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Copper Makes Pennies More Valuable

You probably have handfuls of loose change stuffed somewhere around the house. You could take that money to the bank and trade it in for the few dollars its worth. But, it might be worth more than the bank will give you.

Start searching your pockets and make sure to check under the couch cushions, because some of that spare change could be worth a lot more than you think.

Brian Moon, Siouxland Coin and Jewelry, says "Dimes, Quarters and half-dollars, pre-1964 have 90% silver 10% copper, and those coins are worth from six to eight times face value on up."

But, it's not just those larger coins that are made of precious metal. Pennies used to be made from copper, which is becoming very valuable on the commodity markets.

Moon says "In 1981, it was the last year we made exclusively pure copper pennies, well 95% copper 5% zinc."

This bag of pennies contains 184 pennies and is worth a face value of $1.84. But, we go ahead and put it on a scale and we actually find out that there is a pound of copper just in this bag. And right now a pound of copper is trading at about $3.50. That means if we melted the pennies, they would be worth more than one cent each and actually closer to two!

But, don't grab that propane torch just yet! A United States law authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit the melting of nickles and pennies to protect their circulation. Failure to follow the rule is punishable by up to five years in prison and a hefty fine.

So, for now, most pennies are worth, well, just a penny.

The rule outlawing melting went into effect last April. However, it can be reversed by the Secretary of the Treasury if they determine there's an abundance of coins in circulation.

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