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Penny costs more than a cent to make

RAW STORY
Published: Friday April 21, 2006

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A penny costs more than a cent for the U.S. Mint to make, according to a story set for Saturday's New York Times, RAW STORY has found.

Excerpts from the article written by Floyd Norris:

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What happens if a penny is worth more than one cent?

That is an issue the U.S. Mint could soon face if the price of metals keeps rising. Already it costs the mint well more than a cent to make a penny.

This week the cost of the metals in a penny rose above 0.8 cents, more than twice the value of last fall. Because the government spends at least another six-tenths of a cent -- above and beyond the cost of the metal -- to make each penny, it will lose nearly half a cent on each new one it mints.

The real problem could come if metals prices rise so high that it would be economical to melt down pennies for the metals they contain.

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Asked if the mint had a backup plan for what it will do if zinc prices rise far enough that it could pay to melt down pennies, a spokesman said that such issues were for Congress to decide. Perhaps the mint could go back to making steel pennies, as it did during World War II when copper was needed for the war effort.

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FULL NY TIMES ARTICLE HERE