What do we do after easing ourselves in slowly to anything? We say fuck it and dive in. Let me introduce you to our newest acquisition... The Ryedale apprentice. After the realization that hand sorting just wasn't going to cut it me and Silviu looked at a few different options for sorting pennies. After some searching on http://www.realcent.org we found the solution to our troubles. It is a machine that sorts the zincs from the copper pennies. The website for the machine is http://www.ryedalecoin.com/. The website itself leaves something to be desired, but the transaction could not of gone smoother. We ordered the Ryedale apprentice (500$), two extension hoppers (20$), and a spare wheel (10$). Add on 20$ for shipping and we spent 550$ total on it. Paid for it through Paypal on a sunday and had it on something like Wednesday. Much faster than we both expected honestly.
Now lets review why we actually care about copper pennies. According to http://www.coinflation.com/ the price of copper as of today is 4.5140/ lb. That would mean the 400$ of copper pennies that I have right now is worth 1,191.31$ if I could legally melt it for the copper. The pennies will always be worth the .01 that I paid for them at the bank. There is a ban right now, but for many reasons I believe that it will soon be lifted. There was a similar ban of the melting of silver coins in the 70's when the Hunt brothers tried to corner the market. The mint wants to ensure that there are enough copper pennies around in circulation and not have to worry about people taking a good number of pennies out. So basically I am buying a precious metal at a 66% discount. Pretty sweet huh?
I waited till we were both in my garage to pull the machine out of the box. When we opened it Silviu was a bit underwhelmed by it. Thought that it should have been bigger or something like that. However that quickly changed. We had around 300$ ish worth of pennies that we had bought from a private party earlier in the week. That is another story that deserves a write up and one that will go down as a potential failure. We thought that those pennies should last us most of the week. When we had first researched buying a machine we misread that it would sort 18.00$ of pennies an hour. Ok we thought that is still way better than we can do by hand. Imagine our surprise when the machine sorted through all 300$ worth of pennies in something like 2 1/2 hours. We thought that we had gotten seriously taken for fools by the people we got the pennies from. Then we pulled our heads out of our asses and realized that it actually sorts 180.00$ worth of pennies an hour. Which is substantially more to say the least. This amazing little machine is much faster than we realized. It really ploughs through stacks of pennies. We thought our problem would be that we had more pennies than we had time to actually run the Ryedale, but we soon found that the problem was that we didn't have enough pennies to keep this little machine running. We have so much time that we run all of our pennies through twice. Although the machine is so accurate that it barely misses anything.
The man who created the Ryedale asks everyone who purchases the unit to be discrete about how the machine functions, but basically the machine checks the pennies with an example coin and either rejects or accepts the coin. Whatever the method it is extremely accurate.
There is only one real downside to this machine at all. It jams... quite frequently. The main way is that coins double feed going down the slide, which can sometimes be quite tricky to get out. Coincidentally at about the same time as we bought this, I had taken to fixing ipods for people so had bought a electrical tweezers set. This is the exact set that I bought Aven Technik Electronics Precision Tweezers Set 6 Pcs
I am extremely happy with them. They work amazing for any job that I have put them to and they making clearing jams from our Ryedale much simpler. Also I bought the recommended lube that came with the instructions and have applied it accordingly. If you use this lube for anything you definitely want to get it with the needle nozzle applicator. It will get over everything and you honestly only need one drop. This stuff should be used sparingly for sure or it will just accumulate more crud.
It does greatly help to reduce jams, but this machine is still fairly jam prone. The only real other problem that I have had with the machine is that it does not specifically sort for wheaties. You can get it to somewhat select for some years, but it is somewhat touch and go.
I have some more pictures and maybe a video to add to this post that I plan on putting up later this week so check back in if you want to see this bad boy in action or my beautiful face.
Overall this machine is an amazing thing and quite necessary if you value your time or want to get serious about pulling coppers out of circulation. If you are interested acquiring some coppers we do sell various sized lots of pre 1982 pennies depending on the spot price of copper. You can buy them several ways. We have auctions of copper and other interesting things at our ebay store: http://stores.ebay.com/Thrifting-My-Education
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