Monday, December 5, 2011


I'm worth more than you think!

For the longest time, I've been a proponent of the complete eradication of the penny. Even the U.S. Mint has said the penny and the nickel actually cost more to make than they are worth. Then I hear there is a movement out there dedicated to the hoarding of pennies. Lots of them. But why? Well, necessity is the mother of invention. These people don't hoard just any old penny. They collect all Lincoln pennies minted before 1982. The reason has little to do with the coin and everything to do with the way in which it was made. Pre-1982 pennies were made from copper. In fact, they are about 95% copper. All pennies after 1982 are made of Zinc.

So why are people hoarding pennies? Why not just melt them down? There's the tricky part. It's illegal to destroy American currency. So, people have been hoarding the copper penny in anticipation of its extinction. At some point, the penny will be discontinued and it will become legal to melt them down for the copper.

Sound like too much work?  Okay, let's have a look at the numbers. A copper penny has a face value of one cent. Its copper value is two and a half times that. That may not sound like much, but when you start adding them up, the return is staggering.

1 cent = 2.5 cents 
$1 = $2.50 
$10 = $25.00 
$100 = $250.00 
$1,000 = $2,500.00 
$10,000 = $25,000.00 

If you told someone you could take 10 grand and turn it into 25 grand, they would think you were making meth in your garage.  It's a hundred and fifty percent return on your investment.   From a pure investment standpoint, a businessman could purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of pennies from banks, buy equipment to help separate out the old pennies and over a brief time his $500,000.00 in pre-1982 pennies would be worth 2.5 million dollars.


I don't know about you, but I would invest in a home smelting operation and melt those babies down.



  1. I'm trying to think of a way to discriminate between the post- and pre-1982 pennies. BTW, I love when someone provides a sound rational argument to an otherwise completely irrational behavior.

  2. Oh, Lisa was wondering where one would sell $25,000 in bulk copper. Freakin' accountants.

  3. Shawn, I think you appreciate my kooky nonsense better than anyone. There are businesses currently that people sell their scrap copper to. I'm sure they would make considerations. ;)