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How Much is a Nickel Worth? Because of Copper’s Price, It’s More Than Seven Cents

Copper, United States Mint

Today, copper prices soared to near all time highs. Because of the high price of copper, you may not want to spend any pennies or nickels found in your pockets. You may want to search your couches for any extra change wedged in the cushions. Both the nickel, and certain pennies, are now worth far more than their face value. This is mostly due to their copper metal content.

Before you break out a blow torch to melt your coins into copper bars, or try to find the closest recycling center to sell them to, you should first be aware of a rule implemented by The United States Mint. The Rule makes it illegal to melt these coins for their metal. According to The United States Mint, this ban on melting coins for their metal content is intended to be temporary.

If you start saving your nickels and copper pennies now, you will not be alone. Already, bundles of copper pennies are being offered on eBay for almost twice their face value. Recently, five-thousand copper pennies were offered for ninety-four dollars.

An inventor at ryedalecoin.com has begun offering a machine to sort pennies automatically. What makes this machine interesting is that it can separate out the pre 1982, more valuable pennies, from their recent and less valuable counterparts. The price advertised for a coin sorter that is featured on the website is over six-hundred dollars. A quick calculation appears to show that you would need to sort-out at least twenty-thousand copper pennies to pay for the machine. Almost all of the pre 1982 penny coins, in common circulation, are made of ninety-five percent copper. Pennies newer than 1982 are made mostly of less valuable zinc.

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Nickels are currently made of seventy-five percent copper with the balance made of nickel. According to a calculator on Coinflation.com, today’s value of a nickel, in metal, is just less than seven cents. The value of a copper penny, in metal, is currently over two and one-half cents.

It is possible to obtain large quantities of pennies to sort through for the copper pennies. The challenge may be in figuring out how to then spend the remaining newer, less valuable pennies left over. Most businesses are not too keen to be paid in thousand of pennies. Many banks will not accept pennies unless paid a fee.

The new regulations banning the melting of coins are partially designed to prevent hoarding. If past history is any indication, this ban will be lifted as previous bans have been. Until then it appears that many people are beginning to hold onto their change.


United States Mint Press Room US Department of the Treasury

Copper pennies, Exonumia, Coins US items on eBay.com ebay.com


Current Melt Value of Coins – How much is your coin worth? Coinflation.com