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Mint Warns Against Melting Coins

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Global growth has sparked a copper boom

The Royal Mint has warned people who might consider melting down 1p and 2p copper coins to think again.

With copper prices topping $9,000 a tonne, pre-1992 copper coinage is now worth twice its face value - although newer ones are copper-plated steel.

The Mint, the UK's official issuer of coinage, said it was illegal to tamper with UK currency.

The Mint declined to say how many of the UK's 6.3 billion 2p coins dated from before 1992.

Rapid economic growth in countries such as India and China has led to a boom in the value of a wide range of commodities, from copper and platinum to oil and gas.

The demand for copper, especially from the building trade, comes thanks to its role as one of the best electrical conductors in the world.

In the developing world, the result is that the theft of telephone lines - long a problem for telecoms carriers - is now worse than ever, although copper producers such as Chile and Zambia are making money from their mining operations.

In the UK, however, the Mint said that melting down its currency was not only illegal - but impractical.

"Even if it were legal, the practicalities involved in melting down such huge quantities of coins would seem to us to make it a highly improbable task for the average consumer," it said in a statement.

bring on the copper

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So our currency is worth less than its base metals, say it all really... one day a £5 note will be worth less than its value in ink and paper :lol:

Edited by BuyingBear

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In the UK, however, the Mint said that melting down its currency was not only illegal - but impractical.

"Even if it were legal, the practicalities involved in melting down such huge quantities of coins would seem to us to make it a highly improbable task for the average consumer," it said in a statement.

bring on the copper

I didn't think there was that much copper in them anyway now unless you've got a stash of the older ones.

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I didn't think there was that much copper in them anyway now unless you've got a stash of the older ones.

Yeah, it's the older ones that are worth the money. I believe they are an alloy of copper, tin and something else. The new ones are copper-coated steel.

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With copper futures under 4k and Friday's fix headed toward 9k could there be a bubble in commodities like Warren Buffett suggested. A sudden rush for the exits might be on very soon--Monday perhaps?

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Yeah, it's the older ones that are worth the money. I believe they are an alloy of copper, tin and something else. The new ones are copper-coated steel.

Quite right, though they did remint some copper coins again 1998, the plated ones' are magnetic and they're slightly thicker (to retain the right weight balance).

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'Specifications of United Kingdom Circulating Coins':

http://www.royalmint.com/RoyalMint/web/sit...cifications.asp

From September 1992 1p and 2p coins have been made in copper-plated steel, with the exception of 1998, when the 2p was made in both copper-plated steel and bronze [97% Copper, 2.5% Zinc, 0.5% Tin].

Also see 'How much is a penny worth?':

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4900524.stm

Rising metal prices could mean that United States one cent coins become worth more as metal than for their face value. Could that ever happen in the UK?

[...snip...]

Yes, it could happen here, is the answer from Lawrence Chard, of Chard coin dealers. And that's not just speculation because it's happened before.

"Copper" coins in the UK will not be affected directly by increases in zinc and copper -- because the one and two pence pieces are made from copper-plated steel.

Steel coppers

These steel coins were introduced in 1992 -- which is why some penny coins are magnetic and some are not, depending on when they were produced.

[...snip...]

Small-value euro coins are also made from plated steel, with their shiny coating made from an alloy of bronze and brass (confusingly known as "Nordic gold").

In the US, the issue is the steeply-rising cost of zinc. Cent coins were once almost entirely made from copper -- but the increasing copper price meant that in 1982 they switched to being made from 97.6% zinc and only 2.4% copper. The changeover to cheaper metals brought annual savings to the US Treasury of around $25m (£14m). If zinc becomes unaffordable, expect further changes.

[...snip...]

Copper, in the form of cupro-nickel, does still survive within the currency, but within the coins which we call "silver", such as the 10 and 50 pence pieces, which are made from 75% copper and 25% nickel.

The pound coin, since its launch 23 years ago, has been made predominantly from an alloy of nickel and brass.

The last time silver was used in coins was 1947, says Mr Chard, when the rising price of the metal made it unviable to include in one and two shilling pieces.

There is no escaping the economies of coin manufacture, he says, when it is such a massive production process. The Royal Mint produces more than 530 million penny coins and 230 million two pence pieces each year -- and they can't be worth more as scrap than their spending power.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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