"I wanted to share the message that anyone can do this, you just have to start somewhere. What matters isn't how much you make, but how much you save."
Martich -- a self-taught artist -- glued each penny onto a wooden frame that's nearly 10 feet tall and sorted through thousands of coins to choose ones that were blemish-free.
Eventually, she turned to a bank to get coins straight from the U.S. Mint.
"I needed very shiny pennies to create the highlights," she said. "I wanted to use the different natural shades of pennies to create the image."
After working more than 10 hours a day for three months, Martich entered the work -- titled "Helping Mom One Penny at a Time" -- into the ArtPrize contest in Grand Rapids, where it placed sixth and caught the eye of Edward Meyer, Ripley's vice president of exhibits and archives.
"Martich's giant penny was the very first piece I saw at ArtPrize 2010 out of over 1,600 entries," he said in a statement. "I saw it in the distance and drove right up to it with my jaw on the ground and spent the next half-hour just awestruck at the magnitude of the piece and the story of its creation. I knew instantly I wanted to add it to the Ripley collection."
Martich's sculpture will be displayed at one of Ripley's Odditoriums. ...
via It Took 84,000 Pennies, But Michigan Mom's Giant Coin Really Makes Cents.
$840 the hard way.