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Using uncurrent minor coins to make new nickels and cents – 1900

6 posts in this topic

The Treasury and US Mints received large quantities of uncurrent minor coins such as “white” cents, large copper cents/half cents and other denominations. This excerpt from the Philadelphia Mint Report of Operations for Fiscal Year 1900 [RG104 E-229 Box 122, page 7] describes how these obsolete coins were used to make new minor coins for circulation.

Notice that careful accounting was required to correctly attribute the costs of added metals.

Members might also find it notable that during the years 88% Cu, 12% Ni alloy was in use, each batch of metal was assayed to be certain the proportions were correct. (All the metal came from outside contractors.) This appears to be the only time base metal coins were routinely assayed.

Use of uncurrent coins.jpg

Edited by RWB
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2 hours ago, Moxie15 said:

Makes one cry to think of $112 face large cents melted down to mint 1900 Indian cents

The old large coppers were not redeemed at face value. The Mint paid only the current value by weight of copper in the coins. It's likely that most of the coins were damaged, corroded or otherwise what we now consider "noncollectable." However, we'll never know if a keg or two of bright new coins were part of the mix.

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1 hour ago, numisport said:

What were "white" cents ? I assume these were copper nickel cents from 1857 though 1864.

Correct. They were commonly called "white cents" when they were in active circulation.

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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

They were also called "nickels" or simply "nicks" until that term was gradually transferred to the five-cent piece introduced in 1866.

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