Saving pre-1982 Copper Pennies (Investing or staving an economic tumble)

Hi… today I would like to talk about the value about pennies. More importantly copper pennies. In my previous video & blog post I mentioned the importance of saving silver not only for the possibility of economic collapse but also because of its metallic value. I feel the same way about copper. Copper pennies.

Just as the federal government did away with silver in 1964 by minting its quarters and dimes out of copper… they also did away with the copper in pennies in 1982. zincThe effect may not have been as drastic as liquidating silver from currency but lets face it wealth is wealth. As I mentioned earlier coin roll hunting for silver is a great hobby. The downside is not yielding as much as you would like to. Its rare. Diversifying your precious metal portfolio is a great option.

So have no fear… and penny searching profits can be quite astonishing. Do NOT let the term penny scare you. The great thing is its a risk free investment as your not paying anything extra for a the penny. Once obtained you… at least presently triple your investment. They are worth almost three cents.

Copper is worth 3 dollars 62 cents per pound as of today. There is a nifty website called and on the site they have several base metal coin melt calculators. What the calculators do is determine the melt value of a preset number of coins you may have. I assume they pull their values right from a stock market ticker.

For example lets say I enter in 1,000 dollars (an easily obtained amount) of pre1982 pennies into the calculator. As you see it breaks down how many pounds of copper and how many pounds of zinc are in my bundle of pennies. The calculator then takes the current melt value of the 2 metals and combines them for an overall melting price of which happens to be 2394 dollars and 13 cents as of this post. That’s absolutely correct 1,000 dollars in pre-1982 pennies would yield you a profit… yes profit… of over 1,300 dollars for their metallic value alone.

But the value of copper while great is not why I search for them now. I strongly believe if we ever see a post economic collapse or fallout that copper as well as silver would be traded in place of a fiat… or paper currency.

Once again I would like to think the government saw the value of copper in June of 1982 when they decided to strip the copper out of the penny and replace it with Zinc. Just like the generation of the 60s was robbed of its silver coins our generation was also robbed of real wealth.

The same thing right now is currently happening with the nickel but that is something I will talk about in my next installment.

As I mentioned.. this is a safe way to save money. Inflation is a monster because our dollar devalues immensely. When the purchasing power of the dollar goes down everything we own loses value along with it. Everything we buy cost more. Well when this happens silver gold and copper rise.You know they are pretty high right now… and in the event of an economic collapse its value would be much higher.

And even if the event of mass deflation and a booming economy… the face value is still a cent. So you see you will never lose anything on your investment. I can not think of any other investment that has this much of a guarantee. Its very safe, stable and secure. You have nothing to lose outside of storage space.

There are a few other upsides as well. Its tough for robbers to make off in a lot of copper if god forbid, you are ever a victim of a home invasion or burglary. If the would-be thief can carry out a 60 pounds in copper good for him… and good for you too. Because it probably wasn’t worth it for him.

Now your insurance will not cover the theft and or destruction of any currency. While your paper currency and everything in your house would burn in fire, your copper even if it melts… is very safe. Even if it melts down… the value is still there. Better still you just beat the melt ban. Go sell it!

Yes, there is a melt ban. Keep in mind as of right now it is actually illegal to destroy, tamper or melt down any American currency. But with talks of America completely eliminating the penny and even the nickel it’s not unwise to think they would eventually lift the melt ban as well.

Maybe this sounds like a pain in the butt. It’s not that bad. We need to be a member in good standing with our local bank however because we have to buy pennies in bulk to reasonably enter this hobby. Usually a box, which consist of 25 dollars in pennies… or 50 rolls of change.

We Buy a box and we go through them. Its very simple. For now we need to figure out what pennies are worth keeping and which ones are useless. Or as I like to call them… Zincolns. That’s Zinc Lincoln pennies. Get it?

For starters here are some pennies to look out for:

All pennies 1908 to 1958 are wheat pennies.wheat

These pennies are obviously worth their weight in copper but I set them aside for their collectors value. They are worth around 5 cents even in poor condition. When in good condition (not even including special years) they can be worth at least double digest to collectors, yielding 10 dollars or more.

Any penny prior to 1908 is an Indian head penny… definitely set these aside. They are distinct because they have an Indian on the head of the penny. These can be real treasures at times. I would bring them to a coin dealer or at the very least post a picture of it online and look for a professional response to it.Indian-Cents

Anything newer than 1981 is 95 percent zinc with a copper jacket as I mentioned. There is a slight exception. The year 1982. That was the year they transitioned the coins metal from copper to Zinc. So roughly half of its pennies that year were copper… the other half zinc. So how do we tell the 1982 pennies apart? Well I wouldn’t bother. I would just treat them all as Zinc and throw them back into circulation. Why? The only way to tell them apart is by getting a scale, or so one would think.

Copper pennies weigh 3.11 grams, whereas the zinc pennies weigh only 2.5 grams. You would want to use a scale that is accurate enough to detect by a tenth of a gram or better. If it only weighs in 1 gm increments its just going to round up, giving the wrong information. I don’t want to go through this process. I would rather automate it. And I will get to that shortly.

You can also drop test if you don’t have a scale at hand. Copper pennies are higher pitched where Zinc pennies have more of a dull flat clunk. This also sounds like a waste of time. I just don’t want to go through this process. In fact I don’t even want to dig though the pennies manually. It takes a long time. If you are a young kid or retired then this may be a great hobby for you, or a way to spend some time. My time however is far too valuable and I never have enough of it to go around.

There are coin sorters out there that can detect this for you and automate the process. Streamlining your investment. I would never break into this hobby with out one. I have used several. Lets go take a look at one of them.

Click here for my video Review of the Ryedale coin sorter and here for my written review.

Great so we have obtained our share of copper but we have possibly hundreds of dollars of change laying around. What to do?

You have 2 options.

First you can roll it up manually and return it to the bank. If you’re doing this I do not recommend returning it to the bank or even branch you picked it up from. Not only will you piss the tellers off but next time you pick up change you may face getting the same dump you dropped off. Your other option is dumping them into a coin machine. Most coin machines strip 10 percent of your dump and turn this hobby into a money pit so I would avoid those machines. Luckily some banks offer coin machine services at no cost for its members. I recommend dumping it to those machines but once again avoid dumping into a bank you pick up at or you may see your recycle.

So there it is… some basic knowledge and tips on penny sorting. It may aid you in a potential economic collapse or just act as a safe investment for right now. If interested my next video will be on the idea of saving present day nickels.That’s all for now. If interested, learn about the value of stacking Nickels as well.

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