For the year in a row, the cost of making a penny exceeds its actual value. The high price of copper and zinc, combined with steeper manufacturing and distribution costs, means that the U.S. Mint now spends cents for each coin. 2012
In her series, "Tondi observations," contemporary artist Jacqueline Lou Skaggs paints miniature oil paintings on the copper surface of discarded U.S. pennies. Interestingly, as she points out in her description of the series, her actions elevate the value of the coins while simultaneously defacing them.