Copper pennies have recently become the new “precious” metal, worth an incredible 2 cents per coin. It’s nothing like the high value of gold, nor the lower value of silver, but copper has many desperate investors turning to low banknotes because of the potential big future profits. But what frustrates the copper penny collector is that the last cent made of copper was minted in 1982, and many others were minted the same year.
Among the 18 billion pence minted in 1982, cents of copper and zinc are still the largest number of cents in circulation. So how does a copper penny collector know if 1982 cents is made of copper or zinc?
As an experienced coin sorter, I usually open a roll of pennies and start examining the date. Lincoln / Memorial pennies minted from 1909 to 1982 are made of copper; those minted in 1983 to this day are made of zinc. When I single out the coins produced in 1982, I tried to test them by dropping one on the table to hear the sound they make when they fly to the surface. Because copper foams weigh more and are denser than zinc, they create a lower metal “blow”. When a zinc coin falls, the sound it produces is a lighter tone. Still, I still didn’t have to distinguish the sounds between the sounds that copper and zinc make after they drop them on a hard surface.
There are several solutions available that will pinpoint the content. If you have a jewelry scale, you can easily weigh them. Each copper cent weighs about 3.11 grams, while one zinc weighs 2.5 grams. For the job I would use a simple copper sorting machine. If time does not press you, “EZ Copper Penny Sorter” is a small device that allows the user to insert several pennies at a time. Copper is discharged from the right vent, while zinc falls from the left. These sorting machines sell on eBay for $ 25 to $ 60, depending on the seller. If you buy a lot of bundles of $ 25 rolls each week, you may need a larger machine that allows you to load 18,000 pence an hour. The Ryedale Apprentice Penny Sorter is the best and largest known separator, but it costs a hefty $ 500.
Nothing in collecting or accumulating copper groschen is frustrating than determining whether 198 groschen are made of copper or zinc. Testing the composition by dropping and hearing the difference in tone does not determine which is which. Using a small jewelry scale will indicate different weights in grams. To sort your wallets more easily, you need a small “EZ” or a large Ryedale copper sorting machine to get the job done. Until you buy one of these devices, I would simply separate those 198 groschen by putting them in a jar or box. Whichever device you choose, you can sort your 1982 pennies accurately.