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 The Composition of the Cent
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Copper Catcher
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Posted - 04/25/2010 :  18:47:21  Show Profile Send Copper Catcher a Private Message
Following is a brief chronology of the metal composition of the cent coin (penny):

The composition was pure copper from 1793 to 1837.
From 1837 to 1857, the cent was made of bronze (95 percent copper, and five percent tin and zinc).

From 1857, the cent was 88 percent copper and 12 percent nickel, giving the coin a whitish appearance.

The cent was again bronze (95 percent copper, and five percent tin and zinc) from 1864 to 1962.

(Note: In 1943, the coin's composition was changed to zinc-coated steel. This change was only for the year 1943 and was due to the critical use of copper for the war effort. However, a limited number of copper pennies were minted that year.

You can read more about the rare, collectible 1943 copper penny in "What's So Special about the 1943 Copper Penny.)
You must be logged in to see this link.

In 1962, the cent's tin content, which was quite small, was removed. That made the metal composition of the cent 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc.

The alloy remained 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc until 1982, when the composition was changed to 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper (copper-plated zinc). Cents of both compositions appeared in that year.

Source: You must be logged in to see this link.

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Copper Catcher
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USA
2092 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2010 :  18:56:06  Show Profile Send Copper Catcher a Private Message
Penny Facts:

U.S. Coins have an expected circulation life of 30 years.

The U.S. Mint produces 1040 pennies per second, which adds up to 30 million per day. This is over two-thirds of all the coins produced by the U.S. Mint.

It is estimated there may be 150 billion pennies in circulation.
Today the United States has four mints, which produce coins. These are in Philadelphia, PA; Denver, CO; San Francisco, CA; and West Point, NY. However, only Denver and Philadelphia produce coins for general circulation. The others make proofs sets and do specialty minting.

A "Mint Mark" near the date can identify the mint, which produced a coin. Denver stamps a "D" on the coin and Philadelphia stamps a "P" on the coin but on the penny leaves it blank. Thus a penny with no mint mark was made in Philadelphia.

In 1974, as a test, there were 1,579,324 Pennies made of pure Aluminum struck (produced) by the U.S. Mint. These were never circulated and most were later destroyed.

The original small copper cent was released in 1864. It featured an Indian Head on the front and Olive Wreath on the back.

The Lincoln Penny was the first U.S. Coin to feature a historic figure, The original Lincoln Head Penny was designed in 1909. This was the 100th anniversary of his birth. The original design had Lincoln on the front (obverse) and Wheat shafts on the back (reverse). In 1959 the penny was redesigned to include the Lincoln Memorial on the back. This was the 150 year anniversary of Lincoln's birthday.


Source:
Americans for Common Cents, 2001, You must be logged in to see this link.

The Official Red Book, "Guide to US Coins", 55th Edition 2002, St Martin's Press, Copyright 2001.

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