US Dept of Labor sues company that dumped 91,500 pennies onto ex-employee's driveway as final payment

Yes but old pennies are 95% copper, and still pretty easy to come by.

And the scrap value of copper is like double the face value of a penny, it’s been much higher in the recent past.

Like I said it’s illegal to sell those as scrap.

But there’s a certain strain of nutty. Seems to be connected to Gold Bug shit, and associated Sovereign Citizen and survivalist nonsense. That claims the law barring this is invalid, or ABOUT TO BE CANCELLED!

So there are people out there who hoard pennies. They collect up as many as they can. Sort out the solid copper stuff, and hold it for the prophesied day. And/or till copper prices spike.

Some will just scrap the pennies illegally.

It’s a thoroughly bizarre kind of speculation. Especially since it works out to like doubling very small amounts of money.

There’s some similar shit with US silver and gold coins, but it is legal to sell those for melt. Since they’re not technically circulating or being issued as legal tender currently. But some of these same people will hoard silver coinage as well, waiting for the price of silver to spike.

As you might imagine you end up with a lot of zinc pennies trying to do this. Perhaps “plenty of pennies”.

More rarely you’ll see people burning those down as well to extract the small amount of copper.

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Remember folks, sometimes the subtle approach can help you avoid unwanted scrutiny…


How much does it cost to scrap even the copper pennies, though? I suppose if you have what you need in terms of materials already it’s not bad, but…


“Scrap” means sell them for scrap. In the fever dream, or most illegal examples it’s just carrying the bucket of pennies to a scrap yard and getting paid your $3.85/lb. The scrap price already accounts for the cost of processing vs the market price of recycled copper.

Just like any other scrap you might sell.

When people get into destroying them to sell them as “oh it’s this lump of copper” I supposed there’d be a cost.

But I think you can melt copper in one of those backyard smelters/furnaces people build from like buckets of concrete. So it’d just be the cost of propane. Or you could probably grind or smash the things.

It’s not illegal to destroy or melt US coins. Just to sell the metal for profit.

So long as its copper and not identifiable as pennies any scrap yard should (unknowingly) buy it.

The thing that makes this bonkers is that the return is so low. And it legitimately “costs” a shit ton to do in terms of time and effort.

Think about it, you have to acquire thousands, even millions of pennies. And sort them by material. Or rig up some way to extract the copper on mass.

You’d make more with a paper route.

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91,500 pennies for your thoughts?

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I will take a stab. :smiling_imp:

Customer goes to a car repair shop, gets $915 in repair work done, but drives off with his professionally-repaired car without paying.

The repair shop contacts the customer, demands payment but is ignored. The repair shop contacts a collections agent, and when the collections agent threatens to repossess the car, the customer drives over to the repair shop and dumps 91500 oily pennies on their driveway.

How do we think that will go? @willmore


Excellent example! I was thinking along the lines of shoplifting a sweater, etc., but this is way more on topic.
According to the poster who posited this whole scenario, we would all “laugh and go on our way,” but I don’t think that’s true at all. Most of us would be like, “what a fucking asshole.”
And that’s not even taking the overall employer/employee power dynamic into account.
If we were to coin a term for this behavior (the OP), we could start calling wage thieves “oily pennies.”
Or just stick to the old fashioned, “fucking assholes.” I’m neutral.


Even when I was composing the example, that was the bit that was causing me hesitation. Even in the example of the customer driving off without paying, the fact that the business owner can sic a collections agent on them preserves the power imbalance in the favor of the same person - the business owner - in both scenarios.


I stand corrected.

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