Letter: Copper 1-Ounce .999 Fine Rounds

JWR,

One of the catalogs that I receive has been listing .999 copper rounds (1 1/2″ dia) for sale. All have designs cast into them, with some borrowing classic currency designs like the Morgan and Walking Liberty dollars, and others are more commemorative or political in nature. Are these worth purchasing as a medium of exchange along with the more widely known and accepted silver dollars and rounds? – T.S.G.

JWR Replies: In my estimation those are just a sort of lame collector’s coin, with only marginal resale value. You would be paying up to 10 times the spot value of copper (per ounce), when you buy those. So any resale would be at a sharp loss. You are much better off buying 50-cent rolls of mixed date pre-1981 pure copper pennies, for just a small fraction over their face value. And an even better option right now is to get rolls or full boxes of U.S. Nickels (five cent pieces) at face value from your local bank, with no premium whatsoever. All Nickels minted since 1946 are 25% nickel and 75% copper. And while their base metal value does not quite match their face value, it is again approaching 5 cents. Before the 2015 global commodities crash, Nickels were worth about 8 cents each. I predict that their base metal value will be back up above their face value again soon, so stock up!.

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