7 Reasons to NOT Buy Copper Pennies

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Scrap Copper Pennies 7 Reasons to NOT Buy Copper Pennies

Copper pennies: The safest bet in years… But what has everybody been missing?

For close to a decade now, the copper penny craze has been getting more and more exposure. ( The news that 1 penny is worth over 2 pennies seems to spread fast.) Even in 1982, when the penny was first switched over to zinc construction, investors were hedging their bets by buying dozens of boxes of copper cent pieces. 30 years and over 100% gains later, the rest of the world is catching on.

While the value of the US dollar drops, so too drops the value of the copper penny; at the same time, the value of copper and zinc is going up, up, up! This has lead to the metal value of pre-82 pennies – weighing in at 3.11 grams per copper penny (or 146 copper pennies per pound) – to be worth 2.2¢ each as of today.

But, when talking to a copper penny “hoarder,” I often realize: They have no idea how the second-hand commodities market works! In fact, some copper penny hoarders are so far detached from the scrap copper market that they think copper pennies should have a premium over scrap value! 

Just to be clear, I think collecting and saving copper pennies is a phenomenal investment, especially in a SHTF scenario. But you should never BUY copper pennies at a premium, and here is why:

  1. Copper Pennies Are NOT 100% Copper!

    In fact, copper pennies made during or before ’62 are 5% tin and zinc, and Copper pennies made after ’62 are  5% zinc! This was done to make the pennies a little more corrosion resistant, and a lot stronger.  It wasn’t until 1982 that pennies started getting minted with 97.5% zinc.  (Surprisingly, there are many people in the US that don’t know that the modern day penny is zinc. )

  2. Copper Pennies Are NOT Worth Copper Spot Price!

    Every time I discuss hoarding with a penny hoarder, they continuously push copper spot price in my face. What many don’t understand (not all, but many) is that copper pennies are worth nowhere near spot price! Copper spot price is what it costs to buy electrolytically refined pure copper, 25 tonnes at a time! There is not a single refinery in the world that will buy copper pennies for copper spot price. Not one. Buying/selling copper pennies at spot price (or even close to it) is like buying 18k gold at gold spot price. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
  3. Copper Pennies Are NOT Worth Copper Scrap Price!

    Even if the copper penny ban were lifted immediately, copper pennies wouldn’t be worth their weight in #1 copper scrap. Why? Well for starters:

    • Copper Pennies are 5% zinc! Small amounts of contamination – especially an amount like 5% – calls for a relatively large percentage downgrade for any type of copper scrap. It makes refining the metal more expensive, and that extra cost is going to come out of the seller’s pocket, not the buyer’s!

    • Copper Pennies are relatively thin! Scrap copper pennies are a hair under 1/16″ in thickness, which anybody who has sold light copper to a scrap yard knows is not worth as much as thicker walled copper!

    Copper Pennies are hard to buy! If a scrap yard is buying 500 pounds of copper pipes from a plumber, they can simply load them onto a scale and pay you. But if any Joe bring in 500 pounds of copper pennies, the pennies need to first be sifted through for foreign objects (small pieces of steel, balls of lead, etc) to assure that nobody is trying to cheat the scale. This is not too big of a deal… But then the yard would need to check if all the pennies are pre-82! The cheapest, most cost effective method for checking a bag of “supposedly copper” pennies, is to compare its volume to it’s weight. Unfortunately, this is not going to simply be the density of copper because a pile of copper pennies is full of air! Even stacks of rolled copper pennies will still have air (and paper contamination). Both of these hiccups in the buying process are going to make buying copper pennies more of a chore then a treat!

    What that means is, unless you are selling more the a few tons of copper pennies, expect to get ~70% of spot price. If you are selling more then that, then something closer to 85%-90% of spot price is in order. (Still worth saving, by any means!)

  4. Copper Pennies Could Get Hoarded By The US Mint (possibly)

    As I’ve already mentioned, the US mint is currently hiring consultants to find a new one cent piece alloy and 5 cent piece alloy. That means, they know how much their coins are worth. (Heck, they have for a few decades)

    Some coin hoarders are aware that in Canada their mint has been pulling and melting all high value metal coinage for about 6 years. This is part of what was dubbed the Alloy Recovery Program or ARP, and it has made their mint profit!

    What is stopping the US Mint from doing the same thing? They apparently had the unwritten power to ban the melting of pennies and nickels in December 2006. What is to stop them from starting their own ARP? What is stopping congress from passing some type of ARP tomorrow?

    There is an estimated 140 billion total US pennies in circulation. Of that, even if 10% are copper, very conservatively, we’re talking about 14 billion copper pennies, which “theoretically” (again, I hate to use spot prices) is $380 million as of today! If you wanted to be more liberal with your estimates, you may find there is over $1.5 billion worth of copper pennies in circulation. (This is not even counting 5-cent pieces!)

    Again, I’m not saying it will happen… but it could happen.

  5. Investing in Copper Pennies is NOT a “Risk-less” Investment

    The US is experiencing stagflation right now, and its dollar is losing value! The US unemployment rate has only dropped 1% since its peak at 10% in late 2009. Inflation is still over 3.5%. An investment in copper pennies, if the melt ban isn’t lifted, is going to be a net loss. A relatively small loss, but a loss none-the-less. (Many agree, however, that potential gains are worth paying a small percentage to inflation if things don’t work out )
  6. Buying Copper Pennies is NOT Equivalent to Buying Regular Copper Bullion

    Before you considering buying copper pennies, ask yourself: “Do I want to just buy un-regulated copper bullion?”

    Unfortunately, copper pennies are just that – government regulated copper bullion. The government is determining it’s value by imposing a melt ban. Do you really want the US government deciding the value of your copper bullion?

    In a penny hoarders’ fantasy, smelters will buy up copper pennies by the ton at spot price. Everybody in the metal industry – everybody – agrees that is not going to happen when the melt ban is lifted. (if the melt ban is lifted). Will they get bought up? YES! Will it be at the same price as any other type of copper scrap? YES! And for the last time, don’t get sucked into the silly idea that copper pennies are “worth their weight in spot-copper.” 

    Many investors (the ones who are well versed in buying and selling gold and silver bullion anyway) are calling copper pennies “copper bullion.” While, technically, pennies may fall under a very general definition of “bullion,” that same definition also makes copper pipes “copper bullion” as well. In fact, copper pipes are more fitting to get called “copper bullion” as they are not made of 5% zinc,and there isn’t a melt ban on them.

    The advantages of calling the copper pennies “bullion” is obvious: metal bullion is worth a premium in the eyes of an investor. (Unfortunately, copper water pipes, which can be picked up at any hardware store, are just as pure as any type of “copper bullion” on the market.)

    If you are sorting copper pennies, more power too you! I am as well! But, I have seen some people buy them for more then scrap price. Don’t be that person. Firstly, you shouldn’t be buying copper pennies from anyplace but the bank. Secondly, when you realize that you could have just bought scrap copper , you will feel like a fool.

  7. This is Not the First Melt Ban On Copper Pennies!
    Imagine, for a moment, that it is 1974. Nixon is still in office (3.5 months before the water gate scandal), and copper spot just hit $1.20 per pound! “How can that be?” everybody thought, “Soon that means it will cost more money to make a penny then it is worth!” The Treasury Head quickly released a ban on melting pennies, afraid that if prices rose above $1.50 per pound people would start melting them for quick profits.In the few years that followed, copper pennies were scrutinized by congress, and and plans for aluminum pennies were drafted up! (One rare example still exists!) Unfortunately, interest in making an aluminum penny was shot down by vending machine lobbyist.This small article from 1974 summarizes the feeling at the time.  The article clearly states, “The problem is further complicated by ‘hoarders’ and speculators buying up pennies on the assumption it will soon pay to melt them down and sell the copper” 40 years later, and it looks like they were spot on!

If you are collecting copper pennies, or just want to share your input, please comment on this post or add your voice to our scrap metal forum!

{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

bill September 7, 2012 at 2:43 am

How many copper pennies to a foot of copper pipe?

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ScrapMetalJunkie September 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm

It depends on the type of copper pipe, but I can tell you that it takes 146 copper pennies to make 1 pound of copper.

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David Sikora August 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm

146 pennies makes a pound of metal. Don’t forget the zinc. It takes about 153 pre-1982 lincoln cents to make a pound of copper.

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Little Scrapper September 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm

You don’t know what you’re talking about. Copper Pennies are a great investment! They are basically free money, and your scrap yard drug addicts can’t change that!

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BigPapa September 12, 2012 at 2:05 am

And you dont know how to read the article. The title is “7 reasons to not buy copper pennies” – say again BUY. The last two sentences before reason 1. are:

“Just to be clear, I think collecting and saving copper pennies is a phenomenal investment, especially in a SHTF scenario. But you should never BUY copper pennies at a premium, and here is why:”

This is sound advice – collect, sort, save all you want just dont pay to do so. Also, insulting everyone on this website by calling them “scrap yard drug addicts” shows you are an ass.

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Adam C. September 24, 2014 at 9:26 pm

you did not read what he said……he said don’t buy them above face value…….he did not say don’t collect them………If you can get them at a bank for face value then its a great investment……they will always be worth at least 1 cent……And when the ban is lifted they will be worth a bit more than 1 cent……Something like 1.50 cents selling it to a scrap yard buyer ( not 2 cents because they have to make money too)…. he also did not mention that scrap copper goes up and down…..it could go up to $5.00 a pound but i could also go down to $1.00 a pound

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Virginia September 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm

It should also be noted that it is completely, 100% illegal to scrap US currency. Any one selling copper pennies should understand the penalties if you are going to try and save your pennies for scrap.

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Grey March 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm

That was covered in the article. That is the main reason why it’s a risky investment. It’s likely that the fed will discontinue pennies at some point in the future, which will drop the ban on melting them down.

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Chief September 23, 2014 at 7:57 pm

WRONG
It is only illegal to melt cents and 5 cents. Melting silver or gold coins is fine. It is illegal to try to deface a coin in a way that alters it’s value.

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bill September 17, 2012 at 3:47 am

A good number of the 82′s are copper so check all 82′s!!!

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None October 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm

True, I put one on my scale and it came up as 3.1 grams. Pre-1982 pennies will also make a different sound when dropped on the ground compared to Post-1982 penny.

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Kirk September 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I collect pennies, but not for their scrap value, I just like old pennies. I’m currently collecting pennies from 1900 through 1982. I work at Walgreens, graveyard shift, so I usually have time to go through the pennies and look for ones of “value” (to me). The oldest I’ve found is 1917, in beautiful condition for a 95 year old coin. When I find one I want, I ask my manager for permission to trade out a penny from my wallet for the penny I want. They don’t care because to them, a penny is 1 cent, regardless of its year, but it’s good for me. I particularly liked a 1962 penny I found, and I was going to give it to my dad on his 50th birthday this year (he was born in ’62). I was going to encase it in casting resin and mount it in a frame with a map of the city he was born in and some facts about the year and his life. It never ended up happening because my brother, who was supposed to be helping me with it, never actually did help. It goes to show the value of something, regardless of its stated value. A penny might have a value of 1 cent as far as the mint is concerned, but it can have a lot more intrinsic/sentimental/whatever value apart from that.

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Poe March 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Kirk,
I also am a big collector of pennies . I have some that I have paid up to $2000.00 for ( 1955 Double Die, I always wanted since I was 10) but, I have some that I have found that are just as valuable to me.
With this said keep collecting because you like to and not just for the $$$$$ and you will always enjoy it. I have been collecting for over 40 years now and I am always learning about the different pennies and the history of them. From a penny collector Poe.

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Judy Resch December 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Appreciate the information. Very Educational & Interesting.
Yes, I enjoy collecting pennies in addition to scrapping:)
Christmas Blessings to all.
Judy

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Jon January 9, 2013 at 2:47 am

Calculate the time value of buying pre sorted copper pennies over hand sorting them. Then you can do an article titled always buy copper pennies, never hand sort them.

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ScrapMetalJunkie January 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm

If your heart is set on owning copper pennies, I suggest you buy/make a machine sorter and make the process automated, never hand sorting.

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GMa January 29, 2013 at 7:28 am

If you have say a hundred pounds of mixed pennies, is it best to just deposit them, or sell for scrap. There are no wheat pennies in the amount of lbs.

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Connor December 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm

No Wheats on 100 lbs of pennies? LOL! You may want to check again.

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Sam January 15, 2014 at 6:15 pm

I find on average 14 wheat pennies in a 25 dollar box.

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cr February 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm

While copper is a base metal and not a precoius metal, the same seven reasons could be applied to silver coins. Yet people pay over scrap or metal value for them. I dont see the differance.

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ScrapMetalJunkie February 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Copper’s value drops in a depression, or a SHTF scenario, where as silver’s value remains strong or even increases. Also, the premium being paid for .999 silver is very small relative to its overall value; for copper, the premium is almost 200% of spot value. Finally, it only takes a briefcase of silver to buy a dump truck full of copper, so the convenience and discretness is what makes silver a much more reasonable investment… You may or may not realize, but there is nothing special about “investment grade” copper, it’s everywhere. The copper pipes in your house are all .999 pure copper, and so is all the electrical wiring.

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Jonathan Singleton February 10, 2013 at 12:21 am

You can actually get the copper pennies for 40% UNDER spot at the moment. I do however agree Silver is easier to store and carry. Silver can also go down in an economic crash though as history has shown. The long term is good for anything measured in dollars though.

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ScrapMetalJunkie February 10, 2013 at 3:59 am

All good points; the biggest point of caution for copper pennies is that lesser informed people think that copper pennies are worth spot price, but they most certainly are not.

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John January 27, 2014 at 7:54 am

And in a SHTF scenario, bottled water, beef jerky and toilet paper would make better money than copper or silver.

HOYBOY February 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Pre-1967-1972 lincoln pennies are made from low grade non-.999 pure copper. There was no need to make a copper penny .999 pure. It did not need to conduct electrical current. Because elect. grade copper had to go an additional series of refinement steps to discharge impurities, coin grade copper did not have to go these additional steps- and therefore retain their impurities. These impurities include gold ,silver,platinum, paladium, rhodium, tellurium-to name a few. Yes, you have these impurities in your pre- 1967-1972 lincoln pennies in minute quanities – all waiting for some future metal science guy to find some way to do cheap extraction. It was just recently they found a way to remove tellurium from slag. Yes your pennies have trace tellurium.

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cr February 10, 2013 at 12:17 am

Coppers value would drop in a defaltionary depression but not a hyperinfaltionary depression. Silver is also a industrial metal and the price would drop in a delationary depression. While copper rounds premiums are almost 200% prices paid for copper pennies are considerbly less. I can remenber people making the same dump truck argument ten years ago when when comparing silver to gold.

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ScrapMetalJunkie February 10, 2013 at 2:52 am

Yes, but copper pennies are not made of pure copper. They would need to get refined to be worth anything close to spot value, (pipes, wire, etc), which most investor’s don’t understand.

You’d be better off buying scrap grade copper that has a known value, like Bright Copper; which is 99% copper (but is still worth less than spot price because it isn’t pure electrolytically refined copper, which is the definition of “Spot copper”)

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Scott August 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm

you spell “deflationary” incorrectly at least three times, making your comment difficult to read…

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cr February 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Yes I agree with your statement, but silver coins a re not 99.9% silver and still need refined also. Are you willing to make the the same starement thats its better to buy 99.99 silver rounds than 90% silver coins. Both silver and copper coins have a known value and are already bought and sold at coin shops and on ebay. as long as you nare not paying a hugh aoumt over the value of the coin I think the are both good stores of value. (Sikver having a better upside for supply and demannd reasons.)

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Craig April 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Gresham’s law still applies even in light of your, valid and insightful points. Fact is, the value does exceed the fiat value. You shouldn’t dedicate your life to scraping the system of copper pennies, but when you come across them, you should put them aside and let them accumulate.

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ScrapMetalJunkie April 7, 2013 at 9:37 pm

That is very well said! What are your thoughts on buying copper billion? For example .999 bars? What about buying scrap copper wire or scrap copper pipes for less than spot price?

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Dale Cooper April 25, 2013 at 6:45 am

Well, I can only say that there is one consideration that has bean completely overlooked…Numismatic value. Albeit rare, there are pennies worth over $100,000. The more you collect, the better your chances of aquisition. Sure, it takes time, but some have much more time than others. Consider this in the equation. Thanks and God bless.

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ScrapMetalJunkie April 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Great point! While I’ve always pulled the wheaties and such, I don’t think most of the collectors do. Although nothing says they can’t go back and sort them later… unless they melt them.

That being said, in a SHTF scenario, nuministic value means nothing. Although I’ve never cared to think much about SHTF scenarios.

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Dinesh April 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Which is better? Saving paper & electronic money at a bank which gives 0.01% interest in 2% yearly inflation for 10 years or buying silver at $25 per ounce and storing it for 10 years? Or buying copper at spot price +60-1,000% premiums and waiting 10 years?

I wouldn’t trust Fiat currency for saving money, and neither will I pay above spot for copper rounds. Copper is everywhere!

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Dominic May 18, 2013 at 6:53 am

I hand sort pennies myself and hoard up the copper as well…. But I am not really doing it for the copper value… rather I do it for the value of rare pennies such as double dies etc… Keeping the pre 82 pennies is just a bonus as far as I am concerned. But the value of the errors and such far far far outweighs ANY copper hoarding… I generally pull in an extra 20,000-35,000 dollars A year finding rare coins and varieties in circulation and selling them online or locally. I do search 5000-7500 pennies daily and it takes about 3-4 hours a day to do it. If they ever lifted the melt ban then I would certainly cash in the vast amount of copper pennies I have. But this article is right…. DO NOT BUY COPPER PENNIES…. Unless its from me lol

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Derek S. August 26, 2013 at 3:28 am

No one seems to factor in the value of the copper penny as collector value. I am saving copper pennies for my retirement in 30 years or so. These pennies are going to have some things going for them.

Copper value
Collector value
The run up in price due to good ol’ inflation (of the actual metal)

The whole idea of melt is not even relevent

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Hoy Hawkins August 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm

On an interesting side note–Pre 1982 copper pennies are loaded with impurities. Copper wire, and other “specialized” 99.9% pure coppers have virtually no impurities (because they have to conduct electricity or make an alloyed bearing run smoother). These elemental impurities include platinum, palladium, rhodium, moly, tellurium, etc. Just recently, mining researchers have found a way to refine tellurium from copper wire refining slag (slime). Extracting tellurium from pre- 1982 copper pennies, it would seem, would be much easier (and far less expensive) than slag extraction. Hoard on!

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Grey March 25, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Plus, high voltage cleans away most impurities anyway.

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vijaylakshmi August 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm

150 years old copper about 20kgs cost around how much??

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KC November 11, 2013 at 2:48 am

WTF………….
got some geniuses in here unfortunately

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brian November 19, 2013 at 4:04 am

Ok I have strated saveing copper pennys ive went to banks and bought box’s of them being a poor man I have changed my ways I now whenever i go out and buy something i ask to buy a roll of pennys i hand sort them reroll the zink once i get a box full i take them to the bank then go buy silver therefore im saveing copper and silver i just wish i started sooner and some times i get them free lol rember the poo man statement well i take pennys out the need a penny tray lol

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Pete December 16, 2013 at 3:18 am

All things considered, this whole scenario is a little over the top. Lets think about the logistics. If it takes 146 of these pennies to make a pound, that is roughly 292,000 pennies per ton, that’s $29,200.00, or at 50 pennies to a roll, that is 5840 rolls of coins. Many banks will not accept a constant exchange of pennies, most are now replacing the coins brought in with the newer coins, and there is no guarantee that you will not get the same ones back (I have tried), so this requires going to multiple banks. It is also a federal offense to melt coinage, so that is an issue. There are literally thousands of people chasing this idea, so you are not alone. There are people looking for investors to chase this idea. Don’t fall for it. There are better ideas. Real estate is coming back, stocks, bonds, etc. All of these are better ideas. Frankly, just about any idea is better than trying to collect and somehow “trade in” these pennies for cash. All you will end up with is a lot of pennies. I have already seen people falling for this Ponzi scheme, because that is all this is. Don’t fall for this.

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Milk_man January 23, 2014 at 3:32 am

Well ok there buddy lets go back to math class. One ton of copper pennies would be $2,920. Not $29,200! Here’s the math: $1.46 per pound x 2,000 pounds. I don’t know how you got $29,000 from $1.46×2,000

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Grey March 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm

He was not saying that the pennies had an intrinsic value of $1.46 per pound. He was saying that 146 pennies weigh a pound. So 292,000 pennies weigh a ton. His Math was not correct when he converted 292,000 pennies face value to $29,200.00. The face value of a ton of pennies is $2,920.00. Pennies are worth closer to 2 cents each, intrinsicly. So the intrinsic value of a ton of pennies would be closer to $5,840.00. Faults on both fronts.

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milk_man March 31, 2014 at 7:44 pm

I understand where you’re coming from, but he wasn’t talking about the value of the metal that the pennies are made out of. He was talking about how much money you would have to convert into pennies to make a ton. He was saying that if you had $29,200 worth of pennies that you would have one ton of copper.

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Connor April 1, 2014 at 12:03 am

No he wasn’t saying that. You’ll have to go back and read it.

Grey April 1, 2014 at 7:25 am

Yes, that’s what he was saying. You’re right. Your wording threw me off.

Jose79845 January 1, 2014 at 4:08 am

The only reason 95% copper pennies are being sold below melt is because people are clueless. 95% copper pennies are real money and should carry a premium above melt just like pre-1965 90% silver coins. Take note that Zombucks containing one ounce of copper are being sold for $1 or more. It only takes ten pennies to make one ounce and unlike Zombucks the purity is enforced by the U.S. Secret Service.

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Derek S January 2, 2014 at 6:14 am

Who is selling copper pennies below melt value? I buy copper pennies regularly and the price I generally pay is not really a walk in the park. I kind of wonder about the people who are even selling them a little above melt value. It seems all they care about is today. What about the future? I think all the signs are there and that’s why besides my 401k I invest in the copper penny (and the nickel of course)
Just look at what hapend to silver. 1964 and before people had all these silver coins in their pocket just spending them on bubble gum. It would have been easy to fill bottles of them even buckets. Now think about how much a single silver dime or quarter is worth right now in melt value. Wish you would have saved all those coins?

Now look around, this is January 1st 2014. What is going on? Copper pennies are disappearing from circulation. The bank rolls seem to be getting more diluted and soon it will be as hard finding a copper penny as a silver dime. Now look into the future 10 20 30 years from now. What is the price of copper not to mention the collector value of the copper pennies?

This is of course my perspective.

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David Sikora August 27, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Exactly right about the pre-1964 coins. My parents and myself as a kid put coins away in piggy banks etc. They heard about the transition to non-silver coinage and 18 years later to the zinc penny. So save we did. I occasionally hear someone say they used to pay around a quarter for a gallon of gas. I tell them you still can. If you have a silver quarter it buys you more than a gallon of gas. The problem with copper pennies is that presently it does take tonnage to extract any meaningful amount of money. Silver coinage currently has about 14 times face melt value. You can actually carry in about 50 lbs or so of these coins and receive a good practical amount of money.

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Derek October 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm

What I am getting at is let’s say copper someday is worth around what silver is now. People think copper is such a bother and you have to carry around tons and tons of it. So would you say the same thing if a copper penny traded at 15 times face value? Heck no you would go out of your way to find a place for them. I find it kind of funny that people pay money for a storage unit to store their junk that is probably only worth a few months rent in the first place but the burden of storing REAL money I.e. tons of copper pennies is somehow not worth the trouble? I have no problem storing my copper for the future and you don’t want to know how much of it I have. And I get rid of all the junk that’s not important to me. Just sayin’ thanks for commenting.

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HOYBOY January 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Everyone thinks on the short. I get a 25 dollar box each wk for the copper and any potential numismatic. The zincs go back into coinstar or the bank. Coinstar offers free grocery gift cards in my area. I basically get free copper and I eat out of the grocery store instead of restaurants. I am thinking only of the long. Someone told me there were 27 major copper mines in the world- 20 of them have reached bottom. Incentive enough for me.

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Derek S. January 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Call me a nutjob but I take it a step further and save the zinc pennies too. I don’t go out looking for them but I save them when I get them. In 30 years what will be the price of zinc? Think inflation and metal depletion. I diversify by saving zinc pennies copper pennies and nickels. I personally think our planets recoverable metal resources are going to hell in a handbasket and thats my reason for hoarding all three and looking at the full picture.

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Sam January 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm

I am penny sorter myself and there is no reason to buy copper pennies when you can find on average 8 in a roll of pennies! I love going thru pennies for 4 reasons.
1: errors on coins, such as the 1955 double die.
2: the copper of course.
3: I have found tons of dimes in penny rolls, which is a nice quick 9 cents:)
4: finding rare dates on pennies.
A quick story, I have found a MS 69 penney that was dated 1937!

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Connor January 14, 2014 at 1:20 am

1937 MS-69?! Now that’s a find.

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Grey March 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Sure that wasn’t 1987? That’s unheard of in a 2013 UC penny! Let alone a 1937 Circulated.

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Derek S. January 14, 2014 at 11:32 pm

After seeing the comments against buying copper pennies I think I should go on ebay and buy some more copper pennies! LoL

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john January 22, 2014 at 3:06 pm

canadas last penny roll went 4 over 6 and a half thousand, that was a deal, wait till America extinct its penny,this idot that wrote this,has been buying copper pipeing 4 everything,sounds like,image every pay day going to home depot and fill your house,i found a 1858 American flying eagle in a bank roll,try finding a 1982 zinc small date in a 25$ box of pennies,you make your money back in a box easy I always find a tube of wheats,3 rolls of 1982 all 7 and many errors,keep your pennies,worth it,a wall street a hole had nothing to do,except give his reasons

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john January 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

its called coin collecting,do your thing

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HOYBOY February 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Small town banks are where its at. In Montana 4 yrs ago the avg. copper penny per roll was 50%–now its about 28-30 %. In Phoenix the copper penny amt. per roll is about 18-22%. I stopped in Cody and Metetsee, Wy one year ago to find nearly 55-60%. I have surmised that the reasons for higher ratios in small towns is because there are less coin orders from the fed. Pennies tend to stay in circulation and the small town banks have fewer merchants. Small town banks always have a 25 dollar box or two to give out, whereas Phoenix banks have a much higher demand from merchants so the banks fill the void by ordering pennies from the fed. Small town banks order from the fed far less frequently.

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Ed Owens March 12, 2014 at 1:35 am

While all that is understood by some and while we are imagining the ways of our insane government and capitalists speculators why not go one step further.

Let’s say that some day in our lifetimes it is possible to take out pennies down to the scrap yard, after the ban has been lifted, lets say because like most things, Copper is running out. Like silver which is projected to currently be at only 25% above ground of all that has ever been mined. That means that 75% has been used up and not economical to recover. We have China with over a billion people, India with over a billion people, and places like Pakistan on their way up too.

Let’s say that the ban is lifted and a BIG MEDIA buzz has started like MEDIA BUZZ does and the scrap yards will pay just 70% on copper because copper is becoming scarce and let’s say it goes to $10.00 a pound. You have 1000 pounds of pennies hoarded away or about $1,460.00 in US Currency. At this theoretical price of 70% which is robbery but for the sake of argument lets say that is true. Spot would be $10,000 and Scrap Yard Robbery price would be $7,000.00. That’s nearly a 400% return on your investment that even if none of this every happens will still be worth $1,460.00.

Now go take $1,460.00 and put it in the bank at 2% and see how long it would take to quadruple it. I will save you the trouble. Rule of 72. Divide 72 by percent rate and that’s the number of years with compound interest it takes to double an initial investment. So every 36 years your investment will double and in the meantime your banker might just implode your bank and take your savings account with him because banks are private concerns and declare bankruptcy and you are SOL if they want you to be.

Bottom line. Copper Penny speculation is THE SAFEST next to Nickels before they change them because you will ALWAYS HAVE YOUR ORIGINAL INVESTMENT. Period.

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Derek March 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm

$10 a pound for copper is by all means very good but I am projecting that the price will go further. I feel safer investing in copper pennies and nickels than anything else maybe a few pounds of silver too. I have my growing coin hoard and my 401k I would roll over my whole 401k in copper coins if I could do so. I am so fearful about paper money. And I am afraid these big companies will misplace my 401k or go bankrupt and take my money. But I just can’t go to my local bank and say I want a million nickels and my Honda can not transport a million nickels lol.

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The Big M March 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm

silver coins don’t get SPOT either, but I bet you’d still sort one out of your pocket change if you found one.

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Derek March 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Of course. I found a 1962 quarter in good condition when the knockoff ding dong machine gave me change. I felt very good about that. That ding dong was well worth it.

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HOYBOY June 8, 2014 at 1:01 am

This you won’t believe – I worked last winter in Phoenix and continued my usual purchase of 25.00 dollar boxes of bank pennies. I was searching about 100.00 dollars per week. During my continued searches I noticed a very high ratio of wheat pennies still in circulation in the southern Arizona area. I actually found a lincoln 14-d and a lincoln 12-s. Why was the ratio high in Phoenix and Tucscon? The reason- stores throughout the U.S. are operated by retail clerks that easily recognize a wheat penny in the cash register till. And they pluck them from the till. In the American southwest, because of the Mexican immigration influx, these retail stores are clerked by people that have no knowledge of variations in the lincoln cent – and the wheat cent stays in circulation longer.

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Hereford Bull June 21, 2014 at 11:16 pm

The melt band is an issue But I want the option to do so if needed .legal or not IDGAF.I have a hard time obeying any law that controls what I do with my cash.The government nowadays will hammer you all they can.There all a bunch of out-rite criminals. Just look at the news.That Lerner pig has me pissed.she is just one of many. The list is endless.
1 1/2 copper slugs=1 .30cal bullet.The use for copper in everyday living is endless,more so then gold and silver.You can make anything you may need out of copper.In the SHTF days you will not need a gold ring to live. I would use my steel resv before my copper unless its cooking ware or water hold.
In any case I take great pride Stripping our Corrupt government out of there copper hold.Wish I felt different about our government, but there actions give me no reason to so.Copper is the working mans metal easy to find nowadays but that will change in a few yrs So Strip all you can! You have nothing to loose unless you pay to much for it.Last summer(2013) copper hit over 5.00 a pound for a few weeks.

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Hoy Hawkins June 22, 2014 at 7:18 pm

It is important to note that melting pre-1982 lincoln pennies destroys their proof- of- alloy ( that alloy is 95% copper and 5% zinc). You can take them to a dealer completely melted to a fine glob and he is going to give you a standard generic low bid offer ( if he doesn’t suspect you of melting currency). If he does suspect you of melting copper pennies, he may be obliged to call the authorities. All scrap dealers are perked to not buy illicit metals ( ie. railroad iron, utility aluminum etc). When you have pre-1982 lincolns, you are waiting, like the rest of us, for the mint to do away with the penny in general. Always refer to your lincoln copper penny as ” fractional copper bullion ” with a govt. mint alloy verification stamp (obverse and reverse). Maybe good to have when times get economically rough.

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Derek June 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm

I agree that melting them is near pointless. And I do not want them to do away with the penny ever. I love getting pennies in my change. If fact I nevet spend them and have not since 2007. I will gladly break dollars at the store just to get them.

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Robert June 27, 2014 at 11:00 pm

I get 25 dollars (2,500) pennies from the bank every month and sort all before 1981. Then from this pile of copper pennies I sort them to there year and mint mark. These are then rolled in penny rolls and boxed. I now have close to 200 dollars of sorted to each date and marked on the roll. One day years from now each roll will be worth between 3-20 dollars depending on date and mint mark. Just a few details where I live 25% of all unsorted pennies are 1981 or before. You get between 1-3 dimes mixed in and rarely I have gotten a indian head penny, a 1909 VDB, and many wheaties. Well it won’t make me rich but it is fun.

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Hoy Hawkins June 28, 2014 at 2:15 am

I do basically the same thing. For the past four years I was doing about 100.00 dollars of penny searching per week separating pre-1982 from the zincs. All of my pre-1982 pennies were stored in medium sized ammo containers unwrapped. Wrapping pennies is too time consuming , and its basically not my thing. I took my loupe and examined each pre-1982 for varieties, wheats, canadians, foreigns, and any other type that had potential numismatic value. As a result I have 4 books ( 25-50 pages each) of lincoln penny double dies, error types, delams, AU to ms- 64 1909 to 1964, strike thrus, etc. etc. I am currently negotiating with my local coin dealer to accept, as standard, 75 lbs of copper lincolns, enclosed in a #2 metal ammo box (with handle). These 75 lb ammo containers will have a .75 cent buy/sell spread. None are wrapped, as the coin dealer wants to “audit” each ammo container and unwrapping and rewrapping is just too time constraining. The .75 buy/sell spread means that if copper comex was 3.50 per lb , my coin dealer would give me 2.75 per lb for my 75 lb ammo container of pre-1982 lincoln pennies. By the same token , if you wanted to buy from my local coin dealer , it would cost you 3.50 per lb for a 75 lb ammo container of pre-1982 lincolns. It is very important to note that no one has any intention of melting any lincoln pennies. This is a very dumb thing to even consider. Its also very illegal. When you destroy a pre-1982 lincoln penny, you are also destroying proof that it is ,in fact , 95% copper and 5% zinc. Who would want to do that?

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Eric July 3, 2014 at 2:23 am

Hello All, I recently purchased 136 pounds of 1900 to 1982 pennies at a premium price. These pennies are sitting on the floor of my garage, out of sight, and out of mind. I am big on silver dollars and silver bullion. This penny purchase was just something to add to my collection. I plan on keeping these pennies for a very long time. Worst case, they will always be worth something if I need to cash them in at face value. Hopefully, in a few decades maybe, I will be glad that I purchased them when the US Treasury just quits making them all together. I am now planning on buy copper bullion at around $3.00 an ounce. It wasn’t that long ago when silver was below $10 an ounce. Silver reached $47 in 2011, I am expecting it to go much higher soon.

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Eric July 3, 2014 at 2:29 am

Oops… I meant copper at $3.00 a pound, not ounce.

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Derek July 6, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Way to go. I buy pennies at premium all the time. It is well worth it. These low prices will not last forever. I would even pay five dollars a pound for pennies if I had to. Its still pretty cheap. Just think what it will all be worth at retirement in 30 years. I hang on to my zinc pennies too. It is all very exciting. I can’t believe there are still people doubting the whole idea. How could they not expload in value?

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derick August 9, 2014 at 1:11 am

I am in the process of selling pennies if you are interested in buying you can contact me at firstcollegeemail@gmail.com

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Derick O August 9, 2014 at 1:06 am

I’m looking to start selling most if not all my copper pennies. How should I go about selling them and how much should I sell them for if I’m selling them in amounts of $100 worth or 10000 pennies at a time. Any information would be nice please email me at firstcollegeemail@gmail.com

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Adam C. September 24, 2014 at 9:38 pm

$100 sells on ebay for about $145 dollars and that includes shipping…….But you have to pay $17.45 to ship it ….Then you have to pay 10% final value fee to ebay and on $150 dollars that would be $14.50 in fees…….Then paypal would want their cut witch would be about $5.00 on $150…..So when its all said and done you would make about $7 dollars profit

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Dave H. September 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Hi all,

Don’t forget to calculate what economists call the opportunity cost of investing in (or even hoarding) copper pennies. “The opportunity cost of any action is simply the next best alternative to that action – or put more simply, ‘What you would have done if you didn’t make the choice that you did?’” What could you have done if you hadn’t been spending hours each week sorting throughout pennies (spending quality time with your family, enjoying the pleasures of your mistress, etc.)? What could you have done with the money you invested in pennies (gone on vacation, earned more money, put money into other investments, etc)?

Will money stored in pennies bring greater returns than stocks, real estate, silver, gold or others? What’s the risk-reward ratio? What’s its place in a diversified portfolio? These are some of the other questions to ask.

Dave

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Derek October 18, 2014 at 5:37 am

I think paper money and any other investment on paper will be worth nothing if the dollar collapses. Its looking quite self evident. I have been getting out of paper money and into nickel, silver, copper and zinc.

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Grumpy Old Man September 23, 2014 at 10:22 pm

No one seems to take the cost of melting copper down – I have not done the actual numbers on this but I remember when some friends and I working with bronze to make some castings. We were using propeller bronze which was a bitch to work so we decided to add some pennies to the bronze. We could not get the pennies to melt – we did get some interesting ‘sculptures with pennies’ pieces. Granted we were using a simple propane + fan forge. I just googled the melting point, seems to be about 1948 F and that is lower that the temp I use when working with glass. So maybe smelting wouldn’t be a significant cost. Interesting side note – when working with green glass, if you hit it with a reducing flame (no O2) you can rip all the O2 out of the color leaving pure copper swirls in the glass.

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Derek October 18, 2014 at 5:31 am

I don’t care about melting them or caring about the melt ban because I never intend to melt them. A melted lump of metal whose properties are unknown to anyone who sees it is worth less than the actual coins. Why would I do something like that. I am saving them for 30 years.

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Derek October 19, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Hey everyone. Zinc shortage and zinc is going up. Wish you saved your zinc pennies instead of giving them back to the bank only looking for copper? How much does zinc need to be worth for anyone to take the zinc penny seriously? I have always saved my zinc cents too. No need to scramble in the future when they are the next hot item. Mint wants to make them out of steel. They know what’s going on. Just sayin’ I think ahead.

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