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February 1, 1980

How to Turn Pennies Into Dollars

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Center Downstate Medical Center State University of New York Brooklyn

JAMA. 1980;243(5):431-432. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300310019009

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To the Editor.—  Tossing specie of base or precious metal into fountains such as the Trevi is a practice of ancient vintage, usually performed in a state of gay abandon by some romantics or for mystical reasons by others. We report the case of a patient, who was impelled neither by romance nor by any impulse, other than the most practical reasons, to place copper pennies in a jar used to measure his 24-hour urine copper output. He apparently hoped the pennies would gain him greater pension benefits.We report this incident because of the need to repeat an old story in new garb. We all are tempted at times to engage in deception. Sometimes the deception is subtle and imaginative; at other times, it is pedestrian and amateurish. We leave it to the reader to decide which kind this story illustrates.

Report of a Case.—  A 32-year-old man was