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Community Voice Responses (2/24/15)

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From the Jan. 30 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Should the Treasury allow the melting of pre-1983 cents to recover the copper?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

Absolutely, remove the restriction against melting.

This would be a win-win for the Mint and refiner and the rest of the folks along the copper chain. The Fed gets rid of excess cents in the system and the Mint can continue striking worthless, ugly cents.

We as accumulators may derive a (small) bit of money from the value of copper in each cent and refiners may keep more folks on the payroll.

As refining continues, the value of copper may decline benefitting manufacturers and fabricators using copper in their products, which may result in increased employment and lower prices of products we buy. Wow! Ain’t life grand?

John Payne
Tucson, Ariz.

I seriously doubt anyone cares. I don’t.

D. Froberg
Carson City, Nev.

Sure. It will make my coin collection even more valuable.

John Brabson
Albuquerque, N.M.

No, they should not melt down pre-1983 cents.

Marlan Hare
Virginia Beach, Va.

I am writing to let you know that I am against the melting of all pre-1983 U.S. copper cents, except by the U.S. government. Actually, I am against the melting of all U.S. coins, except by the U.S. government! Thank you for your time and understanding.

John C. Kozimbo
Westfield, N.J.

I think it should be allowed. This could bring out many old stashes of pennies also for the collector market.

Tom Quinn
Texarkana, Texas

Yes. melt them. More than 95 percent are being held out of circulation anyway.

And stop making cents. We make billions of cents to keep “average manufacturing costs” less for all other coins, some accounting shuffle to deceive I’m sure.

Dominic Carri
East Haddam, Conn.

Perhaps using government USPS to send cents for recycling to the mints would make this a USA-wide group effort.

Monte Garcia

I don’t know who the slug was that offered up that suggestion, but if they want to cause a cent shortage in the economy, this is a sure way of getting that ball rolling.

I have a plastic jar I initially got pretzels in and I decided to dump all my old cents into that jar. I weighed it a week ago and I have 50 pounds of cents in that jar. I only throw copper/bronze/steel cents in there (although I haven’t seen a steel cent for about six years or so).

Anyway, if they follow through, my cents will be four to five times more valuable than they are right now. Thanks for allowing me to vent.

I’ve only been a collector since 1957 when I got a 1909 VDB cent in change at a diner I frequented. My unc rolls will also go up in value.

Jim Nelson
League City, Texas

Why do we even have cents? The only justification is that they are still needed for making change. The Mint pays money out of its budget (negative seigniorage) to provide the public with cents for this purpose.

If public melting of cents to reclaim the metal were legal, then we would quickly lose the cents in circulation. The Mint, rather than providing a public good, would effectively transfer funds from the Treasury to the pockets of those private individuals melting cents. The fact that pre-1983 cents are still found in circulation is testimony that they are needed for making change.

From a hobby point of view, melting older cents would discourage beginners from assembling coin sets from change (which is how many numismatists get their start). It would also mean that those who want to elongate cents which won’t quickly discolor would have to go to a coin shop to buy bronze/brass cents since they would quickly disappear from the banks.

I see any lifting of the ban as harmful to both the collecting and non-collecting public.

Simcha Kuritzky

Yes, melt them.

Wesley Ellis
Portland Ore.

Absolutely, the government should allow copper pennies to be melted. It would be a great way to remove large amounts from circulation and open up yet another entrepreneurial venue (buy, sell, melt).

We would then have consistency with precious metal, which are currently allowed to be melted.

Armin Reitz
Address withheld

I believe that the government will suck up all the copper and melt it for their own profit (probably already have/are) after they discontinue the penny. They are notorious for taking everything away from the people. It will be a smaller version of the gold confiscation.

As a collector I am torn. I would hate to see potentially rare pennies just melted. On the other hand, it may make the ones I have more valuable.

Personally I have saved copper pennies and would like to have the option of selling them for melt. If you could, however, they would disappear from circulation quickly.

When copper was $4.25 a pound it would be quite profitable – now not so much.

I would like the to see the 1983 on pennies recycled. They turn ugly really fast and are not very collectible.

Allen Johnson
Address withheld

Hunter? Naturalist? Add this Red Deer coin to your collection today.

Hunter? Naturalist? Add this Red Deer coin to your collection today.

I think that spending money to melt existing cents while continuing to spend more than one cent per coin to mint new cents for circulation is a waste. Copper or zinc, no one is hoarding them for their metal content.

Better to cut down on the mintage of new cents and recirculate old cents until such time as a decision is made to remove the cent from circulation.

Steve Rechner
Address withheld

Sure. There are so many billions of copper cents out there, many plain dates that no one needs or wants. I have been accumulating before-1982 cents for several years now. And have been selling them to a friend for 75 cents a roll. So there is a slight profit to be made.

Dennis Dejak
Address withheld

Sure. Why not? It will only increase the numismatic value of pre-83 cents and just maybe Memorial cents will be viewed like wheaties in the next generation’s eyes.

Plus all of those that have buckets full of these in their closets will gain some closet space.
My son gave to me an article that his teacher had distributed to his class about a fellow in Texas who had been collecting, or should I rather say storing over 81,600 cents in buckets over the last 60 years (since 1952), and turned the over 500 pounds of buckets full of cents (not sense) into his bank for $816.

I wonder how many really nice treasures, rare and key dates and uncirculateds were in those buckets such as 1909-S VDB, 1955 doubled die, etc.

With over 80,000 cents from a collection of 60 years hitting circulation, Attention folks in Texas: Check your change!

Robert S. Matitia
Address withheld

Sure; will just make the cents we have more valuable as a coin trade for my great-great-grandsons.

Name withheld

Why not if they need to free storage space and sell the metal?

Name withheld

Of course they should allow melting. Pre-65 coins are being melted daily for silver content. Why is it illegal to melt cents?

Name withheld