Are old one penny coins worth anything?
David tells me he had the job of clearing a dead relative’s belongings: “Among them was a shopping bag on wheels filled with hundreds of pre-decimal pennies and halfpennies, weighing about 50 pounds. Should I take them to a coin dealer or scrap them for the bronze content?”
Paul Lewis Answers
David hasn’t counted his haul of coins, but given that pre-decimal pennies weigh 9.45g each and halfpennies are 5.67g, he’s likely to have more than 3,000 coins.
Although the Royal Mint is happy to sell you three Victorian pennies for £49.95, unfortunately it’s unlikely that a serious coin dealer would be interested in buying even several thousand coins.
To have any value to collectors, old coins must either be in good condition or very rare.
Used coins from pockets and purses are not generally worth anything.
However, Gregory Edmund of the coin specialist Spink tells me that it is worth examining the pennies that have Queen Victoria’s head on them for rare varieties, and to identify those, he suggests that David use the reference book Coins of England & the United Kingdom published by Spink Books.
Items that David describes as “circular pieces of blurry metal” are unlikely to be worth anything – not even for their metal content.
The value of the metals in a pre-decimal penny suggest that David’s collection would have a scrap value of around £110.
However, it is illegal to melt down coins for their metal content, so no reputable scrap metal dealer will buy them.
If you look on eBay, you will find people selling bulk lots of old pennies at around £100 per 1,000. But that is the selling price. What people will buy them for is a different matter.