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Did you know?… The price for the metal in pennies and nickels currently beats the face-value of the coins themselves.
It fluctuates daily, but currently:
- The value of the metal in a 5-cent nickel is worth around 7 cents.
- The value of the metal in a 1-cent penny is worth about 2 cents.
Since the metal is now worth more than the coin, it is feared that people will begin melting down the coins in order to sell the metals.
Could this be the beginning of the end for the dear old penny?
A Little About Melting Coins…
- It is illegal to melt pennies and nickels. People who melt pennies or nickels to profit from the jump in metals prices could up to five years in prison and pay as much as $10,000 in fines.
- It is also illegal to export the coins for melting. Travelers may legally carry up to $5 in 1- and 5-cent coins out of the USA or ship $100 of the coins abroad “for legitimate coinage and numismatic purposes.
- It has always been illegal to alter coins with an intent to commit fraud. (But before these new regulations, it was not illegal to melt coins.)
- Prices for metals have skyrocketed: The price for zinc (which accounts for nearly all of the metal in the penny) has risen 134% this year. The price for copper is up 50% since the start of this year. (Nickels are 75% copper and 25% nickel.)
Winning the penny war is up to you. Don’t let Abraham Lincoln’s visage be melted and turned into some Mr. Pibb can. Honest Abe deserves better. –Yahoo Buzz
Silver & Metal Content Calculators
- Here is a Silver Coin Melt Value Calculator.
- The same site also helps you find the Base Metal Coin Metal Value of your coins.
- Here’s a Copper Coin Melt Calculator for pre-1982 U.S. pennies.
- Here’s a Nickel Melt Value Calculator for U.S. nickels.
- Use this U.S. Coin Melt Calculator to stay on top of the current spot price for metal in coins.
Is It Worth Saving Copper Pennies & Nickels?
There are many who go above and beyond to save all of their old copper pennies with the hopes of someday cashing them in for a huge profit.
With the exception of the 1943 steel cent, all Lincoln pennies made before 1982 are made from a bronze composition — this means the copper content in these coins is worth about 2 cents.
In other words, one could conceivably double their money by saving old copper pennies from circulation at face value and selling them to someone else for their copper value.
Some coin hoarders are also saving nickels with the same motives.
A U.S. nickel contains about 7 cents worth of metal in its copper-nickel blend. And while the incentive is not necessarily as great in saving a nickel (it’s worth less than half over its face value versus the copper penny, which is worth twice its face value), many hoarders believe there is good reason to hang on to nickels — because they are still worth more than face value from the commodities standpoint.
How many pennies and nickels would you need to save to realize a significant payoff?
Certainly tens of thousands of each or either. And that could mean many 5-gallon buckets filled with hundreds of pounds of coins!
Is it really worth the time looking for and saving pennies and nickels – let alone the space – to make maybe a few hundred bucks down the line?
As long as it’s illegal to melt coins in the United States (and it’s illegal to travel out of the country with large numbers of pennies or nickels), the only way you could make money from saving these old pennies and nickels is if they’re sold to someone else on a speculative basis – that is, with the intent of selling them to someone else who might be willing to wait on cashing in the coins for their metal content only under conditions in which it’s legal to melt them.
Or, you could simply keep on saving those old pennies and nickels and wait until it’s again legal to melt pennies and nickels in the U.S.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).