I recently returned from a week in the Florida Keys with my wife. One of our touring targets was to visit Hemingway House in Key West. Who knew there’d be a numismatic connection?
Back in the 1930s, when Ernest Hemingway built his Key West home, he designed an in-ground swimming pool. It was to be an engineering and architectural feat. A hole 24 feet wide, 60 feet long, and 5-10 feet deep had to be cut out of solid coral. While Hemingway was off covering the Spanish Civil War, his wife Pauline was left to supervise the project to completion. Upon his return in 1938, the pool was finished, at a cost of $20,000, a princely sum in those days.
Hemingway chided his wife over the exorbitant price tag, saying “Pauline, you’ve spent all but my last penny, so you might as well have that!” As he said it, he flung a penny down onto the as yet incomplete flagstone patio surrounding the pool. It turns out that Pauline had a sense of humor, or at least of resignation, because she had the penny embedded in cement next to a patio post at the north end of the pool. That penny is still there to this day – a 1934 Lincoln cent.
Thanks for the story and images. Former Asylum editor Tom Fort wrote in about this coin in 2003. That was before we had images in The E-Sylum, so it's a delight to include Ron's pictures.