Virtually everyone in America has spare pennies accumulating someplace (unless you throw them in the trash regularly, like some folks claim to do.) Well, now we have something productive to do with all of those cast-off cents. An artist in Austin, Texas has developed a simple craft kit which provides an interesting way to make use of your spare pennies - by creating portraits of Abraham Lincoln from them!
The artist, Maury, who says his bread-and-butter job is working in the (what else?) penny stocks trade, has had a long love affair with the humble one cent coin. He still has his partially-filled Whitman folder from when he collected pennies as a kid, and to this day he checks every wheat penny he finds to see if it has the VDB reverse. He is especially fascinated with the 1943 steel cent, and gives one away as a gift with each Lincoln Penny Portrait poster kit he sells just because the coin is so cool. Maury created the Penny Portrait because he thought it would be a great project for parents and kids to enjoy together. The Lincoln portrait is comprised of 846 pennies, which you supply yourself. You place the pennies onto their respective spots on the poster according to the shade of the penny. To simplify the project so that practically anybody can create it, Maury has divided the penny shades into just four colors: shiny new, lightly used, well used, and old as dirt. The portrait kit includes easy instructions for sorting the pennies and making the poster, which is suitable for framing when finished. The cost (not including the pennies) is $19.95 plus about $3.30 shipping and handling. You can add a second kit for about half price.
I think this kit is very clever, and Maury's Web site is top-notch! I have already ordered my own Penny Portrait kit, so I can have my own portrait of Lincoln to help celebrate the new pennies we're getting next year (and do something productive with 846 of the pennies lying around here.) When I've built my poster (or given up in exasperation) I'll post a full review of this clever kit. I think it'll make a wonderful holiday gift for people who are difficult to buy gifts for, and certainly anybody who enjoys pennies or crafts will love this kit!