On their tenth anniversary, Penny gave Sheldon a half-sized action figure. It was in its box, but it had obviously been opened and amateurishly repacked; its posture was entirely wrong, it was a little dusty, and the box itself was crumpled in one corner from impact with the floor.

It's original retail value had been $29.99, and it obviously wasn't worth that now. It wasn't a particularly valuable collectible. He was going to have to spend hours cleaning it; a full refurbishing wouldn't be out of the question. And, of course, it obligated him to give a gift of similar value in return.

He'd pointed out that, as it was their tenth anniversary, it was traditional to give gifts which were in some way made of tin or aluminum, and that the modern equivalent seemed to be diamonds. She'd laughed, and teased him that she had something he'd like better. At the time, he'd felt confident that the diamond pendant he'd bought for her would prove the superior gift, leaving her slightly in his debt gift-giving-wise, and allowing him the more desirable position to enter the next customary exchange of gifts.

He'd been wrong. The action figure was cheap, and damaged, and none of his friends would understand, because he'd never told them about the first collectible his Meemaw had ever bought him, which had been destroyed when he was in Germany by an overzealous and apelike customs agent. He hadn't even told his family it was gone until directly asked. But he'd told Penny - sometime, somehow, she'd found a way to ask - and she'd found it for him again.

Not the same one, obviously. He'd kept the broken pieces at the back of his collection, out of sentimentality. But as a replica, it beat out any tin soldier he could imagine.

It took him ten months to find a gift of equivalent value, and then he spoiled the surprise by being too excited. He comforted himself that it was made of steel.