How Much Copper Is in a Penny?

Pennies produced by the U.S. Mint since 1982 are an alloy of 2.5 percent copper and 97.5 percent zinc. The penny weighs 2.5 grams, so each penny contains 0.0625 grams of copper.

Early pennies had a higher copper content and weighed 3.11 grams. From 1864 to 1982, except for 1943, pennies were 95 percent copper. This works out to 2.95 grams of copper in each cent. The 1982 pennies were struck with both high and low copper alloys.

In 1943, pennies for circulation were struck from steel blanks and had no copper content. Indian Head pennies from 1859 to 1964 were 88 percent copper, a bit under 2.74 grams each.