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Where Are The Bronze Lincoln Memorial Cents Going?

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 Posted 09/09/2021  1:46 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
You may have noticed it's getting harder to find bronze Lincoln Memorial cents in circulation these days. The last few years, they've been getting notably scarcer in circulation. A lot of folks want to know why, especially given that Lincoln Cents don't tend to see many transactions during their lifespans in circulation anymore.


Are pre-1983 Lincoln Memorial Cents like this one worth pulling from circulation and saving in case the value of copper keeps going up?

Bronze Lincoln Memorial Cents were issued for circulation from 1959 through 1982, the year the U.S. Mint switched the composition of the one-cent denomination from 95% copper and 5% zinc to a less-expensive copper-plated zinc format. The differences between the two compositions are pretty clear, particularly when it comes to planchet weight. The bronze planchets of yesteryear register on the scales at 3.11 grams (with a .13-gram tolerance more or less), while the zinc-based planchets weigh 2.5 grams, with a .09-gram tolerance.

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 Posted 09/09/2021  5:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cladking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The article has a couple errors. First copper pennies are worth about 3c each not 2c and more importantly they have not been disappearing the last couple years. It would be far more accurate to say that coins are not circulating normally because of covid and pennies haven't circulated since about 1975 back when people still used change and it hadn't become nearly worthless yet. Because of covid a lot of pennies are coming straight from the mint and FED and are brand new making it seem like the old one cent coins are being held back when in point of fact all coins are being held back and the pennies will return if and when commerce returns to normal.

For many years bronze one cent coins have comprised about 20% of the pennies in circulation. This is because new pennies evaporate in air leaving the copper coins and a few surviving zincolns to make change. If you pay $29,999.99 for a new car with a stack of $100 bills you'll get a penny in change and right now it might evaporate in your hand.

The mint will need to make 10,000,000,000 pennies every year again if people really start hoarding copper cents. Then they can add most of the cost of making toxic and worthless slugs to the cost of making quarters and claim we can't afford "real" money any longer.

Jeesh!
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 Posted 09/09/2021  5:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add KenKat to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
They are going into the big box in my basement, that's where!
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 Posted 09/09/2021  5:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The article has a couple errors...
Great commentary from our modern coin expert!


Quote:
They are going into the big box in my basement, that's where!


My obligatory demand: STOP MINTING CENTS FOR CIRCULATION! (yelling is intentional)

Then give us BRONZE cents in the annual proof and uncirculated Mint sets.
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 Posted 09/09/2021  5:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cladking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The funny thing is that even nice BU rolls of zincolns as well as those in mint PVC are going bad as well. The early issues in circulation often had breaks in the copper sheathing so they can disappear very quickly when exposed to harsh conditions such as purses and pockets. They won't stand up to the rigors of circulation and the attrition on them is already extreme. Try finding a 1984 cent with pleasing surfaces and no ugly carbon spots!!! Such coins are already exceedingly scarce and the way things are going it might not be long until any unblemished zinc penny before 2000 is a rarity.

You're not going to get rich setting aside 3c memorials for only a penny each. But you also don't need to worry about the melting ban because the demand for them is largely by people who need copper and don't care what form it is. The ban is merely allowing them to buy it cheap for now but the old one cent coins will be gone soon enough with or without the ban.

I've gotten some pretty good money for BU rolls of the post-'82 coins recently. I wish I had a lot more of them to sell.
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Edited by cladking
09/09/2021 5:18 pm
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 Posted 09/09/2021  6:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Cdncoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm wondering how many people are hoarding vs. illegally melting? I would imagine that most are hoarding hoping the value goes to 5, 10 or more cents per coin.
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 Posted 09/09/2021  6:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cladking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I'm wondering how many people are hoarding vs. illegally melting? I would imagine that most are hoarding hoping the value goes to 5, 10 or more cents per coin.


You're right that I may have misspoken when I implied that the cents are being destroyed nearly as fast as they are being withdrawn. But the fact that the incidence is holding steady at about 20% implies not so many are being withdrawn. There is a steady stream of older pennies being redeemed because they circulate so poorly and this number must be substantial to hold incidence steady.

I'm just thinking that there are lots of art classes, shop classes, welding classes, and other metallurgically related projects going on in the country and most will simply use the least expensive material available. A few months back a 20 Lb bronze bust would have cost about $140 in metal alone but made out of pennies would cost only about $15 or $25 if bought off eBay.

There must be a lot of these being destroyed and, perhaps, not all that many being hoarded.
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Edited by cladking
09/09/2021 6:59 pm
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 Posted 09/13/2021  11:44 pm  Show Profile   Check BadThad's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add BadThad to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I had a 5 gallon pail full, it was an immovable object and NOT worth the trouble, so I put them into a coin star. I've seen people with 55 gallon garbage cans full. The problem is getting rid of them. It takes time and a lot of trouble to monkey around with them - they are HEAVY when you get a lot. My time is more valuable than to spend it hauling around and selling copper cents. It just took me a few years to figure that out in my mind. Copper is not gold!

LOL

Attrition is taking it's toll on cents and NOBODY wants them anymore. It's a complete and utter waste to keep producing them IMO. The rapid disappearance of copper cents has been going on for decades and now, with copper hoarders, they may have accelerated it.
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 Posted 09/14/2021  09:38 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
It's a complete and utter waste to keep producing them IMO.
Preach, brother!
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 Posted 09/14/2021  5:45 pm  Show Profile   Check nss-52's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add nss-52 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One ton of bronze Lincoln cents.
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 Posted 09/14/2021  8:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
IMHO, the Ryedale sorter is a key factor. It raked an incredible number from circulation, to facilitate bulk bronze cent buyers.

I do feel for any estate representative who had to handle an estate rich in hoarded cents. It sure wouldn't be as easy to liquidate as Lavere Redfield's silver dollar hoard or Walter Samaszko's gold coin hoard.

The irony for collectors is that this may help preserve hoards of coins in comparatively decent grades that are rich in minor varieties. Who wants to take the time to go through them, though?

A couple years ago, I came home from an estate auction with 11+ bags of wheat cents that a gentleman set aside in the early 1960s. I thought my wife was going to skin me alive. (She still might!) I'm still sorting through the bags, and they actually have already produced quite a bit more than their purchase price in coins for resale. Good grief, what would anybody do if they had to go variety hunting through several hundred bags of random LMCs?
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 Posted 09/14/2021  8:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ty2020b to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting read, thanks!

I, like BadThad, have given up on them. I used to set aside any and all coppers but have since turned them back into the wild (where they now probably reside in one of y'alls basements!). Not worth the time, effort, or space to hoard. However, I think I'll always set aside every wheat I find.

Edit: grammar
Edited by Ty2020b
09/15/2021 12:29 am
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 Posted 09/14/2021  8:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
When one considers the vast array of ideas out there for making money, the very idea of hoarding copper cents for their melt value, with the attached time and transportation costs, is surely the definition of lunacy.
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 Posted 09/15/2021  08:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Petespockets55 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
A couple years ago, I came home from an estate auction with 11+ bags of wheat cents that a gentleman set aside in the early 1960s...





Quote:
... I thought my wife was going to skin me alive. (She still might!)....


Hmmm ... how many of us have been in the same boat? Raise your hand if ...(Asked as I raise my hand.) Oh, and that reminds me I need to pick up a five gallon bucket of "Liquid Bandaid" for next time.

Exceptions are allowed to be able to melt them down. Artistic reasons are one. (Statues would qualify)

Cornell law Schoill web site:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/31/82.2

" 82.2
.........

(b) The prohibition contained in 82.1 against the treatment of 5-cent coins and one-cent coins shall not apply to the treatment of these coins for educational, amusement, novelty, jewelry, and similar purposes as long as the volumes treated and the nature of the treatment makes it clear that such treatment is not intended as a means by which to profit solely from the value of the metal content of the coins.

(c) The prohibition contained in 82.1 against the exportation, melting, or treatment of 5-cent and one-cent coins of the United States shall not apply to coins exported, melted, or treated incidental to the recycling of other materials so long as - .... "
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 Posted 09/15/2021  10:33 am  Show Profile   Check nss-52's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add nss-52 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
the very idea of hoarding copper cents for their melt value, with the attached time and transportation costs, is surely the definition of lunacy.
There were some that thought this about silver coins back in the 1960s. I was alive back then, but could not afford to hoard any amount of money.
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