What Are Pennies Made Of?


Quick Answer

Current production pennies in the United States are composed of 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper. This composition applies to all pennies produced since 1982.

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Full Answer

Pennies produced between 1962 and 1982 are made of 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. Pennies with mint dates prior to 1962 are made of bronze, with two exceptions. Pennies minted in 1943 are zinc and steel due to copper rationing in World War II, and pennies minted between 1857 and 1864 are made of copper and nickel. The U.S. Mint does not cite a reason for the 1857 change or for the move back to bronze in 1864.

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