For Stacey Lee Webber [MFA ’08], a penny saved is literally a penny earned.

Driving the news: The Philly-based artist, who runs a studio with her husband, Joseph Leroux, solders coins together to create stunning replicas of industrial tools, such as chainsaws and hammers. She’s even created a full-size barbed wire fence.

What they’re saying: The pieces are a social commentary on the declining value of blue-collar labor in the U.S., says Webber, who received a master’s of fine art from the University of Wisconsin.

  • “Literally seeing that visually these pennies were just pennies, and you’re turning them into something that someone’s never seen before,” she tells Axios. “The thing was made from nothing, basically.”

How it works: Webber and her husband used to spend hours sorting through large batches of pennies, looking for ones made before 1983.

  • Those pennies are pure copper while those manufactured after are copper-plated and melt too easily, Webber says.

Yes, but: Sorting took way too long, so Webber now purchases pounds of presorted pennies on Ebay for, uh, pennies on the dollar.

  • “The work keeps continuing to evolve,” she says.

By the numbers: The pieces are worth more than face value, listed for between $5,000 and $200,000.

  • Some people express sticker shock over the prices, Webber says. How can a penny be worth so much? But dedicated collectors can’t get enough of her work and are willing to pay for it.