On November 20, 1936, Anne and Roy Tygesen of Salt Lake City, Utah, welcomed a baby boy.
Mr. Tygesen had brought “a cigar box full of coin” to the hospital. Why?
“This is to pay for the hospital room,” he announced.
“Every time we paid a sales tax we put the change in this box.”
Hospital attaches counted 69 dimes, 320 nickels and 1,302 pennies.
Mr. and Mrs. Tygesen are searching for a name suggestive of Utah’s 2 per cent sales tax.
(Starting in 1933, the state of Utah had a 2% sales tax that required the usage of specially minted “sales tax tokens.”)
So what name did the Tygesens chose? Penny…sort of.
It was only a nickname. The baby’s official given names were Jasper Penroy — the middle name evidently a combination of Penny and Roy. (Two of Penny’s four siblings also had “Roy” in their names: RoyAnne and Roy, Jr.)
Jasper Penroy went on to have at least six children of his own, one of whom was a girl also called Penny.
- “Obituaries.” Daily Herald [Provo] 6 Aug. 1973: 4.
- “‘Sales Tax’ Baby Is Born in Utah.” St. Petersburg Times 21 Nov. 1936: 10.
- “‘Sales Tax’ Baby Named.” St. Joseph News-Press 22 Nov. 1936: 12A.
- Schindler, Hal. “A Token Effort.” Salt Lake Tribune 23 Oct. 1994: J1.
Image: Adapted from Wheat Penny by finn under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.