Half gallon of wheat-back pennies - worth anything?

I have a half gallon Tupperware container full of wheat-back pennies taking up space in my closet. My husband’s dad owned a store in the 60’s and saved these pennies whenever they turned up in the cash register. Their general condition is, in my layman’s opinion, rather poor. There are also quite a few of the zinc pennies from the war. I have suggested that we simply put these pennies back in circulation, since I think they are worth very little to collectors owing to their poor condition. My husband says “No, they’re far too valuable!” but refuses to do anything with them, so there the container sits, taking up space. Any suggestions?

“The analyst went barking up the wrong tree, of course. I never should have mentioned unicorns to a Freudian.” – Dottie (“Jumpers” by Tom Stoppard)

Do your part to relieve inflation & chuck them into the nearest lake.

I have a penny reserve (as most probably do) near the front door, and I always grab a handful when I go somewhere. After paying for my coffee ($1.54) and 6" tuna sub at Subway ($2.49), not only have I avoided filling my pocket up with more of the little buggers, but I have kept my paper money & real coins (quarters & dimes) unbroken.

That is their chief source of value, IMO.

Nope, not unless you have a rare mintage in the bunch–and that’s not likely.

I collect worthless coins, too. I hold onto any Bicentennial quarter, and sock away all pre-1983 Lincoln cents, because those were the copper cents. Since then, they’ve been made of zinc.

Still worth no more, no less than the others.

But–that’s not to say that you can’t fool some poor putz into taking them off your hands. I sold three rolls of wheat-backs for $1.50 (duh!) to a guy in high school 20+ years ago–and he turned around and sold them to one of the teachers for $5!

Okay, after poking around a bit, here are some numbers I found from a few coin collector’s tables:

Pre-1959 Wheaties: Value = .012¢ if in “fine” condition.

A 1943 Copper: Value = $10,000 if in “fine” condition. Looks like only twenty or so are known to exist.

A 1960 “small date” penny: Value = $3.00. The small date is difficult to discern just from eyeballing it.

A 1972, 83 & 84 “double die cast” (I believe this means the coin was stamped twice and therefore has a double image): Value = from $100~$250 if in “uncirculated” condition.

A foot note says that wheat pennies are generally not worth much more than their nominal value of 1¢.

The reference book I have here is falling apart, it may be worth something…

Let us know what you find.

I used to visit a coin shop when I was a kid. There was always an ashtray full of wheatbacks on the counter with a little sign that said “5 cents each, 6 for a quarter”.

Of course that should be 1.2¢.

It’s bedtime.

Wow, I stand corrected. Open up a coin shop & it sounds like you’ll be in Fat City.

eBay is selling 2000 with a bid right now of $117.00 check it out. Heck 7 people have bid 34 times on it. http://cgi.ebay.aol.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=282925689

Keep smiling it makes 'em wonder what you’ve been up to.

Look out for that 1909 S VDB penny, though. The most valuable one of the lot, IIRC.

I work in a coinshop full time since 1971. We pay 75 cents for a roll of wheat cents(50 cents face value). This has been standard for all that time. At least for us.

Samclem, the question is: what does your coin shop sell them for? Or do they just store them all in a half gallon Tupperware container under the register?

“I guess one person can make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

IIRC, there is also a 1955 double-die that can be worth several hundred dollars, as well as a few other mistrikes. And some of the steel pennies from WWII may be worth several bucks each.

Paula, most of your pennies are probably not worth much more than their face value, but you might have one or two in the bunch that are worth a goodly sum. However, you would need to educate yourself as to what is and isn’t valuable, and how to identify rare finds like mistrikes (should that be two s’s?). There are quite a few magazines that are easily available and list prices for all of the various coins, and I believe there used to be something called the “Red Book” that was published every year and listed all of the current values. However, if you did find something you thought valuable, you would need to have it evaluated by a trustworthy expert.

Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant.

Sure, just give them to me, Ill put them on ebay. ‘Half Gal used wheat pennies’


Just make sure you stipulate that the buyer pays shipping-- the rate for half a gallon of pennies will be steep! :slight_smile:

Using mint data, a penny is about 0.43 cm3. Even ignoring airspace, that means half a gallon will hold a maximum of about 4400 pennies. They’re 2.5g each, so your package will weigh about 24.25 pounds from the post office website, you could mail them cross-country (DC to LA) for $26.54 (7 day), $34.35 (priority), or, if you need them right away, $53.40 for express mail-- more than their face value!

OK, maybe I have too much time on my hands.


Hey, Samclem!

Did I leave my heart in your disco?

BA dump Bump!

Plunging like stones from a slingshot on Mars.

We sell Wheat cent rolls(500 for $1.50/roll. If you want nothing but pre-1939 wheat,they are $2-3/roll. We pay a little more for bag quantities(5000) and sell for a little less.

Thanks,Frank. I had forgotten that one.

Hmm with shipping might not come out too far. But UPS 24lbs, should be about $22.00.

Many local Ralyes supermarkets have coin counting machines now. I suggest you dump them in one of those machines, which take about 8 cents of the dollar to count & pay you back in bigger cash.