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  • free copper

    I found a penny on the sidewalk this morning, and picked it up. It could save me the bother of getting four pennies in change if I have to bust a nickel.

    I wondered if there is still a penny's worth of copper in the coin. Should I hoard some, melt them down into an ingot? Would such copper be suitable for making anything in the shop?
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    Pennies made after 1980 or there about are mostly aluminum.


    • #3
      A little info.

      1982 was the last year for copper pennies. And the first year for the zinc pennies. They made both types that year, and the only way to tell them apart is by weight -- the zinc pennies are lighter.

      100% copper pennies were last minted by the US in 1857. These were large cents, about the size of the "golden" dollar coins. The Flying Eagle and Indian Cents from 1856 to 1864 were 88% copper and 12% nickel. Beginning in 1864 Indian Cents, and later Lincoln Cents, were minted in 95% copper and 5% tin, technically this is bronze.


      • #4
        However, all Canadian pennies prior to 1997 are 98% copper. Zinc pennies were phased in through 2001 and all new pennies are copper plated zinc.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #5
          actually it's worth more for it's material than as a penny.

          Not too long ago I read that they'd passed a law making it illegal to scrap pennies.

          that being said, At a couple of the scrap yards around here I've seen pennies that look like they've been run through a roller and flattened out.



          • #6
            I suspect the Canadian Mint is making a... um.. mint on returned pennies. They are also talking about making the smallest unit of currency the nickel. I wonder how many kilotons of pennies are sitting in cans/jars/etc on peoples dressers/desks/fridges/etc?
            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


            • #7
              If it weren't for CoinStar my pennies wouldn't be worth anything.


              • #8
                Gotta be zinc, they melt easy with a magnifying glass.


                • #9
                  I'm sure there's not a lot of copper in a (US) penny anymore. I can recall reading about this when scrap copper prices exceeded about $1.56 per pound. It took fewer than 156 copper pennies to weigh a pound, making penny scrapping potentially profitable.

                  The curse of having precise measuring tools is being able to actually see how imperfect everything is.


                  • #10
                    Here you go a site for all your coin scrap value questions.
                    Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                    I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                    All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only


                    • #11
                      Wrong! Current pennies are copper clad Zinc. The previous lincoln cents were NOT bronze, they were approx 95 % Cu and 5% Zn. This is known as gilding metal. The exact percentages are supposedly secret,although with today's technology it could easily be determined in a variety of ways.