Pre 1982 Copper Pennies Selling at Premium Prices

I have written and talked to people about the lowly copper penny for quite some time. US pennies minted before 1982 (and some struck during the first part of that year) are made of 95% copper. Later pennies contain only 2.5% copper. It takes approximately 115 pennies to make 1 pound of copper. If copper is at $1.15 per pound then a copper penny will be worth one cent. Currently copper is more than 3 times that amount. This means that 1 pre 1982 penny contains more than 3 cents worth of copper! Don’t underestimate this. You may be tempted to say ‘oh its only pennies…’ Copper Pennies In the middle of 1982 the composition of the penny was drastically changed. Previous cents were minted from 95% copper but were changed to 0.05% copper in the form of a micro-coating of copper...

Valuable Copper Pennies and Zinc Errors

In the middle of 1982 the composition of the penny was drastically changed. Previous cents were minted from 95% copper but were changed to 0.05% copper in the form of a micro-coating of copper over a zinc core. Copper had become too valuable to be used for something with so little buying power as the lowly penny. In fact, as of today, it would take a little over 2.5 cents worth of copper to produce a traditional 95% copper cent. Add in the administrative and other costs involved and it goes even higher. In order to affectively produce one cent coins without losing money a metal is needed that is as near to being worthless as possible while still being somewhat durable. Copper Pennies What? Our good old Lincoln Memorial pennies are made of near worthless zinc instead of copper? Yes, it is true...

Lincoln Wheat Cent

1909 – 1958 The Lincoln Wheat Cent was designed by Victor David Brenner, and is well known by several different names, but is probably most often referred to as the  Wheat Penny. In average circulated grades most Wheat Cents are valued at around $0.10 or less, but some high grade specimens can fetch in tens of thousands of dollars. For example, in 1914 less than 1.2 million cents were struck at the Denver Mint. As a result a 1914-D Lincoln Wheat Cent can sale for more than $25,000.00. Another “key” wheat penny to look for is the 1909-S which even in poor grades is worth hundreds of dollars. This is the one which has the initials of the designer, “V.D.B.”, on the lower right side of the reverse. Less than half a million of these were struck before the initials...

Flying Eagle Cent

1856 – 1858 The collecting of small cents is second in popularity only to the Morgan Dollar. The first small cent was the which was minted for a very short time from 1856 to 1858. A second restrike of the coin was made in 1860, but those are questionable among collectors. By 1851 it cost the mint $1.06 to produce one dollar’s face value, 100 coins, of the large cent. Large Cents of the time were composed of 100% pure copper and were a huge 27 to 29 mm in diameter. Although the first Flying Eagle Cent was minted in 1856 it wasn’t until 1857 that it was recognized officially as the replacement for the Large Cent. All the way up into 1857 both varieties were minted. Flying Eagle CentThe decision to begin striking small cents was made by Mint Director James R. Snowden. Snowden...

Indian Head Cent

1859 – 1909 The Indian Head Cent was designed by James Barton Longacre and minted from 1859 through 1909. They were produced at the Philadelphia Mint for the duration and by the San Francisco Mint in 1908 and 1909. The obverse of this coin features Lady Liberty wearing a feathered bonnet. Though this coin is commonly called the Indian Head Cent, or the Indian Head Penny, it is not a Native American that appears on the obverse. It has the words, “United States of America” along with the date around the rim and the word “Liberty” on the headband. Indian Head Cent Obverse(Lady Liberty in Headdress) The reverse side of this coin shows “ONE CENT” surrounded by a laurel wreath. In 1860 this design was modified with the laurel wreath becoming an oak wreath....