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Weight Of United States Coins: Pennies on the Dollar

by Judith Lepage
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United States coins can be a little confusing for tourists to understand because of the different names and values associated. The United States was one of the first countries to decimalize their currency system and bring in decimal coinage for values below a dollar.

These coins are called pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars, and they each carry value in terms of cents (1 dollar = 100 Cents). This blog covers all the important specifications like the value, material, and weight of United States Coins.

Weight Of United States Coins

The shape, material, and weight of United States coins determine their value. After all, the cost of the material used to make the coin cannot exceed the value inscribed on it.

· Penny

Penny

A penny is worth 1 cent or $0.01 and is currently the lowest denomination of the US currency. It has an engraving of Abraham Lincoln on the front and the Lincoln Memorial on the back.

Did you know that, before pennies, a mill was the smallest unit of currency? 1 mill was equal to 0.1 cents or a thousandth of a dollar. Mills are still used today to give precise measures of gas prices and property taxes. However, the price is always rounded up to the nearest cent since the unit no longer exists in circulation.

Coin Specifications

• Diameter: 0.75 in. or 19.05 mm
• Material: Copper Plated Zinc (2.5% Copper, 97.5% Zinc)
• Weight: 2.500 g
• Thickness: 1.52 mm

· Nickel

Nickel

A nickel is worth 5 cents or $0.05 and is slightly larger than a penny. It has an engraving of Thomas Jefferson on the front and Monticello on the back.

Did you know that during the Second World War (1942–1945), 5 cent coins had to be made without nickel, using an alloy of copper, manganese, and silver instead? This was because the government needed to set aside nickel for weapons production.

Coin Specifications

• Diameter: 0.835 in. or 21.21 mm
• Material: Cupro-Nickel (25% Nickel, 75% Copper)
• Weight: 2.500 g
• Thickness: 1.95 mm

· Dime

Dime

A dime is worth 10 cents or $0.1 and is slightly smaller than both the penny and Nickel coin. It has an engraving of Franklin D. Roosevelt on the front and a torch on the back.

Did you know the dime was one of the first coins to be designed with 118 ridges on the edge? This was done to make sure no one would try to scrape off to mine some of the precious metals used?

Coin Specifications

• Diameter: 0.705 in. or 19.05 mm
• Material: Cupro-Nickel (8.33% Nickel, 91.67% Copper)
• Weight: 2.268 g
• Thickness: 1.35 mm

· Quarter

Quarter

A quarter is worth 25 cents or 0.25$ and is often used in coin-operated machines such as vending machines, washers, dryers, and parking meters.

Did you know that the 1804 quarter was the first silver coin to have its value inscribed on it? Up till then, people had to tell apart the value of a silver or gold coin based on its size.

Coin Specifications

• Diameter: 0.955 in. or 24.26 mm
• Material: Cupro-Nickel (8.33% Nickel, 91.67% Copper)
• Weight: 5.670 g
• Thickness: 1.75 mm

· Half Dollar

Half Dollar

A half dollar is worth 50 cents or $0.50. It’s silver-plated and has an engraving of John F. Kennedy on the front, and the seal of the President of the United States Coat of Arms on the back. It also has the heaviest weight of United States coins.

Did you know that the half dollar was made to memorialize the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy after his assassination? In fact, it was made on the very day of his assassination, a few hours after he passed.

Coin Specifications

• Diameter: 1.205 in. or 30.61 mm
• Material: Cupro-Nickel (8.33% Nickel, 91.67% Copper)
• Weight: 11.340 g
• Thickness: 2.15 mm

· Dollar Coin

Dollar Coin

1 dollar coins are the only coins with a banknote twin. They have an engraving of Sacagawea, a young Shoshone Indian woman, on the front and a bald eagle on the back.

Coin Specifications

• Diameter: 1.043 in. or 26.49 mm
• Material: Manganese Brass (88.5% Copper, 6% Zinc, 3.5% Manganese, 2% Nickel)
• Weight: 8.1 g
• Thickness: 2.00 mm

A Few Parting Words

US coins have a long and complicated history, but it is by far one of the most sophisticated currency systems today. It is also the most traded currency in the world. Hopefully, you find this article on the weight of United States coins useful in better understanding the value of US currency.

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