With the help of a powerful home-made magnet, a man in Nanjing, China, now spends his days collecting small change dropped in streets, rivers and drains, sometimes amassing enough to pay his daily living expenses.

After accidentally dropping one of his valuable farming tools into a nearby river, Aibao Cheng struck upon the idea of attaching a few magnets from a broken radio to a long pole and fishing around in the water. When he discovered that his quickly assembled device had picked up a small handful of coins after just a few minutes, he wondered what would happen with an even more powerful magnet…

Although Cheng’s device hadn’t helped him to locate his lost tool, he was so impressed by his own invention’s performance that he headed to out to the bright lights of Shanghai to buy a pair of more powerful magnets and then set to work building a larger, more durable “magnet rod” to fish around in the mud with.

Costing around 80 US dollars each, the magnets were far from cheap, but Cheng was keen to see what else he could discover sitting at the bottom of the shallow water. Sure enough, his mini investment paid off, and he soon found himself scooping up coins from all over town, lining his pockets with (hopefully cleaned) cash discovered in rivers, public toilets and swamps.

Now a full-time magnet man, Cheng says that he can pick up as many as 600 forgotten coins on a good day, making an average of 30,000 Chinese Yuan (US$4,800) a year. It just goes to show, those pennies really do add up!

Excuse us while we start rummaging down the side of the sofa…

Source: NariNari