Hope No One Minds If I Just Plunk Down 62,000 Pennies To Pay Off This Mortgage

Money is money, which is why one man figured the bank wouldn’t mind all that much if he finally paid off his mortgage with around 62,000 pennies he’d saved over the last 35 years. He said he just wanted his last payment on the house he bought in 1977 with his wife to be “memorable.” At two 400-pound boxes, we’d say that penny payment isn’t going to be forgotten soon.

Thomas made it his mission from the outset of his mortgage to make the final payment in pennies.

“It was something I wanted to do,” he told the Milford Daily News. “I always follow through. I was just praying I didn’t die first.”

On average, his penny pile grew at 2.5 pennies per day. It started out in a grape crate, which began to break over the years as the pennies added up. He then bought a pair of steel military rocket launcher ammo boxes to hold the pennies.

Thomas didn’t want to elaborate on the exact amount of pennies, but did reveal that each box probably weighed around 400 pounds. He kept them in his basement, and his wife would laugh when he went to pick up a penny and say it was going toward the mortgage.

The last mortgage payment arrived on his 35th anniversary, which was quite a coincidence. He gave the bank a heads up that he’d be arriving with his load of pennies, and they said “they were 100 percent for it.”

Now that he’s no longer a penny man, he works in the garden in his backyard.

And besides, “I’m too old to pick up those boxes of pennies,” he said.

Pennies add up for Milford man [Milford Daily News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Vermont2US says:

    Hopefully he’s not a penny short or he’ll end up like the lady in Texas.

  2. Hi_Hello says:


  3. Scoobatz says:

    I plan to make my final payment using auto withdrawal.

  4. Murph1908 says:

    Bravo for the Milford Federal Savings to go along with the idea, and not throw a fit about taking the pennies. For the simple act of couting the pennies (which they probably have a machine to do), they got some free local (and national, for what it’s worth) press.

    Boo to the Milford Daily News for having a pop-behind ad.

    LOL to the Milford Daily News for having a pole dancing class advertisment on their front page. Oh, sorry. Pole “fitness”.

    • Murph1908 says:

      Just read more of the article. He rolled all the pennies, even.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      And bravo to Mr. Daigle for having the good sense to call Milford Federal Savings and letting them know ahead of time that he was bringing in all of those pennies.

      • Murph1908 says:

        I was going to say this too, but got distracted by the pole dancing class. Thanks.

        • RandomHookup says:

          And they say online advertising doesn’t work…

          • Murph1908 says:

            It works, but maybe not in the way expected. The ‘fitness’ class didn’t get any of my money, but Diamond, Portia, Candy and Sindy did.

    • Difdi says:

      I’s a good thing for the bank that they did accept the pennies.

      Refusing a payment in legal tender that is offered to pay off a debt (or a portion of a debt) discharges the debt in the amount of the refused payment.

      If I owe you $100, and I hand you $20 in pennies to partially pay off the debt, and you refuse, then I only owe you $80, even if I go home with the pennies you refused.

      That’s the law.

      • Amp says:

        If I were you, I’d get the pennies you spent on your Internet Law Degree refunded.

        You’d have to take the issue to a court for any part of the debt to be discharged, and it’s up to the Judge to say if your attempt to pay with pennies was reasonable or not. Simply declaring, “I tried, so now I owe you $20 less” doesn’t cut it.

        “In State v. Carroll, 1997 WL 118064 (Ohio App. 4 Dist.), the Court upheld the municipal court’s refusal to accept the pennies. The plaintiff argued that under 31 U.S.C.A. ‘ 5103, United States coins are legal tender “for all debts, public charges taxes and dues,” and for that reason the city was required to accept the pennies as payment of the fine. Without pointing to any case law, the Court simply concluded that “It defies logic and common sense that this Congress intended such a wooden and broad application of the statute beyond the control of the payee regardless of the circumstances.” [At 4-5] The Court reasoned that under the law authorizing the clerk to collect and issue receipts for the payment of fines, etc., the clerk could “provide a reasonable procedure for the place, time and manner of accepting fines consistent with the efficient operation of the clerk’s office.” [At 5]


        As I don’t know of a more recent example, it may have changed since but you’d still have to head to a court to get the issue settled.

        Either way, I’m assuming he took them directly to the bank, where they’d be dealing with the damn things whether he used them as payment or deposited them into his account. This is pretty much free goodwill for the bank doing what they would have done in the first place.

  5. scoosdad says:

    Soon we’ll be reading the story about how his bank foreclosed on his house because after counting all the pennies (which took over a month because their counting machine doesn’t work anymore), they found he was one short. A bank representative showed up at the house, physically evicted him and his wife, bulldozed the man’s garden, and he suffered a fatal heart attack as a result. Now his wife is suing the bank for damages. A bank representative denied saying that they had agreed to take his last payment in pennies.

    Where have I read that before? Hmmmm.

  6. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    “Mind if I get in line ahead of you? I just need to make one mortgage payment.”

  7. bhr says:

    Bravo for the bank and the customer on this one. Every time we hear one of those “but I wanted an exception” stories I wonder how much better things would have gone if they just called the place first.

    Also, the guy probably cost himself a couple grand by holding the pennies to the last second.

    Assuming a $620 payment over 30 years he probably had an interest rate around 8% on a 85k loan.
    $2 a month (about 1/360 of his payment) would have saved him $2200 and paid the mortgage off 4 months faster.

    • wade says:

      That’s what I thought about too. Thanks for the math.

      Of course, I doubt he would have been as diligent about keeping change or searching for pennies if he got rid of his stash every month. I would imagine that it got more fun (or less tedious and/or boring) the bigger his pile was.

      • bhr says:

        I just love the extra payment math, paying off your mortgage early is a better investment than anything you can find on Wall Street.

        I have a friend who I did a mortgage for when I was a broker. 400k, 5%, 180 months (3000ish payment, but they can afford it easily.)

        Her and the hubby smoked at the time, maybe a couple packs a week. I showed them that if they took the $100 or so they spent combined on smokes a month and put it into their payments they would save nearly $8000 over the 180 month mortgage (a ~ 50% return on their investment). They havent smoked in the years since

        • JJFIII says:

          Sorry, but that is just plain wrong. Even with the recent stock market troubles, my stocks are up well beyond 5% per year. In fact here are the facts:

          On January 20, 1993, the first day of Bill Clinton’s 1st term as president, the Dow Jones closed at 3,241
          If the stock market had grown at a consistent 5% rate until January 20 2013 the DJIA would be at 8190 , instead it is at 12,772. Seems to me that is far smarter investment than a loan that is at 5% with some of that available for a tax deduction (lets say at a 20% tax rate) which would make the effective interest rate closer to 4%

          • bhr says:

            Can you read? I was showing how prepaying can return 50% on the investment over 20 years. Can you invest $10 a month for the next 180 months and know that you will get a 50% return over 20 years? Hell no.

            • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

              He can not only read, he can do math, which you obviously can’t. That 50% return isn’t _per year_, it’s total.

              The return you get from prepaying your mortgage is equal to whatever the interest rate you’re paying on the mortgage is. Think of it this way: you just bought a house, and have a $200k mortgage, 30 year fixed, at 5%. I tell you that I’ll either pay off your mortgage, or give you a $200k Treasury bond with a 30 year term, at 10%. Which would you take?

    • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

      Hate to quibble, but it’s smaller than that. Assuming the pennies built up at a consistent rate, he has 62,000 pennies / 12 months / 35 years = 147 pennies/month, or $1.47. If he had paid an additional $1.47/month, every month (same loan assumptions as you had made), he would have saved himself $1643 in interest costs ($137.9k vs $139.5k).

  8. Blueskylaw says:

    Good thing he didn’t use Coinstar, they would have taken $55.18 out of his savings.

    • bhr says:

      I recently had $90 worth of pennies, nickels and dimes collected. My CU is 40 miles away and I didn’t need to go there for anything (plus they don’t have a coin machine, you have to go to the counter.)

      I discovered that the coinstar at my local grocery chain gives full value gift cards via coinstar though. So I went over, dropped in my coins and got a gift card for $92 for a place I regularly spend money. Can’t beat that.

  9. shepd says:

    Lucky that’s allowed in the USA! It’d be illegal in Canada, although I suppose the bank could consider it “barter” if they wanted to go through with it anyways.

    • j2.718ff says:

      Huh? What Canadian law would one be breaking?

      • ferozadh says:

        Currency Act

        (2) A payment in coins…is a legal tender for no more than the following amounts for the following denominations of coins:

        (e) twenty-five cents if the denomination is one cent.

  10. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    No problem. If someone wants to pay with 62,000 pennies then they have to wait while you count them.

  11. scoutermac says:

    I would like to know what bank this is that allowed you to do this at. Fifth Third Bank would refuse to accept that many pennies that were not already rolled.

    • scoutermac says:

      After reading the original article I see if was Milford Federal Savings and Loan. The pennies were also in rollers.

    • longdvsn says:

      ALL banks, including Fifth Third, MUST accept pennies (even loose pennies) for a debt payment. Pennies are legal tender, valid for all debts.

      However, they need not accept pennies for deposits. Stores need not accept pennies at the point of sale. Etc.

      The issue of actually counting the pennies during business hours, while you have to wait there, might be a bit of a problem though.


      • blueman says:

        Yet the very link you cited says:

        “There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.”

        • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

          Payment for goods and services is the key element there. You can refuse to take cash for a purchase (i.e. I won’t sell you this car for a stack of hundreds), but you can’t refuse to take cash for payment of a debt (i.e. you must let me make my monthly car payment in cash).

        • longdvsn says:

          What you said is exactly what I have above: “However, they need not accept pennies for deposits. Stores need not accept pennies at the point of sale. Etc.”

          A mortgage payment is very clearly a debt – not a point of sale. A debt can be paid in pennies.

  12. Will Print T-shirts For Food says:

    I’m amazed, this story went so well for everyone!

  13. Delicious Spam is delicious says:

    Milford should redo their floors in copper colored circular tiles in celebration.

    • scoosdad says:

      Errr why? Because they got back the money that was owed to them? What’s to celebrate?

  14. kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

    “Thomas didn’t want to elaborate on the exact amount of pennies”

    Two 400 pounds boxes of pennies (yes, I realize this is his estimate) = 800 pounds of pennies, less the weight of the boxes. I have no idea what a rocket launcher ammo box weighs, but let’s say 5 pounds each. That leave 790 pounds of pennies.

    there are ~147 copper pennies to a pound or 182 zinc pennies. So somewhere between $1160ish and $1435ish.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      “he finally paid off his mortgage with around 62,000 pennies he’d saved”

      So around $620.00 if you don’t use Verizon math or the metric system to count them.

      • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

        I’m assuming that he paid off the $620 and deposited the remainder.

  15. Weighted Companion Cube says:

    I hope he separated out the 1935 and older pennies. Some of those can be worth a lot of money. Pre-1982 pennies are 95% copper and are worth $0.0225 per penny if melted down. Though it is illegal to melt down pennies.

    • kc-guy says:

      As I understand, it is legal to melt down the coins (or draw on dollar bills), but not as an attempt to change the face value of coin. IE, no rubbing off the ink and printing a $50 on top of the paper of a $1 bill.

      Not sure what the equivalent of this would be with regards to coinage, but that my understanding… my (puts on sunglasses) 2 cents. (Yeeeeaaaah?)

  16. longfeltwant says:

    The word for saving change in a jar is seigniorage:


  17. Kestris says:

    and my husband laughs at me when I pick up pennies. Hmph.

  18. TravistyRobertoson says:

    I wonder how he got them out of the basement?

  19. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I always pick up a penny if I see one. I have a little clown-shaped jelly jar I got at a garage sale when I was a kid. It has a slot in the top so you can use it as a bank. All pennies go in there. It’s just fun to save them even if they’re not worth much.

    I want to dump them out and look and see if I have any that are worth anything. I’ll have to do that before it gets too full.

  20. teqjack says:

    Lucky this is the USA. About a week ago FARK COM pointed to an article about a UK woman who tried to pay a thirty-pound bill with pence: almost went to gaol, seems decades ago a law was passed banning using more than 20 penny-coins to pay a bill.

  21. Martin says:

    This is public relations gold. What the bank ought to want is television coverage of the friendly bank manager assuring the television audience, “Why, certainly, if Mr. Thomas wants to pay his balance in pennies, we’ll take them. That many pennies is an awful lot, so we’ve hired Girl Scout Troop 54321 to count them and roll them for us.”

    Camera shows uniformed Girl Scouts counting and rolling pennies. TV reporter walks up to one of them and asked, “And, what’s your name?”


    “This is Gerald Blowdry, reporting for Big Eleven News.”