Common Cents

It's Time For Change



Do you like money?


Because if you're like most people

You just can't get enough of it


So today

I'm here to talk about change


Metal money


Cold

Hard

Cash


I've got stats, facts, and fun


But since we're talking about 'common cents'

Let's start with some questions...


Enjoy!



What Is The Most Common Coin In Circulation?


The Penny!


There are an estimated 300 BILLION (300,000,000,000) pennies in circulation today, making it the most common coin. That means there's $3 BILLION worth of pennies out there just waiting for you. So if you're looking to get your collection going, 'Take a penny' trays and wishing wells are a great place to start.



In What Year Did The U.S. Mint Produce The Most Coins?

  • 2000

  • 28,093,434,000 (28 BILLION, 93 million, 434 thousand) coins were produced

  • These coins had a total value of $3,553,138,700 (3 BILLION, 553 million, 138 thousand, 700), which is the highest value of coins ever produced in a year


How Many Total Coins Did The U.S. Mint Produce Last Year (2019)?

  • 11,942,234,400 (11 BILLION, 942 million, 234 thousand, 400)


So How Many Of Each Coin Did The U.S. Mint Produce Last Year (2019)?

  • Penny: 7,040,400,000 (7 BILLION, 40 million, 400 thousand)

  • Nickel: 1,094,894,400 (1 BILLION, 94 million, 894 thousand, 400)

  • Dime: 2,149,000,000 (2 BILLION, 149 million)

  • Quarter: 1,651,600,000 (1 BILLION, 651 million, 600 thousand)

  • Half Dollar: 3,400,000 (3 million, 400 thousand)

  • Dollar: 2,940,000 (2 million, 940 thousand)


Let's take a closer look at each one...




The Penny (¢1)

The Stats

  • Weight: 0.088 ounces

  • Diameter: 0.750 inches

  • Thickness: 0.059 inches

  • Year First Produced: 1793

  • Year With Most Produced: 1982 (16,725,504,368)

  • President Currently On Coin: Abraham Lincoln

The Facts

  • The term 'penny' actually comes from a British coin which has the same name

  • The U.S. Mint's official name for the penny is 'cent', and the U.S. Treasury's official name for the penny is 'one cent piece'

  • The most expensive penny in the world was auctioned for $1.7 million in 2010

The Fun

The 16,725,504,368 (16 BILLION, 725 million, 504 thousand, 368) pennies produced in 1982 would weigh 91,990,274 lbs (91 million, 990 thousand, 274)


That is...

  • More than the weight of the entire Lincoln Memorial! (76,000,000 lbs)

  • Equal to the weight of 511,057 Abraham Lincolns (180 lbs)

  • Equal to the weight of 15,331 2020 Lincoln Navigators (~6000 lbs)

The Nickel (¢5)

The Stats

  • Weight: 0.176 ounces

  • Diameter: 0.835 inches

  • Thickness: 0.076 inches

  • Year First Produced: 1866

  • Year With Most Produced: 1964 (2,815,919,922)

  • President Currently On Coin: Thomas Jefferson

The Facts

  • Melting nickels in order to sell the raw metal is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000, 5 years in prison, or if you're lucky, BOTH!

  • The nickel replaced the silver 'half-disme' (pronounced 'half-dime', which comes from an Old French word meaning a 'tenth')

  • The nickel was created in part thanks to gold and silver coins being hoarded by citizens during The Civil War due to fears of financial crisis and/or governmental collapse

The Fun

The 2,815,919,922 (2 BILLION, 815 million, 919 thousand, 922) nickels produced in 1964 stacked on top of each other would be 17,834,160 feet tall (17 million, 834 thousand, 160)


That is...

  • 3,377 MILES high!

  • Equal to the height of 2,892,026 Thomas Jeffersons (~6 ft. 2 in.)

  • Equal to the height of 32,924,603 large Starbucks coffee cups (6.5 in)


The Dime (¢10)

The Stats

  • Weight: 0.080 ounces

  • Diameter: 0.705 inches

  • Thickness: 0.053 inches

  • Year First Produced: 1796

  • Year With Most Produced: 2000 (3,661,200,000)

  • President Currently On Coin: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR)

The Facts

  • The dime is smaller than the nickel and penny because it used to actually contain ¢10 worth of real silver. The dime is now made from a mix of copper and nickel (cupronickel), but the size of the coin has stayed the same

  • Those ridges on a dime are called 'reeds'. A dime has 118 reeds

  • The Secretary of the Treasury in 1791, Alexander Hamilton, recommended issuing a silver coin that would be, 'in weight and value, one-tenth part of a silver unit or dollar'. This recommendation went on to become the dime!

The Fun

The 3,661,200,000 (3 BILLION, 661 million, 200 thousand) dimes produced in 2000 laid next to each other in a straight line would be 215,095,500 feet long (215 million, 95 thousand, 500)


That is...

  • 40,738 MILES long!

  • Equal to the length of 34,880,351 FDRs laying down in a straight line (6 ft. 2 in.)

  • More than the circumference of the earth (24,901 miles)


The Quarter (¢25)

The Stats

  • Weight: 0.200 ounces

  • Diameter: 0.955 inches

  • Thickness: 0.068 inches

  • Year First Produced: 1796

  • Year With Most Produced: 2000 (6,477,470,000)

  • President Currently On Coin: George Washington

The Facts

The Fun

The 6,477,470,000 (6 BILLION, 477 million, 470 thousand) quarters produced in 2000 are worth $1,619,367,500 (1 BILLION, 619 million, 367 thousand, 500)


That is...



The Half Dollar (¢50)

The Stats

  • Weight: 0.400 ounces

  • Diameter: 1.205 inches

  • Thickness: 0.084 inches

  • Year First Produced: 1794

  • Year With Most Produced: 1975 & 1976 (521,873,248)

  • President Currently On Coin: John F. Kennedy (JFK)

The Facts

  • Silver was entirely removed from the half dollar thanks to The 1970 Coinage Law

  • In 2002, the U.S. Mint stopped producing half dollar coins for general circulation (they are still made for collectors though)

  • In March 2020, a man in Alaska stole $4,206 in coins from a bank, including $100 in half dollar coins. The total weight of his haul was around 100 lbs! Does that count as a 'strong armed robbery'?

The Fun

The 521,873,248 (521 million, 873 thousand, 248) half dollars produced in 1975 & 1976 contain 11,970,467 lbs of copper (11 million, 970 thousand, 467)

That is...

  • $30,524,690 worth of copper (at a price of $2.55/lb)

  • Enough to make more than 26 Statue of Liberties (450,000 lbs), which is also made out of copper!

  • Enough to make 1,162,632 miles of 1 in. copper wire



The Dollar Coin ($1)

The Stats

  • Weight: 0.289 ounces

  • Diameter: 1.043 inches

  • Thickness: 0.078 inches

  • Year First Produced: 1794

  • Year With Most Produced: 2000 (1,286,056,000)

  • President Currently On Coin: N/A

The Facts

  • A $1 coin in 1900 could buy you 70 lbs of potatoes!

  • In the one hundred years from 1900 to 2000, the U.S. Mint did not produce dollar coins in 72 of them

  • Switching completely to $1 coins could save the U.S. around $4.4 BILLION over the next 30 years, but history has shown that the public prefers $1 bills over $1 coins

The Fun

The 1,286,056,000 (1 BILLION, 286 million, 56 thousand) $1 coins produced in 2000 have a total surface area of 17,504,636 ft² (17 million, 504 thousand, 636) See calculation below*

That is...


* Formula for surface area of a cylinder: SA=2π r h+2π r²

d = 1.043 in.

r = 0.5215 in.

h = 0.078 in.


Surface Area of one $1 coin: 1.96 in² (0.0136111 ft²)

Surface Area of all $1 coins produced in 2000: 17,504,636 ft² (1,286,056,000 * 0.0136111 ft²)


...

So there it is

The stats

The facts

The fun


Now with this common cents

I hope you're able to go out into the world

And make some change


- Harry W. Brodsky


Have an idea for an article?

Contact me@harrybrodsky.com and let me know!




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