Copper pennies

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Anyone here collect copper pennies.  I collected them when I was young but I have no idea what to do with them.  I don't really just want to cash them in at a bank for face value since there worth more.  But I also don't want to figure out how to smelt them myself...  Are they worth keeping for the copper content?

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It is a very small amount of possible gain if ever the penny is discontinued and it becomes legal to melt. I think you'd... (more)

Jabberwockt (Aug. 22, 2016 @ 2:33p) |

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It's not worth it! People who buy the sorting machines are betting on building a longtime ... (more)

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http://www.coinflation.com/coins/1909-1982-Lincoln-Cent-Penny-Va...

The metal value is worth about 1.4 cents.

No I don't think its worth keeping them to melt for the metal.

So i should just take them to a bank?

Look through them for some nice ones. Might have a few worth some dollars. Depending on date, mint, etc.

Coin shops will give you double face right now, so better than spot.

Could you give us a general idea, how many pennies are you talking about?

UncaMikey said:   Could you give us a general idea, how many pennies are you talking about?
  not that many since $1000 in copper pennies would be 300kg

I've got a few gallons of these..why bother cashing..throw them in the garage treat them as a lotto ticket

tanner12oz said:   I've got a few gallons of these..why bother cashing..throw them in the garage treat them as a lotto ticket
  one gallon of pennies is $77 

Yeah I dont have that many. Not going to get rich off them. I was just curios whats the best way to handle them.

i thought it was illegal to smelt coins.

The time it takes to sort through pennies to earn 0.4 cents per penny you find isn't a good use of your time. Get a job and you'll do better.

I remember a guy in the break room at work would sort through the coffee change jar for pennies. I joked about it and he said yeah but it's 40% return (think it was higher back then). Don't confuse % return with absolute return. You are still only earning 0.4 cents per penny found.

Illegal?

You have my permission to melt down all the pennies you want. If the penny police try to arrest you, tell em I said it was okay.

Also, you have my permission to take the tags off of two of your mattresses - but only two tags.

Are they wheat back pennies (1909 to 1958)? If so a local dealer may give you double your money or more if you have some good ones. You may be able to sell them on eBay if you want to hassle with it. Here is a guide to average value but rare coins can be worth much more...
http://www.coinstudy.com/selling-wheat-pennies.html

Are they wheat back pennies (1909 to 1958)? If so a local dealer may give you double your money or more if you have some good ones. You may be able to sell them on eBay if you want to hassle with it. Here is a guide to average value but rare coins can be worth much more...
http://www.coinstudy.com/selling-wheat-pennies.html

I decided that the opportunity cost of keeping them wasn't worth it if I'm getting 8% in my bank account. So I brought them into Wendy's, I think, but it may have been McDonalds, which was offering a free meal (plus the $10) for each $10 in pennies you bring in. I think they may have stopped offering this around a third of a century ago, though.

discoballmusic said:   i thought it was illegal to smelt coins.
  How come you can't smelt them, but you can squish them into souvenirs in those machines at some attractions and tourist sites?

cows123 said:   
discoballmusic said:   i thought it was illegal to smelt coins.
  How come you can't smelt them, but you can squish them into souvenirs in those machines at some attractions and tourist sites?

  First off, how would anyone know the chunk of copper you're selling came from a gallon of coins or from scrap pipe? Second, how would anyone do this at home? It's not like you can put them in the oven to melt.

walletfart said:   The time it takes to sort through pennies to earn 0.4 cents per penny you find isn't a good use of your time. Get a job and you'll do better.

I remember a guy in the break room at work would sort through the coffee change jar for pennies. I joked about it and he said yeah but it's 40% return (think it was higher back then). Don't confuse % return with absolute return. You are still only  earning 0.4 cents per penny found.

  
There are sorters out there for this purpose.
 

discoballmusic said:   i thought it was illegal to smelt coins.
  
Why is it illegal to smelt coins?  Last time I checked they smelt pretty good as long as they were washed first.

thegazelle said:   
walletfart said:   The time it takes to sort through pennies to earn 0.4 cents per penny you find isn't a good use of your time. Get a job and you'll do better.

I remember a guy in the break room at work would sort through the coffee change jar for pennies. I joked about it and he said yeah but it's 40% return (think it was higher back then). Don't confuse % return with absolute return. You are still only  earning 0.4 cents per penny found.

  
There are sorters out there for this purpose.

  But then you blow your profit margin on buying a sorting machine. If only there was a way to get into the post office on a Sunday and use their machines? Newman you listening?

melting point of copper is under 2000F. I've melted aluminium with charcoal under a steel pot and aluminum melting point is around 2200F.

atikovi said:   cows123 said:   
discoballmusic said:   i thought it was illegal to smelt coins.
  How come you can't smelt them, but you can squish them into souvenirs in those machines at some attractions and tourist sites?

  First off, how would anyone know the chunk of copper you're selling came from a gallon of coins or from scrap pipe? Second, how would anyone do this at home? It's not like you can put them in the oven to melt.

OK, in no particular order:

Yes, the underlying content of pre-1982 copper cents is worth more than 1˘ per coin, but a copper penny is very dirty compared to most scrap like copper water piping or copper electrical wire. The copper cent is about 95% copper and not even similar in content to any desired brass.

This means that the copper cents have to actually be refined to extract the copper, not just melted down. The closest scrap grade out there is Dirty #2 which is hovering just under $1 per pound. There are about 146 copper cents in a pound. Not exactly profitable right now.

That said, even the cheaper zincolns cost more than 1˘ to make (also the Jefferson nickel costs more than 5˘ to make too).

Ages ago, congress gave the Secretary of the Treasury powers to enact 'rules' to protect the country's money supply. Violation of these rules comes with a fine/prison penalty. Congress does not have to approve the rules and the secretary can change them as he feels necessary. The current rule became effective in 2007 near the peak of scrap metal prices when it probably would have been profitable to refine copper cents (and I believe there was at least one company in Ohio doing so).

The current standing rule is that you cannot melt cents or nickels, nor can you export more than $5 worth of cents/nickels. Technically, you can be arrested at the border if you are leaving the country with more than $5 in cents/nickels. There is an exception for numismatic purposes, but that would be a tough sell at the Mexican border with a 5 gallon bucket in the trunk.

As for the day when it is 'profitable' to refine copper cents, copper cents and zincolns have a different electromagnetic signature. A comparator can separate them with greater than 99.9% accuracy (5 zincolns in a $50 bag will have a negligible impact on the refining effort). Coin validators would be slower, but have an even greater accuracy in sorting the coins. A casino grade coin comparator can automatically sort $50 in about 10 minutes.

As a coin collector, I think it's time to retire the cent, nickel, and the dime. When the half-cent was retired in the mid-1800's, it was worth over 10˘ in today's dollars, and they didn't have credit cards back then. The numismatic argument doesn't hold water as the mint can continue to make whatever coins they want and sell them at whatever profitable price point they want. Collectors will continue to order them by the millions. For example, the mint produced 4.6 million half dollar coins last year, but they haven't issued the half dollar for circulation since 2001.

so, TLDR,
Feel free to save your copper cents, but watch the Copper #2 scrap price for a rough indication of what they could be worth (146 coins per pound).

Why not just keep them as sentimental value? You know most people don't collect things just to get rich.

I hate pennies and everything about them.

I've walked around with the same five zinc pennies and two quarters in my 5th pocket everywhere I've gone for the past 19 years. Actually I've had the quarters for 22 years, and I added the pennies to the collection one by one later on. Those pennies are dark and smooth now. I can barely read the years on them anymore. The quarters have held up much better. OCD?

You can use it to pay for traffic ticket, lol.

DTASFAB said:   I've walked around with the same five zinc pennies and two quarters in my 5th pocket everywhere I've gone for the past 19 years. Actually I've had the quarters for 22 years, and I added the pennies to the collection one by one later on. Those pennies are dark and smooth now. I can barely read the years on them anymore. The quarters have held up much better. OCD?
  That just doesn't make cents
 

OP probably has 84 cents in loose change that we're all discussing.

cougarman said:   Anyone here collect copper pennies.  I collected them when I was young but I have no idea what to do with them.  I don't really just want to cash them in at a bank for face value since there worth more.  But I also don't want to figure out how to smelt them myself...  Are they worth keeping for the copper content?
  
Let me know if you have a 1909 VDB penny. I can give you up to 1000% of face value!
 

would have been good to cash them in back in 2010 when copper was well over $3/lb.

It is a very small amount of possible gain if ever the penny is discontinued and it becomes legal to melt. I think you'd be instantly better off collecting soda cans.

It this thread still going on?

It's not worth it! People who buy the sorting machines are betting on building a longtime hoard for 'when the gubernment allows melting'. These people have a garage of oil drums full and have to worry about weight distribution on their cement floors. DONT BE THAT GUY.

You can make a slim margin selling bulk on eBay with a Priority mailer I believe, but again, NOT WORTH IT.

EX: On a $50 face bag, you might clear $3 in profit via eBay based on some sold auctions.

DTASFAB said:   I've walked around with the same five zinc pennies and two quarters in my 5th pocket everywhere I've gone for the past 19 years. Actually I've had the quarters for 22 years, and I added the pennies to the collection one by one later on. Those pennies are dark and smooth now. I can barely read the years on them anymore. The quarters have held up much better. OCD?
 
BAZINGA



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