Letter Re: Metal Value of US Coins

Mr. Latimer:

There’s a curious development in metal prices. Because of the recent strength in the zinc price and relative weakness in copper and nickel prices, it is the case that $1000 face value of “new” pennies (post-1982) is worth more than $1000 face value in nickel coins. As of today’s prices, the corresponding values are $734.37 for new pennies vs. $715.75 for nickels.

I endorse and practice the discipline of saving nickels. There is an excellent track record of them being worth a premium to face value. As it makes sense to keep an ample supply of cash on hand at home, why not do it in the form of nickels (if one has the storage room) and “go long” on copper and nickel prices risk free? Recent zinc price trends now indicate that one can do the same with pennies. In fact, by going with pennies, one can skim a premium product by separating the pre-1982 pennies ($1812.31 copper value for $1000 face value!) and have a remainder in new pennies that is worth more than the equivalent face value for nickels. – Nevada Slim

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