Now that silver dimes, quarters and 50-cent pieces have disappeared, the next thing to vanish will be copper pennies.
The U.S. Treasury Department has asked Congress to give the Department permission to turn out aluminum pennies rather than copper ones.
Treasury Department officials say that copper is getting too expensive -- and that the value of copper these days is worth almost a full cent. The Treasury Department predicts that if the price of copper continues to climb, people will hoard pennies and even melt them down because the metal they are made of will be worth more than the penny.
There are a lot of copper pennies around: the Treasury Department estimates there are 34 billion of them in circulation.