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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wacky Wednesday #48—Pennies

 
The penny: often taken for granted. In America today a penny is not worth what it once was. Why else would people throw them onto the ground? But I say the penny is worth celebrating and that’s what I’m doing today. I see pennies as pretty, with their copper shine. And if you put a lot of them together, you’ll get a lot of shimmer. I’ve called myself pennywise, and today I’m wearing my penny passion for all the world to see.
 
 
When a lot of pennies gather for a meeting of metal, they get fairly heavy. Today I’m wearing two pounds of pennies. My capelet has roughly 350 pennies on it. Did you know that it takes 181.4 pennies to equal one pound?
 
 
Pennies may be easily dismissed. Their monetary value pales in comparison to their silvery cousins and green dollar bills. The penny gets no respect! (Except from me.) But it has such beautiful color. It deserves some love.
 
My dress is made of fabric I already had (thrifted), with an overlay of shimmery copper-colored fabric (on sale!). I’m using real pennies on my capelet. For my head ornament, I painted some cardboard to create an oversized penny.




 
 


For this costume I bought $5 worth of pennies at the bank. I didn’t use all of them. Some I had to clean, as these pennies had seen a lot of life over the years. They looked like they’d been through wars. Others were only a year old and they looked too new—like they hadn’t lived at all. (I am very picky—it’s true…) I ended up using a mix of new and older pennies.

When people asked what I was dressed as I told them I’d declared it Penny Appreciation Day. Two people said I looked like Cleopatra, one person said a gladiator and my friend Andrea started calling me Penny Marshall. I’m okay with people having different interpretations of my costumes. Art gets people talking, which is part of why I love it.

This idea probably has its roots several years in the past, when I used pennies in an art piece. I loved their shimmer, and I liked highlighting the beauty of a material that is considered to be of very low value. Irony! Contrast!

Why is it considered bad to be a penny-pincher, but considered good to be pennywise?

You know the phrase “Penny for your thoughts?” (I almost used that for the name of this post.) It may need some updating, to keep up with inflation. Of course, here in my blog land, my thoughts are free

Here’s something to consider: even though the penny is dismissed by some people as almost worthless, there are many sayings that refer to pennies, which is not true of more valuable coins. I like this one:


A penny is a lot of money if you have not got a penny.
                                                         -Yiddish Proverb
 
 
I don’t know if pennies bring luck, as the saying goes, but at the very least it’s fun to use unexpected materials in a costume.

Here are a few fun facts about pennies:

 
Did you know that since 1982 pennies have been made of 97.5 % zinc and 2.5 % copper? They are copper-plated zinc. (Just in case you’re playing Trivial Pursuit and you get this question.)  

Pennies did not show Abraham Lincoln’s profile prior to 1909. In 1909 Lincoln Pennies were introduced in honor of the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

From 1909-1958 the reverse side of pennies had the Wheat Cent design, and “one cent” embossed on them.

From 1959-2008 the reverse side of pennies featured the Lincoln Memorial.

In 2009, to celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, the reverse side of pennies were embossed with four different designs.

In 2010 a new design was featured on the reverse side of pennies: the Lincoln Shield.

The oldest penny I came across while making this costume was from 1950. Below are a couple of photos I took of pennies from different years. I thought it was interesting to see how a penny from 2012 looked noticeably worn, compared to the 2015 penny:


 
 
 
If you’ll excuse me, I need to take off this weighty capelet. I suppose I can legitimately call myself a heavy metal artist now! It’s been a shiny day for me, but I’m ready to put my feet up for a minute before I start work on something fun for next Wednesday…
 
 
 

22 comments:

  1. Heavy metal artist!!!! I LOVE it! Amazing work on that head piece! Wow!

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  2. Heavy metal artist!!!! I LOVE it! Amazing work on that head piece! Wow!

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  3. Thanks, Spring! You always suspected the heavy metal part, right?!

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  4. I saw you shimmering from a mile away. You sure brightened up the parking lot today. Thanks for igniting an appreciation for these lowly treasures!

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  5. I saw you shimmering from a mile away. You sure brightened up the parking lot today. Thanks for igniting an appreciation for these lowly treasures!

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    1. Thanks, Margarita. Yep, it was their day today...

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  6. Lovely & shimmery, just like you!

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  7. M, thanks, friend! I think they have a lot of pizazz...

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  8. Love it, Sarah! I've been saving pennies for years for an art project. Always said I was going to make a backsplash behind my stove made out of pennies but I've yet to even start it. Unfortunately, unlike you, my creative sparks often just take place in my head - need to work on making them a reality as you always do on Wacky Wednesday. You deserve a medal! Maybe your penny headpiece will do ( :
    XO Juliet

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    1. Oh, Juliet, thanks! Pennies would be a great backsplash. One of these days it will happen--I'll come help if you like!

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  9. I'm really loving this one! Your head ornament is fabulous--and I never knew a few pennies could turn you into an Egyptian queen. Really pretty!

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    1. Kim, thank you! So glad you liked it.

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  10. I loved your artistic creativity with your costume- that capelet, and head ornament, are so skillfully created. A lot of hard work, there! But also very rewarding for you to see the finished result. Next time we see that penny on the ground, we will indeed pick it up! Love, Aunt Eileen

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    1. Hi Aunt Eileen, thanks. So nice of you. Long live the penny!

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  11. Very cute Sar. Way to go young lady!

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    1. Thank you, sir. The pennies stayed put the whole day. Only one fell off. Not bad...

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  12. What a great creation, and a wonderful post!

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  13. Awesome!! I didn't know all those penny facts. I know the older pennies feel "weightier" so it makes sense that they had more copper in them than the post-1982 pennies. I really like the ones with the wheat on the back. i love the penny! I was so glad that they didn't get away with them, as was proposed several years back :-) I still pick up pennies when I see them. They deserve respect, too! Long live the wonderful coppery coin!

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  14. I am in awe of how pretty pennies laid out together look! Francesca is always so excited on Wednesdays when I get home for me to guess the costume of the week. I can honestly say that I have not gotten one right! Great job this week!

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    1. Oh, so funny! I love picturing her giving you clues so you can guess the costume. Thanks....

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