Copper Penny Question

Discussion in 'Bullion Investing' started by Adam34falcon, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Adam34falcon

    Adam34falcon Active Member

    I made another thread that talked about collecting copper pennies for the copper content and I was told that copper pennies aren't actually worth 2 cents because of the grade of copper? Can someone tell me more about that?
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  3. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball Cannot Re-Member

    Honestly, copper cents are actually worth less than one cent in copper value. That is because the cent is an alloy, and Grade A copper is pure. It costs money to extract the copper from the cent, and most reclamation centers only pay about 25% of the price of Grade A copper for them.

    Of course, you won't get a quote from any reclamation center if you ask what they are paying for copper cents because it is illegal to melt them. However, they will tell you what they pay for alloyed copper.

    FYI, there are about 142 cents per pound. At 25%, you do the math.

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  4. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    Copper pennies aren't copper and aren't pennies. They are actually Brass (95% copper and 5% zinc) and are Cents. Only Britain and her colonies struck pennies. The price of copper has come down considerably, and with the weight of metal you would have to accumulate, as well as finding someone that would melt them since there is a law in place making it illegal to melt U.S. cents and 5-cent pieces (nickels), it isn't really worth the effort. You'd do better picking up aluminum cans on the side of the highway.
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  5. I read a book called "The great silver melt." A story about the mob in NJ and NY in 1964 melting quarters and dimes down by the dump truck load. Smelting nickels or cents wasnt practical. And yes its defacing money and illegal.
  6. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    I'm getting almost 146 copper cents to the pound.
    453.592 (grams per pound) / 3.11 = 145.84951
    When copper hits $6 a pound, (never) and it's legal to melt them,
    that's a monster 4 cents per pound profit. Not including the cost of storage,
    the time and work in carrying them around, the gas expense driving them to the smelter.
  7. Phil Ham

    Phil Ham Hamster

    I don't know about everyone else, but I'm still saving all my copper pennies and don't tell me to call them cents.
  8. kaparthy

    kaparthy Well-Known Member

    It is not illegal to deface money unless it is done with intent to defraud. You cannot change ONE DIME to ONE DOLLAR and attempt to pass it off. However, you can put a halo or horns on FDR for your own amusement, and it is still a 10-cent dime.

  9. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball Cannot Re-Member

  10. kaparthy

    kaparthy Well-Known Member

    Until 1962 cents were 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. From 1962-1982, they were 95% copper and 5% zinc. 1982 was the year in which the alloy changed to a zinc core with a copper cover, with a net weight of 2.5 grams. Cents from before 1981 are 10 to the troy ounce, 3.11 grams each.
  11. kaparthy

    kaparthy Well-Known Member

    You need to re-work your arithmetic. At 146 cents to the pound, for coins that are 95% copper, the break point is $1.53 or $1.54 (in round numbers). The cost of refining also must be added in, but it is nowhere near $6 per lb. Even at $1/lb refining costs, it is closer to $3 all in all. Right now, refiners are paying ab out $1 per lb for scrap communications wire and $2.70 per lb for "bare bright copper."

    Copper is refined from ore several times. Copper refining is one of the leading sources of silver.
    Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 5.50.04 PM.png

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