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.