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What would I do with a lot of copper pennies?
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12 posts in this topic

Assuming that you have already searched them for any known varieties, roll them up and deposit them at your bank.   Each cent is worth about $.02 for the copper value, however, it is illegal to melt them and thus they are only worth face value.   

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On 6/3/2022 at 12:16 AM, Coinbuf said:

... it is illegal to melt them and thus they are only worth face value.   

Well, sort of:

"The prohibition contained in § 82.1 against the treatment of 5-cent coins and one-cent coins shall not apply to the treatment of these coins for educational, amusement, novelty, jewelry, and similar purposes as long as the volumes treated and the nature of the treatment makes it clear that such treatment is not intended as a means by which to profit solely from the value of the metal content of the coins."

I personally keep copper cents.  I have a Rydale machine than can sort copper from zinc at an amazing speed. 

Is this a good investment? No.  We have no idea how long it will be until the US demonetizes the cent.  There are many political/economic reasons for keeping it, but none are compelling to me.  However, whatever the true reasons, cents persist and I expect this to continue for the foreseeable future.  So, if you think about how many years XXX cents sit "under the bed" vs. the same time/money in a traditional investment that you can exercise - the investment vehicle becomes clear.

Note: Lincoln Cents are roughly 90% copper.  Not only does this mean that the copper "spot" price does not translate 100%, but also means that you have refining costs in your future.  Additionally, what happens when you finally take that bucket of cents to the scrapper?  Will they know that every cent is copper, or will you have some zinc mixed-in?  Are they going to read the dates of your cents before they scrap it?  No... so this also adds to the complexity.  If this is an investment strategy, you may starve.

Is it fun? Yes.  As I have gotten better at collecting, I have made some fun finds in this pile of coins.  Nothing has been super valuable, but it's fun.  Also, having so many coins has allowed me to fill albums with my kids and a few other collectors.  If you have the storage, and don't mind having $25 "frozen in time"...go for it.  2,500 cents is really nothing to store, but if you are speculator there is not much to gain (I am not a real speculator due to the reasons stated above).  My kids love sorting pennies, and they have a 5 gal bucket full... to my little ones, it's a treasure chest.  However I need to get them involved in coins and understanding numismatics - I am all in!

Have fun with it, and save them, spend them, roll them, or sell them to speculators in ziplock bags... Just enjoy whatever you are doing.  If it stops bringing you joy, stop doing it. 


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On 6/3/2022 at 11:43 AM, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

We have no idea how long it will be until the US demonetizes the cent.

I doubt they will ever demonetize it (half cents are still monetized)  But they will probably eventually drop the melting restriction.  Just like they did for the silve coins once the amount in circulation dropped to a miniscule level.


On 6/3/2022 at 4:35 PM, Coinbuf said:

I have always wondered how this looks after a few years of accidents.

That's why after they are all glued down they are then coated with a plastic resin.  They effectively become like those coins embedded in Lucite.


One thing you might be able to do with them is sell them on eBay to other copper hoarders.  I remember back when the horder of the copper cents started you used to be able to sell them for 2.5 to 3 cents each to other copper hoarders.

Edited by Conder101
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