A copper penny is worth more than other pennies — now mostly made of zinc — currently priced at $0.024. “The copper has such a different sound than zinc pennies do,” Henry said. “Real money has that definite sound of money and if you listen to a modern zinc penny, they don’t sound the same, they sound sort of tinny.”
Copper Pennies Are Worth More Than Face Value In general, all pennies made before 1982 have a composition of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc – with the exception that during some of those years, there was no tin in the alloy. Also, there was the steel 1943 Lincoln cent (and 1944 steel pennies, which were made in error).
After the war ended, the Mint began to produce copper pennies again. However, in 1943, the Mint produced a few copper pennies. One possible reason for this is because the copper plates were accidentally left in a few machines. While the 1943 steel pennies are worth a few bucks, the rare copper version is worth more.
So for the past 30 years, pennies have been made with an alloy comprised of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper, but pennies minted before 1982 are 95% copper and 5% zinc. The price of copper has more than quadrupled over the past 10 years. So a penny produced before 1982 is worth 2.2 cents based on the metal it contains.
If your Lincoln Memorial penny has a date before 1982, it is made of 95% copper. If the date is 1983 or later, it is made of 97.5% zinc and plated with a thin copper coating. For pennies dated 1982, when both copper and zinc cents were made, and best way to determine their composition is to weigh them.
You may be able to “ sell ” them to a bank at face value, but individual banks get to decide the terms under which they’ll accept them. Your best bet may be to offer them as “unsearched copper cents” to collectors, but for post 1958 coins I’m not sure there are a lot of buyers.
1. You want to focus on hoarding pre-1982 U.S. pennies, which contain 95% copper content, making the coin at least twice as valuable as its 1 cent face value. (Post-1982 pennies are not worth collecting, as they contain only 2.5% copper content — the rest is zinc.) 2.
You should keep all pre-1982 pennies. If you can distinguish between 1982 brass and zinc pennies, keep the brass ones. All wheat pennies are worth keeping. Keep all pennies (even recent ones) that appear to have something “off” about them — they may be error or die variety coins.
NO! Not only is it illegal to scrap copper pennies or any US currency but it can come with a costly fine and a visit to prison. Many times scrap yards are asked by people if they take pennies or other coins for scrap.
Nearly all circulating pennies at that time were struck in zinc–coated steel because copper and nickel were needed for the Allied war effort. Approximately 40 1943 copper –alloy cents are known to remain in existence.
1943 Bronze Lincoln “The most valuable Lincoln cent sold privately in 2010 for $1.7 million,” said Stone. In order to preserve copper for the war effort, the U.S. Mint switched to making pennies from zinc-coated steel planchets, instead of the usual bronze coin blanks, Stone explained.
Value of a 1943 Steel Penny They are worth about 10 to 13 cents each in circulated condition, and as much as 50 cents or more if uncirculated.
The most valuable 1982 penny is a transitional error caused by the move from 95% copper to 99.2% zinc composition. It’s the 1982 -D “small date” Lincoln Memorial cent made from copper. There wasn’t supposed to be any “small date” bronze Lincoln cents struck in Denver in 1982.
Newly found 1982 – D Small date copper cent. The Mint switched over from striking copper-alloy to copper-plated zinc planchets sometime in mid- 1982 as a cost saving measure – the copper-alloy planchets were too expensive to strike and the Mint was losing money. But it didn’t end there.
Depicted above is the 97.5% zinc composite 1982 D Small Date Lincoln Memorial Cent ( Penny ). USA Coin Book Estimated Value of 1982 – D Lincoln Memorial Penny (Zinc – Small Date Variety) is Worth $0.32 or more in Uncirculated (MS+) Mint Condition.