2006_04_22_penny.jpg Let's all take a brief moment to contemplate the penny: Tiny, sometimes red, sometimes black, sometimes shiny, sometimes sticky, you can exchange them for goods or services, a hundred of them make a buck ... OK, we done? Good. Now think about this:

This week the cost of the metals in a penny rose above 0.8 cents, more than twice the value of last fall. Because the government spends at least another six-tenths of a cent — above and beyond the cost of the metal — to make each penny, it will lose nearly half a cent on each new one it mints

In fact, it has been losing money making pennies (at a record clip, no less) for nearly six months. No reason to get super-freaked out just yet though dear reader, "the real problem could come if metals prices rise so high that it would be economical to melt down pennies for the metals they contain."

Of course, when/if that were to happen Congress would probably just decide to make pennies out of something else again (i.e. since 1982 pennies have been made of mostly Zinc, not to mention the steel pennies from WWII). But still, pretty crazy, huh?

Some Penny-related tangents: Gothamist can't recommend enough 'Pennies from Heaven,' the miniseriesand the movie also, when we were little we loved the Penny cartoons on Pee Wee's Playhouse. And we keep our pennies in a mason jar, where do you keep yours?

'One Red Cent' by Triborough via Contrbute.