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4 Modern United States Coins That Are Disappearing From Circulation

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United States
1411 Posts
 Posted 02/16/2021  4:55 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
PCGS - Modern United States coins — for the purposes of this article, those that have been struck since the 1950s — seem so commonplace in circulation that some hobbyists bid little attention to them as collectibles. Yet, as we've seen over the past several decades, many of the coins once figuring as ubiquitous members of American commerce have a way of simply vanishing before our very eyes.

Take the 90% silver dimes, quarters, and half-dollars, for example. They were once a staple of everyday pocket change. Yet, within a few years of copper-nickel coinage's arrival in 1965 they were all but gone. Kennedy half dollars never really circulated extensively. Nor did Eisenhower dollars or Susan B. Anthony dollars. The Sacagawea dollars and Presidential dollars spent a minute in circulation before they, too, faded from the scene.

Now, there are four other coins that, just a handful of years ago, could be found with relative ease in circulation. Yet, these coins, too, are on the brink of de facto extinction from circulation. So, what coins are they? Let's take a look.

Lincoln Wheat Cents
Billions upon billions were served to the public, and we aren't talking about a certain type of fast-food hamburger. The Lincoln Wheat cent was in production for a span of half a century, and most years saw many millions made, and a handful of annual calendars saw the spawning of well over a billion each year. So, how can it be that the Lincoln Wheat cent, which was last struck in 1958 but saw meaningful representation in circulation for many years afterward, simply disappear?


Lincoln Cent (Wheat Reverse), 1958 1C, BN, PCGS MS66BN

Collectability of these coin is what initially siphoned Lincoln Wheat Cents out of circulation. Even during their time in production, they were actively sought by collectors building sets straight from circulation. By the 1950s, the countless Lincoln Cent enthusiasts who collected these coins had plenty of rarities to search for, including the 1909-S, 1909-S VDB, 1914-D, 1922 No D, 1931-S, 1943 Bronze, and 1955 Doubled Die Cents among them.

With the introduction of the Lincoln Memorial cent in 1959, Wheat Cents were rendered obsolete, and even the most common dates became desirable for collectors. The 95% copper content of these coins only further enhanced their desirability among bullion seekers. Copper bullion prices, which saw a major spike in the early 1970s, experienced a sustained hike in the early 1980s, leading to a new, cheaper metallic composition for the Lincoln Cent and also segueing into the next coin that's waning from circulation.

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United States
3687 Posts
 Posted 02/16/2021  4:57 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add KenKat to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am part of the problem when it comes to:

Wheat Cents
Pre-82 Cents (and I weigh the 82s as well!)
Pre-60 Nickels

I pretty much leave the bicentennial quarter go.
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United States
99353 Posts
 Posted 02/16/2021  5:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


I can relate, expect I go one step further on the nickels. I have not spent a nickel in several years now.
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United States
10961 Posts
 Posted 02/16/2021  6:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CelticKnot to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Not only are collectors taking them out of circulation (an ebay auction from several years ago of 15+ Brute trash cans full of Wheaties comes to mind), but hundreds of billions of more recent coins are diluting the pool as well.
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 Posted 02/16/2021  8:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add T-BOP to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I guess I'm the problem also . I started coin roll hunting back in 1962 and saved every Jeff 1959 and earlier . And all wheat cents .
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United States
6343 Posts
 Posted 02/17/2021  08:31 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add muddler to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The Wheat cent is the last remaining common find in circulation, I get one to 3 every week. Always a joy to find one.
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United States
32 Posts
 Posted 02/17/2021  08:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CMattB2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I have not spent a nickel in several years now


How many Nickels do you have?!?
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United States
5609 Posts
 Posted 02/17/2021  09:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Chase007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

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I guess I'm the problem also . I started coin roll hunting back in 1962 and saved every Jeff 1959 and earlier . And all wheat cents

That goes for me as well.Hording well over Three Thousand Wheaties and Jeffs. every now and then I'm thinking of when would be a good time to unload ? because I know after my passing the best that can happen would be for my family taking them to the bank and cashing them in!! wife is a realtor and both my son and Daughter are dedicated to their corporate careers not Numismatics
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 Posted 02/17/2021  09:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cladking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I have a love hate relationship with this kind of article. On the one hand it calls attention to exceedingly common coins that will never be worth anything and on the other it ignores circulating coins that are scarce and still available. Also it is just plain wrong. bicentennial quarters were never "common" in circulation because they were being hoarded. Look at the coins you see now; they are mostly in XF and better condition because they didn't circulate until the states coins were issued in 1999. There are still billions tucked away. Wheat pennies have been steady at around .5% of circulation since the late-'70's though this is finally starting to drop since copper prices have increased and all copper pennies are being removed. Old nickels come and go as well and are in about the same condition as they were half a century ago.

Meanwhile rare coins that don't exist in massive hoards in everyone's' homes are disappearing at a breakneck pace. Try to find a nice lustrous 1969 quarter. If you didn't find this by about 1981 then you'll have to look somewhere other than circulation. How about a nice XF? Forget it, that was 1996. Indeed, by 1999 even attractive VF's were disappearing but this time it wasn't caused solely by the wear and tear of circulating but also by collectors spurred on by collecting states quarters setting aside nice attractive older coins.

Now days it's not just the '69 quarters that are hard to find in nice evenly worn VF but every pre-1980 date (except the '76). Indeed, some of these coins are becoming elusive in ANY condition at all because attrition has consumed as much as 75% of them and there is a lot of dilution from new coins. A lot of what's left are culls and they are worn out.

Imagine what this means for scarce and rare varieties. Coins like type "h" '71-D quarters weren't really "rare" but now 55% of them are gone forever and the rest are almost all beat up and worn out in circulation. There are not going to be any more in XF or AU at all. They are statistically impossible and if people don't start paying attention to the coins in circulation there aren't going to be any in VG or F either.

Old beat up memorial cents are never going to have much value. There are too many BU rolls. There are exceptions but I'll leave this to the reader to figure out. However another coin disappearing from circulation are the older dates of zinc cents. These virtually evaporate in circulation because they are made out of junk metal that's only good for plating steel. Older cents had exposed cores and these are attacked by the elements like hands, moist air, and sunlight. If you look at a handful of zincolns you'll see most of them are spotted or corroded. Soaking them in vinegar won't help these. Sure there are million of rolls of these but look at the rolls; many of them are virtually bursting at the seams as the coins inside are rotted. Some dates, like the '84-P, were almost impossible to find nice the year they were issued. It's orders of magnitude more difficult today.

Everyone would know all this but people aren't paying attention to circulating coinage and they haven't since 1965.
Time don't fly, it bounds and leaps.
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Canada
569 Posts
 Posted 02/17/2021  10:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Cdncoins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I also hoard wheat cents and pre-1960 Jefferson nickels. I don't come across many anymore.

I have a handful of bicentennial quarters, so don't really hang onto those. They remind me of the 1973 Canadian quarters. Still able to find them in circulation as the mintage was quite high. Also, I think many are making their way back there as estates of hoarders return them to the banks.

I'm not hoarding pre-82 cents. Still finding a lot in rolls. If copper prices keep going up, it will be more incentive to pull out of circulation, but as the article says, you can't legally melt them in the US.

I am hoarding pre-2000 Canadian nickels, dimes and quarters. These will all but disappear from circulation in the coming years due to the alloy recovery program.
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 Posted 02/17/2021  10:50 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I have a love hate relationship with this kind of article...
A great addendum, cladking.
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 Posted 02/17/2021  2:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add cladking to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
A great addendum, cladking.


Thank you.

That points up another coin disappearing from circulation; Ikes.

Banks are always excited when I deposit a few of these and they tell me they are very popular with customers. Wholesale prices on these are simply soaring with every date now at $3 to $5 in BU. Suddenly it is very difficult to locate any '74, '75, '76, '77, or '78 mint set at RETAIL. The Ikes are so popular and, apparently scarce, that dealers are taking them from mint sets on hand.

In the old days the bankers hated it when I brought in Ikes, now they are ecstatic.
Time don't fly, it bounds and leaps.
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 Posted 02/17/2021  2:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

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That points up another coin disappearing from circulation; Ikes... In the old days the bankers hated it when I brought in Ikes, now they are ecstatic.
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 Posted 02/17/2021  11:19 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Greasy Fingers to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
All I'll say is...keep your eyes open around Southern California...I've been diluting my wheat hoard at about 10 a week (most G to VF+)...no family member to pass them along to and at what a value of 2 to 3 cents each.. let someone else get the thrill of finding them...but that's just me..
I'm by no means a pro and will never claim to be...just my 2 cents
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 Posted 02/18/2021  12:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
All I'll say is...keep your eyes open around Southern California...I've been diluting my wheat hoard at about 10 a week (most G to VF+)...no family member to pass them along to and at what a value of 2 to 3 cents each.. let someone else get the thrill of finding them...but that's just me.
Well done!
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5678 Posts
 Posted 02/19/2021  10:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add merclover to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

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let someone else get the thrill of finding them

I'm with Greasy. I have been known to slip a Buffalo or two back into the wild, here and there. Especially if I see parents with 6-8 year-olds, I'll walk by a table and say, "oh look, you must have dropped a coin," as I pretend to bend over and magically come up with a coin in my fingers. It's fun to see kids amazed by simple gestures like this, and who knows, maybe setting up life-long coin collectors?

ça va bien aller

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