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Failure of Zincolns sharpened by Euro "copper" coins?  
 

 
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United States
227 Posts
 Posted 10/12/2017  5:50 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Centsei to your friends list Get a Link to this Message



Having recently experienced my first extended encounter with Euro coinage, I was consistently struck by the simple fact that all the copper coins I saw were free of the horrible black spots and stains that are on the bulk of all our cents since 1983. In the photo above, there is some gunk in one of the coin's devices, but none of them have spots. The coin in the middle is actually developing a very attractive tone. Why can't the great United States Mint (and I say that sincerely) achieve such a thing? In my brief research, I noticed that almost all references to the Lincoln call it "copper plated zinc," while the Euro coins are called "copper covered steel." Is this distinction the explanation? Or is the inner metal relevant? And would I be correct in assuming that the US Mint resists the use of steel because vendors assume coins will be non-magnetic? I'm interested in any insights the wise people here can offer on why the Americans can't make a decent looking cent while the Europeans can. (And that comment gives the answer to the obvious question of why I didn't put this in the World Coin forum: my interest is not really the Euro coins, but the Lincolns, which are a constant burr in my saddle.) Copper Lincolns are one of the finest coins ever made. Today's Lincolns are junk.
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United States
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 Posted 10/12/2017  6:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Mark1959 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Copper Lincolns are one of the finest coins ever made. Today's Lincolns are junk.


Ain't that the truth!!
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United States
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 Posted 10/12/2017  8:00 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I'm interested in any insights the wise people here can offer on why the Americans can't make a decent looking cent while the Europeans can.


Part of it is because Lincolns are only 1 cent, so really they're just looking for the cheapest materials they can and that can and will impact the final product.

Another part in my opinion is that the US mint is not longer an elite mint of the world. They seem to take a shortcut whenever it's presented to them such as not having Full Bands on the gold Mercury. Other countries have been executing their products better for quite some time
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 Posted 10/12/2017  8:15 pm  Show Profile   Check Crazyb0's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Crazyb0 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Centsei, there is a BIG difference in the reactions of combined metals. When combining copper and zinc in connective environment of an air space between them (micron size) all that is needed to make a catalyst "battery" is a minute form of liquid, like oils or water. So happens molecules of these become trapped between the copper plate and zinc core causing that wonderful reaction we've come to love called zinc rot. Copper coated steel does not have that same electro-chemical reaction, only thing that possibly would happen is for the steel to "rust" (oxidize), which is not likely if the steel properties are close to stainless steel. Think of copper bottomed pots and pans. Even the copper can become shiny again.
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23076 Posts
 Posted 10/12/2017  9:14 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SsuperDdave to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The inner metal is relevant. By way of analogy, if steel - which will rust in a few days, left unprotected - is a crocodile chillin' in the hot sun on the stream bank, zinc is a Jack Russell Terrier who only gets Red Bull in his water dish. It'll corrode while you watch, in the right atmosphere.
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 Posted 10/12/2017  11:30 pm  Show Profile   Check spruett001's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add spruett001 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
with all of the above statements. Plating a zinc core with copper was a very bad decision because of the interaction between the two metals. Plating a steel core would have been much better.

I also find the "magnetic" property interesting. Unless I'm missing something, the only U.S. circulating coin to be magnetic is the 1943 cent. Many world coins are magnetic whether they be plated steel, stainless steel or pure nickel. Maybe there's an aversion to that because of current coin-counting/sorting/dispensing machines?
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 Posted 10/13/2017  12:26 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Centsei to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the replies. It really is time for the Lincoln cent to look better.
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United States
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 Posted 10/13/2017  10:02 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
And would I be correct in assuming that the US Mint resists the use of steel because vendors assume coins will be non-magnetic?

Most vending machines in the US use a magnet in them as a way to check for slugs. A magnetic coin would be rejected by the machine. So the introduction of a plated steel coin would require the modification or replacement of almost every vending machine in the country.
Gary Schmidt
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 Posted 10/13/2017  11:00 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cladking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The real difference is that the US is beholden to special interest groups which represent financial interests.

In this case Americans For Common Sense.

The reality is no amount of common sense will stop the flow of money to the zinc industry.
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 Posted 10/13/2017  12:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add UltraRant to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome to the Euro! I'm happy that you like our European coins.

I agree with most statements here. It makes a huge difference which filling you put in the copper pie. Zinc isn't my favorite, it corrodes. They might have taken cardboard as it seems more durable. And also... the cent is about worthless in the US, people are throwing it away in the streets, so production should be rock bottom cheap as it's basically just a way of making losses. Europe is gradually phasing out the 1 and 2 cent pieces. You won't see them in The Netherlands and Finland anymore and many other countries are considering the same. It's just that the ever-dominant Germans keep the thing alive... as they also kept the 1 pfennig coin alive to the bitter end.

Anyway, I think it's just a matter of wording when it comes to plating or covering. It's basically a piece of cheaper metal covered by copper, at the end of the day.
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46408 Posts
 Posted 10/14/2017  12:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The cent should have bee eliminated from circulation years ago. Its continued existence is a subsidy to incompetence.
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United States
312 Posts
 Posted 10/17/2017  6:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ljenkins990 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Thanks for the replies. It really is time for the Lincoln cent to look better.


I agree, and I think the best way for the Lincoln Cent to look better is as a NIFC-only issue in 95% copper.
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 Posted Yesterday  09:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

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I agree, and I think the best way for the Lincoln Cent to look better is as a NIFC-only issue in 95% copper.
I agree with this, of course!
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