What to do with copper pennies?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by mattunion99, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. mattunion99

    mattunion99 Member

    Hey everyone:

    I learned recently about pre-1982 pennies having copper in them, and knew that copper prices were rising. I rolled a few dollars' worth of copper pennies and was wondering what to do with them. Should I list them on eBay, or would it be wise to try and sell to a dealer for the copper value? I know it's illegal to melt them down, and I wouldn't do that anyway, but I would like to know my options when it comes to unloading them.

    Thanks everyone!
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  3. Tater

    Tater Coin Collector

    I would write myself a good auction and take a good pick and sell them on ebay.
  4. bobbeth87

    bobbeth87 Coin Collector

    Your Ebay fees will make this a loosing proposition for just a few rolls. When you have $50 of them, you can then make a profit on Ebay.
  5. lkeigwin

    lkeigwin Well-Known Member

    Don't bother trying to sell them. They're not worth much. Sure, the copper content may be close to 3c each. But no one will pay you that for run-of-the-mill pre '82 pennies. They won't sell on ebay or if they do, you'll lose money after fees and shipping.

    Save them like millions of other people. Or spend them.

    Even if it became legal to melt them it wouldn't be financially feasible. Smelting costs and turning them into something usable/salable like copper wire would cost far too much. Copper bars are out of the question. Surely you don't want a $500 bar that weighs more than 100 lbs.

    I roll and stash them just because it feels right. Run of the mill wheaties I sell to my local B&M for 2c each, and that's a deal.
  6. mattunion99

    mattunion99 Member

    So even if I could list them on eBay for free, it would still be more trouble than it's worth? In that case, I'll stick them with my other loose change that I have rolled and will take them to the bank.

    Thanks for the help!
  7. bobbeth87

    bobbeth87 Coin Collector

    Actually, no. You can make money off of them. Go look at Ebay in the complete listings and you'll see. What I am saying is that you have to have a lot of them to make money because the margin is low. However, if the melting ban is lifted in the future, you will make more money.
  8. lkeigwin

    lkeigwin Well-Known Member

    I'm sure you can find closed auctions where someone made very small profits selling generic pre '82 copper. Look hard enough and you will see other sales that make you shake your head in wonder. Most such auctions, however, end without a sale because sellers protect themselves through shipping fees and opening bids. They also have to factor-in ebay and PayPal fees. It just isn't profitable.

    As for melting, look up the costs for smelting, refining, and spooling 50,000 pennies into 100 lbs of wire.
  9. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    I save all the copper cents I find when roll searching. Just do the math. A copper cent has about 3c copper melt value. If I am able to set aside $25 a week in savings, do I want to put it in the bank and get 1% interest, or do I want to store $25 worth of copper cents ? The cents are worth $25 face value any time I want to sell them to the bank. BUT, since I am saving anyway, I can hold them and have the potential for a tripling of my savings or more at some point. I rarely find more than $5-6 a week of copper cents, so my savings goal must be made up in currency.

    But the coins won't lose value, have a potential to increase at a much greater rate than cash or other clad coins, and I want to save a little money each week. Sounds perfect to me ? As to whether it is "worth it". Who knows ? It seems to be the best approach for me though.

  10. bobbeth87

    bobbeth87 Coin Collector

    lkeigwin: Apparently, you didn't really look into this, you just kind of spouted off. I didn't have to look hard. I went to ebay, clicked on complete listings, and entered 5000 copper pennies. That's 50 bucks as we all know. Here are the last 11 auctions.....ALL of them sold:

    I looked at a few and it looks like all charged 12 bucks shipping as that would be the rate for the flat rate box at the post office. So, as I said above, you can make a small profit now if you have a lot of them. Your post is misleading and not well researched.
  11. silentnviolent

    silentnviolent accumulator--selling--make an offer I can't refuse

  12. Texas John

    Texas John Collector of oddments

    Use them to replace fuses. Then when your house burns down, collect the insurance.
  13. DJS

    DJS New Member

  14. EyeEatWheaties

    EyeEatWheaties Cent Hoarder

    I was a little surprised at those numbers so I fired up terapeak.

    This is not conclusive and only is for eBay listings with the exact words in the title. I am sure there were far more than this search produced.

    Over the last 90 days - listings with these words in the title

    5000 Copper 1959

    Avg. Price:
    Avg. Shipping:

    Total Sales $19,807
    Total Listings 296
    Successful Listings 216
    Total Bids 1,388
    Items Offered 325
    Items Sold 242
    Bids per Listing 4.69
    Sell-Through 72.97%
    Sellers per Day 3

    It gets better!

    There were 47 BUY IT NOWS over last 90 days at an $87.12 avg price

    Highest Auction close $147 with 16 bids - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&_trksid=p4340.l2557&rt=nc&nma=true&item=150573013344&si=FbsozGp1d1YP0563A39EI9fCKoo%253D&viewitem=&category=166678#ht_500wt_950

    Wednesday is the best day to end an auction. $83.85 average.

    Best time period to end (this also includes Buy it Nows)

    6-7AM PST end time = $88.33 avg
    8-9AM PST end time = $89.24 avg
    8-9PM PST end time = $88.66 avg

    EDIT - If you decide to sell your copper as a result of this post please send 10% of your closing price via PayPal to me.

    Thanks! Your welcome! :)
  15. lkeigwin

    lkeigwin Well-Known Member

    Apologies if I appear to have spouted off. I meant no offense. I simply meant to say the profit isn't there for the costs involved. Selling 5,000 pennies for a few dollars profit after shipping and ebay and PayPal fees (and however much you value your time) doesn't sound sensible to me.

    I suppose if you have many tens of thousands of copper pennies and lots of time on your hand then maybe this is worthwhile. You're right. The OP was talking about several rolls and I thought my advice was appropriate. My wife says I've been wrong a lot lately.

  16. mattunion99

    mattunion99 Member

    Thanks for the help, everyone. I only have 8 or 10 dollars worth of copper pennies. I just read on the coins.about.com page that a dealer would pay 2 or 3 cents apiece for them, and figured they might be worth keeping. I didn't mean to cause a really big debate.

    Then again, I am a Baptist preacher and a history and government teacher. Hmm, politics, religion, money, wow-I picked good, safe areas to be around. No danger of argument at all...:)
  17. 10gary22

    10gary22 Junior Member

    Lance, I imagine there are thousands of people selling on eBay who like me are retired. I also think that many of them can use a few extra bucks to get by. Of course, there isn't enough money in these sales for most to be able to quit jobs to do it. But what I sell gives me something to do besides watch Judge Judy or web surf. If I can make a dollar or two, I can afford another coin. we aren't saying it's for everybody, just that it is profitable to do it. As I said, I am sorting the cents anyway. It doesn't take any extra effort so toss the copper ones in one bowl and the zinc in another. A lot of us have time for our hobbies that working people don't have the luxury of.

  18. lkeigwin

    lkeigwin Well-Known Member

    Well, Gary, that's a reasonable response. Nothing wrong with making a dollar or two from selling a few thousand pennies.

    If, like the OP, you have several rolls of pre '82 copper pennies I just don't see any benefit in trying try selling them...on ebay or elsewhere.
  19. bobbeth87

    bobbeth87 Coin Collector

    And Lance, if you looked at my posts from the beginning, what you just said is what I said from the beginning....that a few rolls would not be worth it and that if you had more, you could sell on ebay and make a small profit. That is what the numbers showed. When I do penny rolls, it is easy to sort the copper ones to the side.
  20. lincolnhoardr

    lincolnhoardr Coin Hoarder

    You can do what I do with them :D
  21. antics05

    antics05 Junior Member

    Lol I just started my 1st bucket, I'm suprized that the bottom one can handle the weight
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