You've always heard that the new 97% zinc pennies are worthless. They probably were when they first came out but thanks to Helicopter Ben that's no longer true. According to coinflation, post-1982 zinc pennies are currently worth 51% of their face value: 1982-2012 Lincoln Zinc Penny Melt Value - Coinflation That value reached somewhere around 100% back in 2007: Kitco - Spot Zinc Historical Charts and Graphs - Zinc charts - Industrial metals If you buy large quantities of unsorted pennies, no matter what happens you cannot lose: In a hyperinflation scenario their value will quickly go over 100%. Could go up many thousands of times, as happened in Zimbabwe. Sometimes in hyperinflation the dollar bills will get devalued but the coins stay as they are. In a deflation scenario the relative face value will go up. In a "life as usual" scenario you can cash them back in for dollars. Approximately 25% of those will be more-valuable copper pennies (currently worth 250% of face value). And large boxes of pennies make a nice bullet-resistant wall: Odds And Ends That You Won't Want To Be Without, by Sonny Jim - SurvivalBlog.com No matter how you look at it, obtaining large quantities of unsorted pennies is a win-win -- and you don't have to sort out the copper pennies.