Canadian pennies minted before 1997 used to be made of mostly copper and some tin. The value of copper has increased over the past 10 years to the point where the copper content of the penny was worth more than the face value of the 1 cent coin.

Copper prices have risen from $1.50/lb in Oct 2004 to a high of $4.00/lb in Aug 2008. With the current crash in the market the value of copper has come down to $2.50/lb.

At today's prices the following table shows the value of the copper content.

1942 - 1977 Cent Copper value 1.87 cents
1978 - 1979 Cent Copper value 1.86 cents
1980 - 1981 Cent Copper value 1.61 cents
1982 - 1996 Cent Copper value 1.43 cents
1997 - 1999 Cent Copper value 0.04 cents

The Canadian Mint stopped manufacturing 1 cent coins made out of copper in 1997. From 1979 to 1996 the Canadian Mint had been reducing the copper content to reduce the manufacturing cost of the 1 cent coin. In 1997 the Canadian Mint stopped using copper to manufacture 1 cent coins. Pennies minted after 1996 are made out of steel and copper plated. They are worth less than 0.05 cents in metal content.

For US pennies 1909-1982 have a value of 1.76 cents each.

Under Canadian law it is illegal to melt Canadian coins for their metal content.

At the same time since 1999 the Canadian mint has been removing all coins made before 1999 out of circulation. The Royal Bank of Canada has been the official distributor of coins from the Royal Canadian Mint. The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest bank in Canada. RBC since 1999 has been collecting 1 cent, 5 cent and 25 cent coins and returning them to the mint. The RCM has been melting these coins for their metal content and replacing them with cheaper steel coins.

While it remains illegal for the average Canadian to melt coins for their metal content, pre-1996 pennies can be sold on Ebay for more than their face value for their copper bullion content. Also as the RCM melts more coins the number of coins minted in years prior to 1999 also decreases. This also increases the value of these coins for coin collectors.

Check for the current metal value of Canadian coinage.


  1. Anonymous // February 13, 2012 at 9:07 PM  

    In 1 $25 box I made $2 in American pennies which were in the box and 5.50 in Canadian Pennies so $7.50 in one box.