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US Couple Struggle to Bank Huge Haul of Pennies

A couple in California are in for a penny, in for a pound after finding what they estimate to be a million copper pennies in a basement.

John Reyes and his wife discovered bags of the coins while cleaning her late father’s Los Angeles home around nine months ago.

The family thought about cashing them in for their $10,000 (£8,000) face value, but ultimately held back.

One local bank told Mr Reyes it had no room in the vault to take the coins.

“‘Don’t bring them here,'” the manager of a Well Fargo branch told him, he recalled in an interview with a local CBS News affiliate.

The discovery came as he was on his hands and knees rummaging through a crawlspace in his father-in-law’s home in the Pico-Union neighbourhood of LA.

At first, he said, he found loads of loose pennies that had rolled away after the paper rolls holding them in bundles disintegrated. They later found bank bags containing heavy loads full of pennies.

“Some of the banks don’t even exist anymore,” Mr Reyes said.

“Literally bag-by-bag, we had to take them out of the basement, up the stairs, and into the trucks,” Mr Reyes continued, adding that it took an entire day to remove them from the house.

The home was built in the early 1900s and the family believes it may have been a bed and breakfast at one point.

The coins, which are made from pure copper, pre-date 1943, when the US began using other metals to make the one cent coin due to World War Two shortages. Pennies are now made primarily from zinc.

The coins weighed down their car to the point that they had to drive in the slow lane, the couple said. They have not counted each one, but extrapolate that there are around one million in the stash based on the weight.

After consulting with a banker, the couple begrudgingly decided not to cash out the heavy load.

“You see all these stories of people finding pennies worth $2 million,” said Mr Reyes.

Rather than search the haul for any rare valuable coins themselves, they have instead decided to sell them all online, asking $25,000 for the lot.

Mr Reyes says the money will help towards renovating the home so it can be rented out to future generations.

He says it has left him feeling that, more than 10 years after his death, his father-in-law is still looking out for the family.

Source: BBC