Thursday, April 21, 2016

Four pennies left in their refund envelope for decades*

*a headline for a blog post that never before existed on the internet

So ... I can't completely recall how I came across this, but it seemed bloggable at that time, and it still does. So here goes...

This piece of ephemera measures 5 inches wide by 3⅛ inches tall. The cover (first image above) opens upward to reveal a stiff piece of cardboard (second image above) with spots to securely hold various coins. This one contains four cents, which I will remove in a moment.

The envelope is from The Crosse & Blackwell Company, which dates to 1706. The company was owned by Nestlé from 1960 until 2002, and was under the Nestlé umbrella at this time. As you can see from the cover, Crosse & Blackwell touted its nut rolls, relishes, jellies, preserves, marmalades, soups, sauces, puddings and more.

The point of the envelope was to deliver a cash refund: "We are pleased to send your cash refund in accordance with your recent request."

How much was the refund? Well, it looks like there might also have been a quarter and a dime inside at one point, in addition to the four pennies. So, perhaps, someone removed the 35¢ and left the 4¢ (undesirable even then) for some future ephemera nerd to stumble upon.

Upon removing the four pennies and examining them, I can report that they were all minted in 1964, making that a good guess as to when this piece of ephemera dates to. So, the pennies were shiny new in 1964 and now, 50 years later, they have been liberated from the envelope and will soon find themselves in my daughter's piggy bank (which is actually a coffin bank, in case you were wondering).

So, I am happy to report to Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew that these coins will soon be back in circulation, after a half-century.

That makes this post timely, because there was a lot of hubbub yesterday about U.S. currency changes and how those changes relate to Andrew Jackson, Andrew Hamilton, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth and others. In addition, there is ongoing discussion about ceasing production of pennies, because they cost 1.7¢ apiece just to make them, and because who really uses or wants pennies anymore, anyway?

Plus, now that I'm putting four more pennies back into circulation, we should be good there. So we can stop with the penny production already.


  1. Great post! This one made me laugh out loud!

  2. I'm an unabashedly, unashamed penny picker upper. This reminds me of my first job when I worked at a local small-town bank. I worked at the original location that had been built in 1908. Occasionally, I had to go to the basement for supplies and I always extended my trip by snooping around in all the old files. Once I found a box full of the bank's business cards with a penny glued to each one. They were from some kind of "Earn a penny, save a penny" campaign in the '70's. I took one from my birth year and still have it.