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Valued Member
United States
354 Posts
 Posted 12/23/2010  5:10 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Lincolncollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
If modern quarters are mainly made of copper, why on earth don't they just make modern cents out of copper like they used to? Quarters are obviously much larger than a cent, but I don't get it.

I say make quarters out of silver (40% or 90%) and make cents out of copper (90%). Let's get back to something that makes sense (cents)....






Pillar of the Community
United States
764 Posts
 Posted 12/23/2010  5:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add littleboy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
the cost of the base metals used would be worth more than the face value of the coin with those percentages.
Valued Member
United States
354 Posts
 Posted 12/23/2010  5:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Lincolncollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So, back in the 1930's when they made cents, copper wasn't worth more than 1 cent, and silver wasn't worth more than 25 cents?
But, now they are.

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United States
14454 Posts
 Posted 12/23/2010  5:53 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bryan1315 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
that is correct. back then either their bullion value was equal or less than face value. When the price went up that is when they quit making them out of that composition. That is why some people hoard nickels now, because it costs more to mint them than the face value is
Valued Member
United States
354 Posts
 Posted 12/23/2010  6:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Lincolncollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
OK, so it's not like we are running short on copper, since billions of modern quarters are made of copper. I really didn't know quarters were made of copper until I noticed the rims.
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Australia
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 Posted 12/23/2010  6:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add gxseries to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Let's focus on the cost of copper at the moment if you think copper is plentiful. At current price, it's around 4.27 dollars / lb. Doesn't sound a lot does it? Weight of a cent in copper would have been 1/10 of an ounce. So if you take 4.27 dollars / 160, cost of copper alone would be a bit more than 2 cents. You would be making a huge loss when you struck it in terms of millions of dollars worth of cents.
My partial coin collection http://www.omnicoin.com/collection/gxseries

My numismatics articles and collection: http://www.gxseries.com/numis/numis_index.htm Regularly updated at least once a month.
Valued Member
United States
354 Posts
 Posted 12/23/2010  6:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Lincolncollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Is it possible for cents to be made of copper again and quarters to be made of silver again, sometime in the future? Or have we past that possibility?
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 Posted 12/23/2010  7:02 pm  Show Profile   Check TNG's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think it is more likely that currency will be obsolete entirely and transactions will be done digitally on accounts before they would revert to a gold standard.
Gold, silver and other intrinsic metals will still be valuable as investments, whether they rise or fall in price just like anything else in an economy such as stocks and real estate.
It might be a good thing that we deal in play money for one thing because anywhere there are mines that produce the most would be prime targets for terrorists and takeovers. If currency around the world were based on gold again, the evil greedy leaders would certainly do whatever they could to control the source of the metals. It would also bring on more inhumane slavery and torture among other atrocities than already exists at the mines.
Having precious metals as an alternative investment for everyone is probably better.
Happy Thanksgiving ~ I am grateful!
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United States
764 Posts
 Posted 12/23/2010  7:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add littleboy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's not so much that the values of the metals has gone up (even though they have). Inflation is more of the reason. In 1932, a cent had the same "value" as 16 cents has today.
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Australia
12696 Posts
 Posted 12/23/2010  8:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Is it possible for cents to be made of copper again and quarters to be made of silver again, sometime in the future? Or have we past that possibility?

I'm afraid the world has moved beyond using those metals for coinage.

I'm pretty sure that the only country in the world that still uses solid bronze in coinage is Japan, for the 10 yen coin. Even this coin is getting close to intrinsic value and will have to be replaced soon. Everywhere else that has "copper-coloured" coins uses copper-plated zinc or copper-plated steel instead.

Silver went out of use in circulation coinage all over the world at about the same time, in the late 1960s. By 1975, silver was gone, even from most NCLT coins. The last (and so far the only) country to attempt to re-introduce silver into circulation was Mexico in the early 1990s. The attempt was a dismal failure; as soon as the peso fell below the melt value of the coins, the coins were melted.

For copper and silver to be reintroduced to American coinage, you would need to either:

- seriously reduce the size of the coins. 25 cents worth of silver would be a pathetically small coin, unless you made the fineness very low (like 5% or something). Such extremely debased silver coinage has been tried many times before, and it never looks good. Perhaps a kind of bimetallic coinage such as that attempted in Mexico could be used, with a "precious metal" plug surrounded by a ring of plastic or cheap metal to increase the size to something usable, but that would make production costs even higher.

- revalue the currency. For example, 1 new dollar equals 10 old dollars - basically, lop one zero off of everything. This would require withdrawing all the old currency and issuing new ones with new designs. That would let you have a new 1 cent coin made of bronze and a new 25 cent coin made of silver, but they'd be worth 10¢ and $2.50 in old money. Revaluations are expensive and unpopular, so as a general rule, governments don't bother going to all the effort to move the decimal point just one place, they wait until the old currency is so worthless they have to move it two, three or more places.

All of this assumes that we aren't about to re-enter a New Dark Age. If that happens, all bets are off, and coinage with an intrinsic value might see a revival.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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Australia
2874 Posts
 Posted 12/24/2010  01:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add gxseries to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The difficulty of using such metals in coinage these days is just a matter of economics.

Because prices fluctuate, you cannot strike coins with metal prices that are anywhere close to the face value otherwise the mint will lose money. Mints even though owned by governments are responsible to raise enough money by selling mint products. The last thing you need to hear from a mint is, they require additional funds to strike regular coinage.
My partial coin collection http://www.omnicoin.com/collection/gxseries

My numismatics articles and collection: http://www.gxseries.com/numis/numis_index.htm Regularly updated at least once a month.
Valued Member
United States
139 Posts
 Posted 12/24/2010  05:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Shavill to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I know this is off topic, but what about coins from before the 1400's? Were they struck in gold plated medals? what is the comparison now?
Bedrock of the Community
United States
15886 Posts
 Posted 12/24/2010  11:08 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I think it is more likely that currency will be obsolete entirely and transactions will be done digitally on accounts before they would revert to a gold standard.
Gold, silver and other intrinsic metals will still be valuable as investments, whether they rise or fall in price just like anything else in an economy such as stocks and real estate.

I've been saying this for a long time now. For some reason people just don't think it's going to happen. The usage of any metals for coins is soon to be completely unnessary. Even currency of paper is going to be obsolete. I too used to think this will not happen for a long time but then I saw my Son just wave a card by a gas pump in a gas station and drove off. We have toll roads and those too are now mostly what is called IPASS. This means you have a device that deducts the cost as you drive by. NO COINS. And if you do use the now deminishing cash lanes, you pay double. My son carries no cash at all. He owns a buisness and everything is done with Credit cards. Much better tracking paper wise. I too have almost stopped using any type of coins or currency. To many credit card companies are giving you money just to use their cards.
I'm sure in many out of the way places this is not yet possible to stop using coinage but soon will be a necessity everywhere.
The necessity to trade from one country to another will also make all transactions electronically the only way to go.
The usage of any monitary system with coinage will soon be a memmory.
just carl
Pillar of the Community
United States
534 Posts
 Posted 12/24/2010  12:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add karrlot to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Let's keep in mind the reason we have coins at all. People used precious metals as a trade medium. Coins were a 'stamp of approval' by a government to certify that the metal was of a certain amount and purity.
So to say that the cost to produce the coin was at or below bullion value is kind of misleading.
In its most basic sense, the coin was produced at that size because that was the value of the metal. To say that we came off the silver standard because it cost to much to produce coins, is ridiculous. Because we were producing coins in silver, we set the price of the silver.

The problem with being on a silver standard, is that you are limited to the amount of money you can produce. The most you can make is equal to the amount of silver you have. So if we went back on the silver standard, the Governement could no longer just print money when they want. If they wanted to issue more money, they would have to obtain more silver.

In addition, to go back on a silver standard, the governement would have to keep in holding, the silver to back all of the paper money that is out there.

The United States has about $850,000,000,000 in circulating currency. Currently silver is at $30 per ounce, so lets say that one dollar = 1/30 ounce of silver. The government would have to buy 38 billion ounces of silver to back the money. Simply put, there is not enough silver to do that.

Another thing to keep in mind - silver is a consumable. It is used, not just in coins and jewelry, but in industrial applications. It is not recycled, it is used up. Although we mine more of it, we use it faster than we mine it. The supply of silver is declining.

Valued Member
United States
354 Posts
 Posted 12/24/2010  5:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Lincolncollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
So, was this a stupid question, or was it a question that maybe many people have on their minds?
Valued Member
United States
354 Posts
 Posted 12/24/2010  5:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Lincolncollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In 1959, when the Lincoln cent changed composition, do you think people were upset that the copper was taken out of the coin?
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