Save Those Copper Pennies
We have all heard, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” but did you know that it has never held more truth than it does today?
Right now there is a real opportunity to invest in your future just by keeping an eye on your pocket change for copper pennies.
While these coins are getting less common in pocket change every day they are still common enough to be found by anyone who keeps an eye out. If you see a US cent with a date earlier than 1982 you are looking at a coin that is worth more than double the face value in copper alone!
At the time of this writing copper is around $4.00 to $4.25 per pound. It takes around 155 pennies (depending upon the level of wear) to equal 1 pound of copper. This means that at $4.00 per pound 1 penny holds 2.5 cents of copper.
I am saving all the copper pennies that I find in my pocket change and I have no doubt that by the time my children are grown these will easily be worth more than a buck each.
Here is how it happened;
By 1982 copper was already too costly to use for a 1 cent coin. Production costs had to be reduced so the metal content of the coin was changed from 95% copper and 5% zinc to 97.5% zinc and only 2.5% copper (Relatively worthless).
Note: During 1982 both types of cents were minted. The 95% copper cent weighs 3.11 grams while the 2.5% copper cents weigh only 2.5 grams. If you scratch the zinc cent only slightly you will see the shiny zinc.
|Here is a chart that will make it clear how copper is performing.|
Remember, in 1982 the government realized that copper was much too valuable to be used to mint one cent coins. In fact the metal value of a 1981 penny is higher than any other normally circulated coin either then or now.
That was nearly 30 years ago and during that time a great many of the pre-1982 pennies have already been removed from circulation by both banks and collector/investors. However, if you keep a close watch on your pocket change you will occasionally find those copper cents which you can put up somewhere.
This is not a get rich quick scheme but imagine a time when copper is over $25.00 per pound and you have a big cache of copper cents worth 15 times face value or more. Now, that is a high return investment considering its humble beginnings.
Happy collecting and from now on you may have an irresistible urge to check that pocket change. Don’t waste those good copper pennies!
Copper/Zinc Cent Plating Errors are Valuable
Also keep an eye out for a bright shiny silvery colored penny. Since the U.S. cents from mid 1982 to date are copper plated zinc sometimes the copper plating is missing revealing the zinc core (at only 0.05 copper and 0.95 zinc the plating is very thin). The more plating that is missing the more the coin will be worth. For example a cent with about 10% of the copper plating missing is worth around $10 to $12, with about half the plating missing it goes up to about $20 to $25. If the cent is all zinc with no copper plating it is worth $100 or more! Check out this related article – Valuable Copper Pennies and Zinc Errors
The US Nickel
Another common coin to consider is the US Nickel. As of April 2010 a nickel contained $0.0626539 in metal.
As nickel prices rise we can expect to see changes made to the nickel coin similar to what we saw with the cent.
You really can’t go wrong saving up your Jefferson nickels and pre-1982 cents. And no doubt you will notice how few “real” copper cents you find in your change. But keep your eyes out and set those you find aside. Don’t consider spending them unless you really “hit on hard times”.
Written by D. Slone, Copyright 2010 CoinCollectorGuide.com