# Solutions to the 1982 penny problem

Copper pennies have recently become the new “precious” metal, worth a whopping 2 cents per coin. It’s not like the high value of gold, nor the lower value of silver, but copper has many desperate investors who turn to the low penny for potentially huge future profits. But what disappoints the collector of copper pennies is that the last cent made of copper was minted in 1982, and many others were minted with zinc that same year.

Among the 18 billion stotinki cut in 1982, copper and zinc cents are still the largest cents in circulation. So how does a copper penny collector tell if 1982 cents is made of copper or zinc?

As an experienced coin sorter, I usually open a roll of pennies and start looking at dates. Lincoln / Memorial pennies minted from 1909-1982 are made of copper; those cut in 1983 so far are made of zinc. When choosing pennies made in 1982, I tried to test them by putting one on the table to hear the sound they make when they hit the surface. Because copper pennies weigh more and are denser than zinc, they make a lower metallic “blow”. When a zinc penny is dropped, the sound it makes is lighter. However, I still do not have to distinguish the sounds that copper and zinc make when they are placed on a hard surface.

There are several solutions that will pinpoint the content. If you have a jewelry scale, you can easily weigh them. Each copper cent weighs about 3.11 grams, while one zinc weighs 2.5 grams. I would use a simple copper penny sorting machine to get the job done. If you are not pressed by time, “EZ Copper Penny Sorter” is a small device that allows the user to insert several pennies at a time. Copper is released from the right hole, while zinc falls from the left. These sorters sell on eBay for \$ 25 to \$ 60, depending on the seller. If you buy a lot of packed rolls of pennies every week for \$ 25, you may need a larger machine that allows you to load 18,000 stotinki per hour. Ryedale Apprentice Penny Sorter is the best and most famous separator, but it costs a solid \$ 500.

Nothing in collecting or storing copper pennies is more frustrating than determining whether 1982 pennies are made of copper or zinc. Composition testing by playing them and hearing a difference in tone does not determine who is who. Using a small jewelry scale will show the different weight in grams. To sort the pennies more easily, you need a small EZ or a large Ryedale Copper sorting machine to get the job done. Until you bought one of these gadgets, I would just keep those 1982 pennies separate by putting them in a jar or box. Whatever device you choose, your 1982 pennies can be accurately sorted.