January 30, 2013 5:14 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine needs freshly or newish US pennies for an art project.

He needs a few thousand pennies. The bank was not able to give him freshly minted or fairly new ones. Any ideas?
posted by yoyo_nyc to Media & Arts (11 answers total)
Go to a nicer bank. I used to be a teller, and I would happily have given you new pennies, but the problem is we didn't get brand new ones very often.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:17 PM on January 30, 2013

Do they need to be newish or merely look new? If look is important, you can do the old grade school penny-cleaning experiment.
posted by calistasm at 5:19 PM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

The only thing can think of is fairly labor intensive, ''buy'' 50 bucks of rolled pennies at a time, sort through, rewrap the rejects and deposit them back into the account, rinse and repeat. Other than that yeah what cali.. suggest, clean them in batches.
posted by edgeways at 5:22 PM on January 30, 2013

New pennies are going to be at the banks soon and you can order them. Order $100 worth and you will wind up with new rolls this time of year.
posted by bensherman at 5:25 PM on January 30, 2013

yeah just clean the pennies.
posted by Max Power at 5:26 PM on January 30, 2013

This penny countertop project includes a recommendation for how to clean pennies, too.
posted by cabingirl at 5:30 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just cleaning them will be easiest & cheapest. Alternatively, if cost is no object: you can order coins directly from the US Mint ( --- the problem there is that you'll not only pay a premium for the coins, you'll also have to pay for shipping, all of which can get expensive, fast. The good part is you can get as many shiny new pennies as you want.
posted by easily confused at 5:32 PM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

You can, if I'm not mistaken, order proofs, though I think it'd be fairly expensive.
posted by brennen at 7:02 PM on January 30, 2013

Call your local armored car company that serves banks. I learned at my last job that armored car companies are also generally what you call a Cash Services company. They exist as a means for commercial-banking operations to never have to touch the cold hard stuff from client deposits, as well as keep their commercial clients outfitted with the raw cash they need. Want to give your grandson a stack of brand new One-dollar notes, still in the band and in sequence? (Please do-- cashiers hate new notes.).

They also do pennies by the box, and while many many rolls and boxes (box of pennies = 50 rolls, $25-- obviously 2500 pennies) are full of coins that have been recycled, chances are they know which ones are new from the Mint.

As for cleaning, the cheapest solution (pun!) is a mixture of vinegar and salt. Don't leave them in there, though-- it'll dissolve the zinc core of the penny if you let it. You'll end up with a bit of crumbly metal, and that's no way to treat Chicago's other native son.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:47 PM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

Yeah, go to all the banks, and ask if you can order some. If not, try more banks or come back every day.
posted by mskyle at 10:49 AM on January 31, 2013

Depending on where you are in the country, fresh 2013 coins should be arriving in the next couple months. Your best bet would be to find a branch of a bank that you or your friend had an account with that has a lot of business accounts. Stop by every once in a while and ask the tellers if they have "a box of new pennies on hand." a box of pennies, as mentioned previously, is $25. You'll get them eventually. It'll work better the closer you live to a Federal Reserve Bank.

Banks usually get coin deliveries once a week, so no need to stop in more often than that.
posted by clorox at 10:52 PM on January 31, 2013

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