them here.'

Their local bank didn't want to take the pennies either, urging Reyes and his extended family to go through them and search for any rarities.

Reyes begrudgingly agreed. You see all these stories of people finding pennies worth $2 million, he said. It only takes one rare coin to change everything, and they had ample opportunity to get lucky.

But they've already invested years into cleaning out Fritz and his brother's old home and they've spent months dealing with the pennies. The family is ready for someone else to finish the journey, but they want to get a fair value for the possibility the pennies promise.

Reyes listed the coins on OfferUp, a popular resale app and website, asking for $25,000. If their estimate of 1 million pennies is accurate, that's more than double the $10,000 value in normal currency.

They've received piecemeal offers from people interested in a portion of what treasures may be found in the depths of the bank bags, but no offers to take them completely out of their hands. One person offered the copper value, but that proved to be impractical and resource-heavy.

If you have the means, the desire, and an optimistic spirit, Reyes and his family are listening to offers. Although, you'll probably have to figure out how to transport them yourself.

The story quickly went viral. Thanks also to Len Augsburger, Howard Berlin, Michael Kodysz, Dick Hanscom and Aidan Work, who forwarded other publications of the story. -Editor

Aidan writes:

"This is even better than those stories about people trying to pay fines in protest with only 1 Cent coins."

Hmmm, maybe they could trade up with the folks who stole those two million dimes... -Editor

To read the complete articles, see:
Family finds 1 million copper pennies while cleaning out Los Angeles home (
Family finds 1 million copper pennies while cleaning out Los Angeles home (
Family finds 1 million copper pennies while cleaning LA home (
Family finds 1 million copper pennies while cleaning out Los Angeles home (
US couple struggle to bank huge haul of pennies (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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