Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Carpe Denarius (Seize the Penny!)

Heads up, Peeps! I've got some good news. I found a nice reasonably priced source of copper blanks for jewelry. That's right, it's that jar of pennies you've got stashed somewhere.

 I ran across a blog the other day (sorry I can't find it now) where someone was pounding bronze coins. That led me to wondering about copper coins. Then I discovered this, "If your Lincoln Memorial penny has a date before 1982, it is made of 95% copper. If the date is 1983 or later, it is made of 97.5% zinc and plated with a thin copper coating."

A comparison of size after pounding.
The pounded penney in this shot was not a pre-1982 coin. I forgot to take a shot of it before I pounded it. But for your reference, I've placed it beside another one from my stash. Even though I'm pretty sure the one I pounded was not a pre-1982 coin, even after smashing, it still has a nice copper color. Note the difference in size after pounding.

After pounding, I dipped it in Liver of Sulfer, then buffed it a bit. I put a hole in it so it could be attached to something then used my
Carpe Denarius!
metal stamping tools to add words.  (The Latin word that seemed closest to 'penny' was denarius.) Can anyone enlighten me any differently?

After stamping, I coated the entire piece with permanent black marker making sure to get it down inside the letters - then buffed the whole piece with a polishing cloth.  I love the textured surface from all the pounding on a cement floor. Just try to imagine how incredible my muscles will be after all this pounding!

Pennies cost more to produce, at 1.4 cents a piece, than they are worth. According to Jeff Gore, an MIT physicist, people spend 72 minutes each year "fiddling with pennies."

Pennies have long been thought to be good luck pieces. Ever put one in your shoe?  :)

Carpe Denarius
Seize the Penny!


Petra Carpreau said...

Oh yeah! That looks amazing, Lela. A much better use of a penny in this day and age. I'll have to see what I can do with some British coinage. Thank you so much for sharing this bit of yum!
Petra x

Lela Bouse-McCracken said...

Hi Petra...
Today I tried some pennies that were pre-1982, since they were suppposed to have more copper. I got some good textures on them, but I really like the post-1982 coin results better. It's all trial and error.

I broke a brick in half hammering on the coin...just hoping I don't break the cement garage floor. ;)