One billion pennies is a lot of money — but how much do they really weigh? The answer may surprise you.
When it comes to large numbers, physical representations are often the best way to help people understand the magnitude of those numbers. That's why many students learn to count using pennies. In fact, a single penny doesn't weigh that much — but if you were to pile up a billion pennies they would reach a height of about 870 miles. That's almost as tall as Mount Kilimanjaro.
It's not likely anyone has collected a billion pennies, but if they did they would need to find some pretty big containers for them all. A typical glass jar holds about a million pennies. So, how many jars would be needed to hold a billion pennies?
In addition to being a great learning tool, penny collections can be a fun source of entertainment. Some collectors even try to make a profit by selling rare coins. For example, a 1983 Doubled Die Reverse penny recently sold for $2,640 at Stack's Bowers Galleries. It's a rare coin because only about 5,000 of these pennies were made with the doubling error.
While these rare pennies can be worth quite a bit of money, the vast majority of them don't have any value other than their metal weight. Each penny costs more to produce than it's worth, and the majority of that cost goes towards the copper.