Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on the price of copper and the problem of minor U.S. coins.
The closing price of copper as of Friday, November 24 was $3.8417 per pound. coinflation.com calculates the melt value of U.S. coins every day. We learn from this web site that U.S. cents minted before 1982 -- including the so-called pre-1959 "wheaties" -- are worth 2.53616 cents each when the 5% zinc value is added to the 95% copper value.
Billions of these cents are in the public's hands. Tons and tons of the tiny 3.11 grain discs. Mighty Bargain Hunter did a study of the cent situation this week for their blog.
They learned there are hundreds of offerings of wheaties on eBay every week. They calculated what would 500 pounds -- a quarter ton -- of wheaties would be worth. The price is going to increase as we face an inevitable inflation caused by the current economic and political atmosphere in America.
Congress, in its blatant ineptitude has ordered the U.S. Treasury to study coinage metals to substitute for the cent, and, surely, other coin denominations. There are greater problems in any choice of lower value metals. Perhaps that is why bronze, silver and gold have been used for coins for 2,400 years, and nickel since the 1860s.
The answer to the cent situation is to neither to raise the bridge nor to lower the river. The solution is to rebase the cent in value to 5 cents -- as Chicago Federal Reserve Bank economist Francois Velde has recommended. Or to rebase both cent and nickel to 10 cents as I have mentioned multiple times before here in The E-Sylum.
One U.S. Treasury dictum would immediately solve the problem of rising metal composition costs for both the cent and nickel, plus keep all the coins in circulation. No scrapping, no massive recoining required. But that is an intelligent decision. Expect the U.S Treasury and Congress to come up with a jerry-rigged solution. Cardboard cents anyone?
Read this for the answer to the worth of a quarter ton of copper cents:
Pennies by the quarter-ton
THE BOOK BAZARRE
Annual Assay Commission – United States Mint 1800-1943
4-DVD set, Roger W. Burdette, editor.
Astute collectors know the Assay Commission records are a gold mine of information about rare and mysterious coin issues. Yet, only a few privileged researchers have ever examined even small portions of these hand written volumes.
Annual Assay Commission – United States Mint 1800-1943 is available in a special first edition to readers of The E-Sylum for $25 postpaid until December 10, 2010. The regular retail price is $75. To order, send check or money order for $25 to: Seneca Mill Press LLC, PO Box 1423, Great Falls, VA 22066.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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