The Value of Pre-1982 Lincoln Pinnies
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The Value of Pre-1982 Lincoln Pinnies

In 1982 United States Pennies went from being made of 95% copper and 5% zinc, to 2.5% copper and 97.5% zinc. Recently because of the rise in the value of copper pennies from 1981 and earlier are worth over twice their face value. This means your penny jar could be worth allot more than you think it is.

Prior to 1982 all Lincoln pinnies produced legally in the United States, except for the 1943 steel pennies, were 95% copper and only 5% zinc. Since 1982 however, the pennies are only 2.5% copper. The other 97.5% is zinc. Because of the rise in the price of copper, pre-1982 copper pennies are worth $0.0246813 (according to

   While it is illegal to melt your pennies for the copper value, it is fine to sell pennies for more than their face value. Many people have taken to websites like ebay to buy and sell pre-1982 pennies depending on weather they wish to invest in the copper value of them, or just want to make a bit of cash off of them.

    In addition to just selling the pennies, a large business of selling penny sorters has sprung up on ebay. These sorters are selling for up to $50.00 each, just to sort pennies. Many of these penny sorters are shipped from over seas which explains some of the expenses of the items.

    If you have pennies you may want to consider searching through them to see how much your penny jar contents may be worth. You may think it's not a big deal if some of your pennies are actually worth $0.024, but if you think of it as a roll of pre-82 pennies is worth over $1.20, and 10 rolls which is $5.00 face value is worth over $12.00.

    It should also be noted that some pennies from 1982 are 95% copper as well. Since the government changed the metal make up of the penny in 1982 some were made before the change was implemented. The penny sorters mentioned above can tell which are mostly copper and which ones aren't, but you can also use a normal balance scale to find out which ones are better. The pennies that are 95% copper are heavier than the ones that are mostly zinc. One could set a recent penny on one side and the penny in question on the other, if the scale tips it's a mostly copper penny, if the scale balances then it's not.

    If you do want to sell your pennies you should realize that you likely won't get 2.4 times the face value of however many coins you sell. You will probably get around two times the amount of the coin's face value. This is because no one wants to pay full price on auction websites. You should also take in to acount how many you will need to sell to cover the shipping costs. No one will buy one coin and pay around $0.50 to ship it when it's only worth $0.024. You will likely need to have about 8 rolls or more to be able to make any money from selling it when you factor is shipping costs.


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