Everyone's got a jar full of pennies and nickels
The coins you don't want to carry in your pocket
but they grow in quantity every time you go to the store. The rise
in metal prices makes certain coins worth more than face value.
Pennies minted in 1981 and prior are 95% copper
and 5% zinc. $1.60 in pennies weigh roughly 1 lb. Copper spot price
as of January 19, 2012 is $3.72 lb.
A nickel is 75% copper and 25% nickel and the metal
value is about 5.5 cents and more than the metal value of quarters.
Two nickels have more metal value than the current $1 coins like
the Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony and the Presidential Dollar.
|Obama administration this week
asked Congress for permission to change the mix of metal that
goes to make pennies and nickels, an expensive recipe that has
remained unchanged for more than 30 years. Mish
|Kyle Bass, the hedge fund guy acquired 20 million
nickels or $1 million worth in 2011.
A good reference site for current metal value of
coins is Coinflation.
The Treasury Department issued a prohibition in
2006 making melting of pennies and nickels illegal with penalties
of up to 5 years in prison, $10,000 fine and confiscation. A good
article on why the Treasury made this prohibition is here.
The thinking is that sooner or later US will stop
making pennies as Canada is already considering making melting pennies
Interesting discussions in coin forums here
on this topic.
|A good project for your kids is to go through
the pennies before taking them to the bank for exchange. Coins
and pennies especially are really dirty and hands should be
washed after handling them.
There are copper penny sorting machines available
for the serious hoarder that cost several hundred dollars. However
it should be possible to make one yourself for fun and profit at
a small fraction of that amount.
The main component is the coin comparator, the gizmo used in vending
and arcade machines to differentiate fake and real coins by sensing
their electro-magnetic signatures. It can be purchased used for
around $20 on ebay. Here are some videos of home made contraptions