Skip to comments.What happened to coins from the 70s and 80s?
Posted on 03/22/2022 5:16:47 PM PDT by P.O.E.
OK, call me paranoid.
Local charity was having a “penny war” fund raiser, so I decided to go through the change jar (an old 5 gallon water jug). Parsing out all the bottle caps, shiny stones, etc. that got thrown in. I put the quarters aside.
Then started going through the nickels, dimes, & pennies. Growing up as a kid, we had coin collections, so with time on my hands decided to sift through them for wheat pennies, silver, etc.
To my wonderment, I found very few coins from the 70s and 80s. Even the 90s were sparse. I understand about the copper, silver, etc. content of old coins, but why were there so few from that era.
Then I started thinking about the “coin shortage” of the Covid days, and started to think how did all those coins disappear? It's not like they would have worn out. Was there some machinery somewhere pulling those coins based on metal content? Pennies I could understand. But dimes & nickels?
Like I said, call me paranoid.
Pennies were copper until 1982, I think and the metal content got changed in other coins. People are hoarding copper.
I have them all in my *deflation bank(s).
* Deflation bank definition- Federal Reserve Notes & Coin not deposited in a financial institution.
This is a good article about paper bills, they don’t say much about coins, however, they do mention that coins get destroyed, but don’t go into detail....
Pennies changed from 95% copper & 5% zinc in mid-’82. Those are worth about $0.03 each right now - but they’re illegal to melt down. It is now 97.5% zinc...and, surprisingly, its melt value is very slightly above $0.01. So the government loses money on every cent that they produce (and, of course, you have to add in mintage and shipping costs).
No other coin’s composition has changed since then. I can understand why nickels aren’t there - its melt value is about $0.07, and was close to $0.09 last week when nickel spiked (they’re also illegal to melt). But ALL nickels (except the War Nickels) have had the same composition for over a century, so why those from the 70s and 80s would be missing I don’t know, other than that so many new ones have been made. War nickels are worth close to $1.40.
Dimes, quarters and halves have a melt value of about 30% of their face value.
More details here: https://www.coinflation.com/coins/basemetal_coin_calculator.html
Silver coin melt value calculator: https://www.coinflation.com/coins/silver_coin_calculator.html
Dime and quarter composition has remained the same since ‘65...nickels longer than that. 75% or more copper, the rest nickel. A lot of people are separating out copper cents, myself included.
Thanks for those links.
It’s rare to find the old bills before they inflated the portraiture. Funny how they look weird now, after decades of seeing them that way.
One analysis here:
We stopped using coins with covid. they are sitting in pockets and couches?
Most valuable of current mintage of coins are quarters minted at West Point.
Under my bed...
After reading the article, now I’m wondering if it was part of a planned push to virtual cash - which is more controllable - as well as a swipe to small, independent businesses.
I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from one stash of coins. What were the factors determining what you put into it? Are you finding lots of nickels from the ‘50s snd ‘60s? I go through rolls looking for things, and I can make some generalizations based on what I’ve seen, but it’s a pretty small window into what the big picture might be.
I have Hispanic tenants and I receive all my rent in cash. They do not trust banks. There is a huge economy still in cash.
Lots of things in play here.
Wikipedia’s United States Mint Coin Production page tells how many coins were struck each year. Some years hadore production than others.
Or maybe you just stopped holding onto change in the 70s and 80s.
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