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Canadian Copper Pennies to Look For

An increasing amount of Canadians are realizing that the old coins in their change are worth much more then the face value printed on them. With the increasing price of copper, Canadian pennies represent an excellent opportunity to obtain copper through coin roll hunting, without paying high markups for bullion bars and coins. These copper coins are backed by the government, and therefore, have a guaranteed metal content and weight that allows them to be a trusted source of copper. However, not all Canadian pennies contain this valuable copper content. This article will describe which pennies you should keep and those that you should disregard while coin roll hunting, as well as the Canadian pennies that should be kept to the side due to their numismatic value.
Canadian Pennies to Keep for Their Copper and Numismatic Qualities
Look for valuable copper coins in boxes of pennies
Between the years 1876 and 1919, Canadian pennies were much larger than the pennies that people commonly use today. Although they are made of only 95.5% copper, as opposed to the 98% in future years as we will see, they have a staggering weight of 5.67 grams, making them more than two times as heavy as the worthless modern steel and zinc pennies. However, you should not value these large cents for their copper value, and should instead value them for their numismatic value, that is, their age and rarity. Because they are much larger than the pennies minted after 1920, you will not be able to find one of these large cents through coin roll hunting as they do not fit within the contemporary sized rolls. It is still worth pointing out their value in case you do ever come across one.
Canadian pennies minted between 1920 and 1936 have a copper content of 95.5% and weigh 3.24 grams, making them a valued target for coin roll hunters. However, they have a portrait of King George V on them and therefore should be kept separate from your copper penny hoard for their numismatic value. These King George V coins are rare, and if you are lucky enough to find one while coin roll hunting, you should hold onto it and make sure not to place it amongst your other Canadian copper pennies.
Although pennies minted between 1937 and 1941 have a copper content of 95.5%, and pennies minted between 1942 and 1952 have a copper content of 98%, these pennies should also be kept distinctively separate from your copper hoard for their numismatic value. Canadian pennies from 1937-1952 have a portrait of King George VI on them, and while not as rare as the King George V pennies, they are worthy of remaining outside of the other copper pennies that make up your copper penny hoard.
Canadian pennies found between the years 1953 and 1979 should make up your first group of pennies retained for their copper content. Pennies in this group are made of 98% copper and weigh 3.24 grams. They offer the largest “bang for your buck” as they are Canada’s heaviest copper pennies minted after 1920. They are even larger than the 3.1 gram American pennies. As a coin roll hunter for copper pennies, these should be your most sought after Canadian pennies, since they are still abundant within circulation and offer the opportunity to obtain copper at an amazing value.
The Canadian penny shrank for the second time after Confederation in the year 1980 to 2.8 grams. However, this weight was only temporary. Canadian pennies minted in the years 1980 and 1981 should make up the second group in your hoard of Canadian copper pennies. Aside from their weight of 2.8 grams, they too have a copper content of 98%. Canadian pennies minted between 1982 and 1996 make up your third and final group of copper pennies in your hoard. This group weighs the least in relation to all the other Canadian copper pennies. They have a mass of 2.5 grams, a unique 12-sided shape making them stand out easily, and a composition of 98% copper.
Therefore, your Canadian copper penny hoard should be separated into groups containing the years: (1) 1953-1979, (2) 1980-1981, and (3) 1982-1996. Your numismatic Canadian penny collection should contain: (1) King George V pennies from 1920-1936 and (2) King George VI pennies from 1937-52.
Canadian Pennies to Disregard
Modern steel pennies are of little value to coin roll hunters
After 1996, Canadian pennies went through a change that substantially decreased their inherent metal value. Not only did the Canadian pennies between 1997-1999 decrease to a weight of 2.25 grams, they no longer contained a composition that included 98% copper. Instead these pennies were minted from 98.4% zinc and had only a 1.6% copper plating. Some individuals coin roll hunting may see some value in these coins as zinc pennies have the potential to one day be worth more than their one cent face value. However, with so many copper pennies still in circulation, you should disregard these zinc pennies and free up the money you would be keeping in these pennies to be able to obtain more copper pennies before 1997.
Finally, Canadian pennies minted between 2000-2012 represent a complete elimination of inherent value in the penny. During these years, pennies were made of 94% steel and weigh 2.35 grams. There is no reason to keep these pennies that you find through coin roll hunting, as they are worth much less than their one cent face value. Instead, re-roll them and take them back to the bank in order to assist in funding your continued search for Canadian copper pennies.
To learn more about how we sort and separate our Canadian copper pennies, go a head and watch the video below.

11 comments:

  1. Great info. Really enjoyed it. Bookmarked for sure;-)

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    1. Thank you very much Roham. We are so glad that you enjoy the site and appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. All the best!

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  2. Nice blog. Some collectors like me who will be get to know about this post this will help you.
    buy collectible coins online

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    1. How would a link to buy complete garbage help anyone?

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  3. this is awesome, what are you doing as far melting them down when the time comes?

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    1. Very glad that you enjoyed the article DJ. Thank you for taking the time to post your question. Even if the melt ban is lifted one day in the future, we do not plan on ever melting the copper pennies down. This is because the penny has a guaranteed purity and composition and also has value due to the minting process that it goes through. Therefore, not only do we feel that melting them down would destroy these values, but would cost us value in having to pay the costs associated with melting them, such as the heat necessary and the minting costs.

      Ideally, we hope that they trade like silver dimes, quarters and halves do right now. In fact, if you check out Ebay, there is a large market building in the sale of pennies as people are accepting them as they are, i.e. in their penny form. Thank you again for the comment and all the best!

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  4. Very insightful article. It has some great information which I couldn't even find elsewhere.

    If I was to make separate hoards of pennies, what would one do with the more valuable pennies? Can you only sell them through eBay or through traders/collectors?

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    1. Hello Wiser4, I apologize for the late reply to your question. I think you are right on this one. Typically, if you are going to remove the more valuable pennies, I think that Ebay or traders/collectors would be the primary means in order to sell them. At least, that is what I am expecting for myself. Sorry again for the late response and I hope that answers your question.

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  5. how much do you think a 2009 magnetic (die chip under the last A of canada) is worth i think i may have found on.

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  6. Hello Shannon. I apologize as I am not that knowledgeable on Canadian errors and varieties. However, if you go to CoinsandCanada.com, and then to their penny pricing guide, there may be some more/better information there. In fact, I believe that they have the specific error coin that you are talking about under their 2009 penny page. I apologize once again that I could not be of more help, but I hope you can find a sufficient answer there.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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