It's Time For Change
Do you like money?
Because if you're like most people
You just can't get enough of it
I'm here to talk about change
I've got stats, facts, and fun
But since we're talking about 'common cents'
Let's start with some questions...
What Is The Most Common Coin In Circulation?
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?
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)
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 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 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)
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)
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
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 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)
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)
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 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 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)
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)
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
0 quarters were minted in 1922, 1931, & 1933. No quarters were minted 1933 due to an oversupply from the year before
The quarter was authorized by the Coinage Act of April, 2 1792, but they were not produced until 1796
Remember when quarters had different states on the back? Well, Virginia had the most with more than 1.5 BILLION state quarters produced and Oklahoma had the least with only 416 million state quarters produced
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)
More than enough to buy 16 brand new Drake mansions
Enough to buy 540 2020 Bugatti Chirons
How much a person earning $50,000/year would make after 32,387 Years!
The Half Dollar (¢50)
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)
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 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)
$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)
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
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 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*
More than 303 football fields (57,600 ft²)
Equal to 1,948,047 $1 bills (0.1112875 ft²)
* 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!