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7 min 5 sec

Penny Portraits of Abe Lincoln Turn Into $40,000

An investment marketer creates a poster portrait of America’s 16th president. Since debuting his design, it’s sold more than 4,000 units and made $40,000.
Arts & Crafts Creative Product Reselling

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What It's About

An investment broker turns pennies into more than $40,000.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Creativity & Artistic
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions regarding whether or not you should take the extra step in the beginning and copyright your material. The answer depends on a lot of different things, so it's not really the same across the board. Normally, I would say that wondering about your copyright when you’re trying to decide on early ideas isn’t the right approach, but for something that is truly unique, owning the copyright can be incredibly helpful.

Maury McCoy created the design for Penny Portraits after reading a story about how a father and son in Florida created a portrait of Abe Lincoln that spanned an entire wall. It was a really interesting idea, but he thought he could improve on the execution. After spending around 15 minutes creating a design in Photoshop, he had his first draft and started looking into the best way to produce and sell these quirky kits. Since he had created the design, he decided to copyright it as well.

When I asked about it, he mentioned that one of the advantages of his product is that it is something he created himself, and since he owns the copyright, he can decide how it's distributed and not really need to worry about competitors undercutting his prices.

Fun Fact

If you’re listening from outside the U.S., you may be asking yourself "why does the US still have pennies?" Many of us here ask the same thing. There has never been a coin in circulation in the U.S. worth as little as the penny is worth today. It's economically inefficient to produce them, yet for some reason they still exist.

In 2007, the price of the raw materials from which it was made exceeded the face value, so there was a risk that coins would be illegally melted down for raw materials. And as of 2015, it costs about 1.4 cents to mint a penny.

Pennies often end up sitting in jars or are discarded by consumers efficiently pulling them out of circulation and the Mint must produce more of them than all other coins combined. All of this supports the idea that we really should catch up with the rest of the world and leave the pennies to legacy projects like Penny Portraits.

Resources

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Quote of the Day
"As much as I love passion projects, you really need to make sure there is a way to turn a profit for the effort you put in. Fortunately, this project has been both enjoyable and financially rewarding!"
—Maury McCoy #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau