BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It is good news for those of you that hang onto your spare change; your pennies may be actually worth more than a penny.
Pennies minted before 1982 have a copper content of 95%. With a sharp increase in copper prices, the weight of that copper in a pre-1982 penny is up 236% in value, making that penny worth almost two and a half cents.
Southern Coin and Collectibles in Hoover says they have been saving those pre-'82 pennies for several years now. Before you go digging through your piggy bank, federal law bans melting down currency.
"That's what prevents having a huge major run on the bank for pennies right now. It is strictly against the law to melt them to extract 2 to 3 times the value that you'd pay for them," said Ethan Thomas at Southern Coin and Collectibles. "But we always say as a good rule of thumb: if it's worth more than the face value, it's not bad to have a few bags laying around."
Thomas says his store has seen growing interest in gold and silver coins as well because of the increase in prices for those commodities.
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