Warning: This post was published more than 10 years ago.
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The front-page news that pre-1992 coppers (coppers that are actually made of copper) are now worth more than their face value in scrap has apparently sparked meltdown at the Mint, with them being forced to put out a statement reminding people that it’s illegal to melt down a coin of the realm. So there’s a thing.
Perhaps bank robbery could be worth it after all – steal the coppers, melt them down, and you’ve got untraceable money worth more than the coins you started with. Not that I’m recommending bank robbery, here! You could always try selling your 2p coins on eBay, though.
But how many such coins are still in circulation? In the interests of research (and just because I was bored), I went through my penny jar, expecting to find very few pre-1992 coins. (I’m not usually this dull, it’s just that I’ve finished my most recent rotation today, so was at something of a loose end.) As it so happens, I have quite a number of these coins. A good proportion of them are older than me, let alone pre-1992. It’s interesting to think what a remarkable piece of design it takes to be in every day use by all sectors of society, and still as functional as the day they were first produced a quarter of a century later. How many other things have survived so long in everday use?
Of course, the design itself hasn’t lasted so long, which is why the 1992 cut-off exists. The copper-zinc mix was then replaced by a steel version, with a thin copper coating. So coppers aren’t really coppers anymore. And I guess that probably goes for the police force, too.
But, at the end of the day, my money is worth more than it was last week. And, under the circumstances, it’s difficult to complain about that.