The U.S. Mint began withdrawal in 1945, and in 20 years retrieved 163 million, or about 14.9 percent of the steel cents in circulation. Some 900,000,000 are still out there. Apparently they were turned over to private smelters to be melted down. One instance of this was reported in 1959 when the Philadelphia Mint disposed of 1,250,000 of the steelies by giving them to a steel company that melted them down in exchange for the steel content.
Are there any early examples of world coins that had mintage figures in the billions?
One figure from close to home, the Mexico City Mint struck over 1.5 billion 8 reales in the centuries it was used.
Wasn’t a large quantity of the large cents used to make bells?
According to a quote from a Troy, N.Y., coin dealer, a firm in Watervliet, N.Y., contracted with the Mint to purchase all the recalled large cents and used the metal to cast bells. The stories connected with the firm indicate that at times there were barrels of the coins sitting in the yard waiting to be sent to the foundry. Another source cites kegs of large cents melted down to make stove parts (water tank liners) at the Glenwood Range Co. in Taunton, Mass.
Has the U.S. Mint ever coated or treated the coins it sells to collectors?
About the only incident I’m aware of that would fit your question was some research conducted following the introduction of the copper-plated zinc cents in 1982. The serious problems resulting from the zinc corroding led to studies of the possibility of using a lacquer – as old-time coin collectors did – or some other coating to protect the proof cents from the air. The intent was to either install the equipment or farm the job out to a private firm, but apparently better cleaning methods for the zinc prior to plating made the extra step unnecessary, or uneconomical.
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Can I write to each mint and get examples of their coins?
A popular question with an unpopular answer. If you visit each mint you can buy souvenir sets and other numismatic items over the counter, but you cannot order coins by mail except by getting on the Mint mailing list.
Did the switch from silver coinage to clad coins in 1965 make any changes in the seigniorage?
The switch caused substantial changes thanks to the use of inexpensive copper and nickel instead of silver. Seigniorage is the difference (government profit) between the value of the metal, processing and the face value of the coins. Even without any dollar coins, the seigniorage jumped by more than 1,000 percent in the first full year of clad coinage. In a single given month, it jumped from $13.7 million for silver coin production to $143.7 million for clad coins.
What is a casting board?
A casting board is an early form of the accounting system used to do mathematical reckoning. The board had a series of lines, each representing a decimal unit, 1, 10, 100, 1,000, etc. A jeton placed on the line represented the number, while one placed between the lines equaled half the value of the next higher line, as 5, 50, 500, etc. By moving the jetons about it was possible to add and subtract quite large numbers.
Were all dates punched into U.S. dies with four-digit logo punches?
The number of digits on the logo punches varied from two to four. Examination of various coins of the mid and late 1800s shows evidence of the different number of digits from the placement and style of the numbers.