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If you're thinking about melting down pennies for the metal; don't it's illegal.

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Democrats_win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:05 PM
Original message
If you're thinking about melting down pennies for the metal; don't it's illegal.
"Pennies now cost more to make than they're worth as currency. Even nickels share their plight, thanks to rising metal prices.
And while the coins have long been stashed in jars and stepped over on sidewalks, the government now fears that people might try melting them down to make a profit. The older the penny, the more valuable it is. Those made before 1982 contain more copper than their modern-day counterparts, making them each worth about 2.13 cents - more than twice their face value.

"The U.S. Mint imposed a new rule last week that makes it illegal, and potentially very unprofitable, to melt 1- and 5-cent pieces. Penalties for doing so could land culprits in jail for up to five years and subject them to fines of $10,000."

"The government agency also is limiting exports of the coins. Travelers can take up to $5 of the coins out of the country, and individuals will still be able to ship up to $100 of the coins out of the country "for legitimate coinage and numismatic purposes."

"The mint said it took steps after getting questions from people who wanted to know if they could legally melt down coins. No ban had been in place, although the mint had to take similar action during the 1960s and 1970s."

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/other_business/ar...


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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. I guess the bottom line is that the government doesn't want money
taken out of circulation by the general population. Pennies can add up . . .
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. umm -- I have a stupid question?
How is the government going to *know* if you've melted down pennies?
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progdonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. probably by specific characteristics of the copper...
I have no clue what those characteristics would be, but I'd imagine it's just like how gemologists can trace a diamond back to its source mine through tiny differences between diamonds that come from different mines (and similarities from the same mines).

So, if the pennies have copper from a mine that only produces copper for pennies (for instance), I'd imagine they'd be able to say, "This copper came from this mine, which is only used to make pennies, therefore this copper is from a melted-down penny."
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. I doubt recycling centers are going to care.
I sell my scrap copper and much of it is squished hunks that no longer resemble the pipe it used to be. They never ask about its origins.
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. That sounds like something the govt would do
Spend ten thousand dollars, hire special investigators, and publish a 500 page report to prove that 100 dollars' worth of pennies got melted down.
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progdonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. sadly, I think you're right...
and it kind of goes into Lone_Star_Dem's response, that recycling centers aren't going to care where about where the copper comes from. I think they would care if the government made it known that they were going to do random checks of recycling centers to make sure that there's no copper that came from pennies in their bulk, and each 1/100 oz of copper that was from pennies would result in a $1,000 fine.

Investigations to be paid for at the low, low cost of $10 million in taxpayer money. (but don't worry, most of that--okay, maybe $10,000--will be offset by those fines, but it's the principle that counts!)
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European Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. stupider question--why not eliminate nickels and pennies--round prices to .10
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charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Oh no
Local taxes will have to be increased/decreased in multiples of ten, which is a pretty big swing in either direction. I like keeping the option for penny increments.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Then the 10 cent coins will become the new pennies..........through inflation.
This wouldn't be a problem if the money supply wasn't expanding faster than people and capital required it to expand, but that's a more fundamental flaw in the system that I'm not willing to get into here.
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BuyingThyme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
5. Stupidest question: Where does the Mint guy get the power
to make laws?
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EST Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. You gotta remember that our gummit is nothing more than one
huge criminal enterprise. Never expect fairness, honesty, integrity or doing what's right.
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BuyingThyme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. I found it in Article I of the Constitution:
The Mint Guy shall have the sole power to make laws and levy fines.
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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #5
26. Now that's a good question.
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 05:13 PM by sofa king
Our press seems to be ignorant of the difference between a law and a rule and a regulation, but I'll be damned if I know how this works, either.
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cut.your.crap Donating Member (21 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:31 PM
Response to Original message
6. I know a little about scrap metal
I've hauled wire and pipe scrap for reprocessing. Typical load was 8-10,000 lbs in a dump truck. It's a lot of material. If one were to add 500 lbs (5%) of pennies to a scrap mix, how could that possibly be traced or discovered? I just don't "buy" it.
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BuyingThyme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Welcome to DU, cut.your.crap!
:hi:
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grytpype Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Hmmm...
If you took an 8,000 pound dumptruck load of pre-1982 pennies, at 3.1 g per penny, that's 1.17 million pennies, and your gross profit over the cash value of the pennies is $13,221.

I'm going to head down to the bank now and ask to withdraw $11,700 in pre-1982 pennies, please!
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Donnachaidh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
24. welcome to DU cut!
love your screen name!
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blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
9. pennies are not solid copper
They have not been since the 60's , try the magnet test and you will know .
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demobabe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. The only magnetic penny was minted in 1943
Pennies minted 1982 and later are copper-plated and mostly zinc. But from 1864 to mid-1982, pennies were 95 percent copper and weighed 3.1 grams (with the exception of the steel 1943 cent, of course).
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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #16
27. 3.1 grams?
Oh hell. Now I gotta find my old college dope dealer and apologize to him. I thought those five-penny quarter bags looked a little big.
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EST Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #9
21. Most coinage is made of a mix of materials, primarily cupernickel.
I may have misspelled that, but it is a kind of trash metal. There is a lot of zinc in them and very little else-no amount of copper to speak of.
Various zinc alloys and mixes are known as "pot metal," a material that is fairly easy to cast and work as long as it's hot, but brittle and easily broken cold.

Die-cast toys and the old mainstay of the automotive industry, carburettors, were composed mainly of this stuff.

It has very little intrinsic value, its value coming from the item it is turned into.

Older coins are different-having valuable content-but the modern ones are worthless except for their face value. Kind of like folding money.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
14. I suppose that means no putting them on railroad tracks either...
DAMN!!! That puts an end to my cheap, weekend entertainment!
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Do they still dissolve in a bottle of Coca-Cola?
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 02:10 PM by shain from kane
Not only will they charge you with a crime, but you have to give them your supply of Coke.
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KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I've heard of his, but never tried it myself...
I could never decide which one I could more easily part with: the penny or the Coke.
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Flip a coin.
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
23. Help drowning in irony!
Of course the fact that money's worth was since the 6th century BC based upon the metal is not lost on the Government. The US Government, all powerful, has since decreed that US money's worth is because they say it is.

Get used to losing the value of your money to ridiculous inflation.

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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
25. Save your money ....
it might be worth something again some day.
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