Just in time to save his house from sheriff's sale, tax protester Steven Piotrowski said, he decided to cave in and pay his $831.60 property-tax bill.
With 83,160 pennies.
It turned out to be harder than he thought. After he visited 15 banks in three days, he did gather about 50,000 of the copper coins.
That was enough to pay $500 of the $831.60 levy, plus liens, on his 480-square-foot manufactured home in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County.
And although he had to compromise and throw in some nickels, dimes, and even - gasp - dollars to pay his bill Friday, he said he believes he made his point: Property taxes constitute "financial slavery," forcing him to pay for a public-school system he doesn't support.
"Since I'm being forced to pay for something against my own will, I'm paying in pennies," Piotrowski said in the parking lot of the Continental Bank on Egypt Road in West Norriton Township, as a six-person, sign-toting, flag-waving posse cheered him on. Every crevice of his SUV was crammed with pennies.
Bank employees weren't particularly happy to see him, but they accepted the payment. He was paying at the bank because the township would accept only a check or money order, not cash.
His mother Jane Taylor Toal of Exeter and his supporters lugged boxes out of his Chevrolet and began unrolling the coins into the hefty black wheelbarrow that Piotrowski had acquired at a Home Depot on Thursday night.
Piotrowski purchased the home on April 2, 2013, according to public records, and the county estimates it is worth about $30,000. Of his $552 annual property-tax bill, $469 goes to the Methacton School District.
He said he waited until the last day he could pay his tax bill before his home went up for sheriff's sale because he wanted to pay other bills. His hot-water heater had just broken down, and his house has not had electricity for two months, he said.
"I work paycheck to paycheck just to get my own slice of the American dream, and right now it seems more like a nightmare," Piotrowski said.