Technically, it's possible to melt down copper pennies to make copper ingots, as pennies minted before 1982 in the United States are composed of 95% copper. However, doing so would be illegal.
Today, it is illegal in the United States to melt down pennies (and nickels) for their metal content. This law was implemented by the United States Mint in 2006 when the value of the metal in these coins started to exceed their face value. Violations can result in a fine and/or imprisonment. Melting pennies (and nickels) in large quantities could significantly reduce the number of pennies in the U.S. economy, potentially leading to a serious coin shortage. Such a shortage could create unnecessary expenses for the government and taxpayers in efforts to replace the lost coins.
The U.S. Mint would face an impractical challenge trying to keep pace with countless individuals melting down the nation's supply of pennies. As quickly as new coins could be minted, more would be melted down. This cycle would make it prohibitively expensive and logistically unmanageable for the U.S. Mint.
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