When a penny isn't a penny
At 1.4¢, that's a pretty penny
Zinc, not copper, is costing nation a mint
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 27, 2006 12:00 AM
The penny is being pinched by the rising cost of production.
It could now cost 1.4 cents for the U.S. Mint to make each penny.
The first thing you need to understand is that the penny is not what it seems.
The coin is 97.5 percent zinc; copper plating makes up the remaining 2.5 percent.
Last year, the Mint produced each penny for 0.97 cent. That was before the price of zinc more than doubled.
The Mint says it is not possible to nail down the cost of each coin right now but acknowledged the lowly penny has grown more expensive.
"Yes, the costs are going up," said Becky Bailey, public-affairs director of the Mint.
There is no talk at the Mint of stopping production.
"That would be up to Congress," Bailey said.
The mere thought of a country without pennies makes some people uncomfortable.
"If we did away with the penny, what would I put in my loafers?" asked George Diaz Jr. of Phoenix.