Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Mighty Penny

One of the last acts of the Roman Empire, not unlike those acts of the current United States, was to remove valuable metals from coinage. First we saw gold coins disappear. In 1965, we saw silver disappear. In 1983, we saw copper disappear. We now make coins out of essentially worthless zinc and reclaimed Buick parts.

The last two coins of value, where the melt price exceeds their face value, is the nickel and the penny. In 2006, Congress passed a law preventing you from melting your own money. So as JP Morgan has essentially cornered the copper market (which is not illegal) and the price is ramping up, your pre-1982  pennies are now worth nearly three times their face value. It presents an interesting argument. What is worth more? A dollar that has lost 97% of it's value, or a penny that has tripled in price? Note the value of ten dollars worth of old pennies in the box below...

Base Metal Coin Melt Value Calculation
Generated on December 22, 2010.

Values Used:
Total Face Value:$10.00
Coin Type:1909-1982 Lincoln Copper Cent
Copper Price:   $4.2541 / pound

Zinc Price:   $1.0495 / pound


Total melt value is $28.07.

(exact value is $28.0691134406)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool! Now a penny for your thoughts is too much.

Cheers and Merry Christmas to you and yours.