For 1 Member, A Penny Saved Is A Record Earned

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A long-time member of Integrity CU proved last week that a million pennies is not just $10,000-but a world record, too.

Seventy-nine-year-old Eugene Sukie set the new record when he cashed in more than one million pennies, according to Coinstar, the coin-changing company that converted and rolled the 3.5 tons of copper at the local Giant Eagle Supermarket.

And that's not the bottom line, because the septuagenarian credit union member already cashed in as many as 300,000 more of his world-record collection at Coinstar machines. "At one point he had $13,000, $14,000 worth," said Brandy Shaffer, president of Integrity CU, where much of Sukie's collection originated.

"For years he would come in here and get $50 a week from us, and roll them, and sort them by mint and by year," said Shaffer.

Sukie, who also obtained some of his pennies from a local bank, began collecting the copper in 1970, after he was able to pay for some of his daughter's wedding with $400 in pennies he had lying around the house. An avid collector of souvenir playing cards, wooden pencils and Matchbox cars, he said he decided to focus on a penny collection because he wanted to collect one million of something.

Pushed by his wife to cash-in his 34-year collection, Sukie turned to Coinstar because no other institution was able to handle such a large pile of coinage-held in 575 cigar boxes in Sukie's basement. "We tried working out something with Brinks to go to his home and get the pennies but they wouldn't do it," said Shaffer.

Sukie, a retired glass plant supervisor, and his wife have not decided yet how to spend their newly minted cash, although they are considering using it for a vacation.

Sukie's final tally of 1,048,013 pennies easily topped the previous record for penny collections, believed to be 792,141, according to Coinstar.

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