On a related note, Bill Burd submitted these thoughts on the math of melting cents for a profit. Thanks! The 1955 doubled die is for illustration purposes only - don't melt this at home, kids.
I thought this might be of interest since there have been several discussions in The E-Sylum about the cent and its copper value.
When copper reached $3.00 a pound I started hearing comments from some of my customers about making money melting cents. So I started doing the math. As a starting point I am assuming it is legal to melt cents and copper is $4.00 a pound and the smelter is paying 80% of the spot price of copper. And, in order to make it worth while we want to receive a check from the smelter for $500.00.
A copper cent weights 3.11 grams and is 95% pure copper. 154 cents equals one pound of pure copper. Cents from 1909 thru 1958 trade in the numismatic community for approximately 3.5 cents each which is more than their melt value. Cents from 1959 thru mid 1982 are copper and would be the only candidates for melting.
With copper valued at $4.00 a pound one cent contains 2.6 cents worth of copper. At 80% the value is 2.08 cents. In order to receive the $500.00 from the smelter you need to deliver 24,000 cents which is 160 lbs. Where do you get these coins? You pick them up at your bank. Since 1959 approximately 152 trillion copper cents were produced and 300 trillion zinc cents were produced. If they were evenly represented in the coins you pick up at the bank 34% would be copper.
In order to find your 24,000 pieces you need to sort through 70,600 cents which would be approximately 480 lbs. (Zinc cents weigh 2.5 grams). If you look at 100 coins per minute it would take you 12 hours to sort them. You now have 160 lbs to take to the smelter and 320 lbs to return to the bank.
Now the $500.00 you receive from the smelter is not profit. The 24,000 cents cost you one cent each so your initial investment is $240.00. That leaves you with $260.00 to cover your labor, transportation and profit.
THE BOOK BAZARRE
DAVID SKLOW - FINE NUMISMATIC BOOKS
the Q. David Bowers Research Library Sale Part IV on February 12, 2011, including:
Clapp's work on 1798-99 Large Cents serial no. 33
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