As of October 2015, the copper in a U.S. coin is worth $2.42 per pound, zinc is worth 82 cents per pound and nickel is worth $4.77 per pound. U.S. coins that contain silver are more valuable at $16.11 per ounce.
Pennies made between 1909 and 1982 are 95 percent copper, whereas pennies made since 1982 are 97.5 percent zinc. Dimes, quarters and half dollars made since 1965 are 91.67 percent copper and 8.33 percent nickel. Nickels contain 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel.
Dimes, quarters and half dollars minted before 1965 contain 90 percent silver. War nickels and half dollars minted between 1965 and 1970 also contain some silver.