Coin weights [29-apr-09]

It's not MAD science...just disappointed.

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Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby Average on Fri May 29, 2009 1:30 am

I'm surprised Citizen Danny hadn't noticed that beauty before. Also, half-dollars (Kennedy) and old-fashioned dollar coins (the Eisenhower ones in the 1970s most recently) fit the pattern. A remnant from our "carrying actual silver" days.

Before the US civil war (and until the 1920s in Canada), the five-cent piece was called a 'half dime'. And, yes, it was half the volume of a present-day dime. And, yes, that was every bit as annoying as that sounds.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby bloodeye on Fri May 29, 2009 6:43 am

So how does the penny/nickel ratio fit, and does it matter if the pennies are older, aka, pure copper rather then zinc filled? (not that you see many of those anymore)

And while I'm sure the dollar bill has a rather high $/gram ration, am curious as to how high.... (vaugely tempted to try and find out for myself, but am lazy, and lack an accurate scale for measurements of that size.)

As for Danny's question, I presonal would suggest spending the dimes first, as it consolidates the actual number of coins.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby MaxJenius on Fri May 29, 2009 12:55 pm

I also say spend dimes first too. Practical reasons... for instance, video game machines won't take dimes....

It's easier to count 4 quarters than it is 10 dimes to come up with a dollar.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby CodeGuy on Sat May 30, 2009 7:20 am

I say spend the various coins evenly, leaning towards higher denominations first. If you run out of quarters and your bill ends in 50 cents, you can give them five dimes. If you run out of dimes and all you have is quarters, a bill that ends in 20 cents results in you getting 80 cents *more* change handed back to you.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby CodeGuy on Sat May 30, 2009 7:24 am

Oh, and the penny should just be done away with. Going by inflation, a nickel today is worth what a penny was worth in 1971. We didn't need a "fifth of a cent" piece in 1971, so we don't need a penny now.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby bloodeye on Sat May 30, 2009 7:47 am

I'm inclined to disagree. A lack of penny would increase the rate of inflation, as any increase in price would have to be 5 times greater then the current minimal amount.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby Gav on Sat May 30, 2009 1:07 pm

It's always funny to see which random facts generate the most feedback.

I'm sure it's no coincidence, but I was amazed when I weighed five dimes and two quarters and got almost exactly 11.3 grams for each (they were about 0.05 grams different, which is probably within "dirt uncertainty"). Actually, I think I'll check the "inefficiency" of pennies and nickels when I'm back at work on Monday.

It was pointed out to me, though, at work while I was doing this that of course it's more important to spend your money such that you won't get nickels back. So this is really only a problem when the change amount is over 50 cents.

I agree we should do away with pennies. Many European nations have dropped the Eurocent (or, rather, never incorporated it in the first place) and people are happier that way. But we also need to drop this stupid idea of "adding tax." Tax should just be included in prices. And then get rid of this stupid psych trick of making a five dollar item $4.99, and then we'd never have a need for pennies in the first place. I'd be a happier person if my financial life were just integers.

I've heard a dollar bill weighs about a gram, giving it a $1/gram money density (I'll test that on Monday), versus the dime/quarter's 4 cents/gram money density.

There are some groovy websites out there with lots of comparisons of this stuff. You'd be amazed at what a rip-off printer ink is, for instance (more expensive per gram than gold, I believe). And someone pointed out that a gram of cocaine costs about $50, so a fifty dollar bill has the same money density as coke. Think about that when you're snorting your blow with a rolled-up L-note.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby turgenev on Sat May 30, 2009 5:57 pm

Yes! Originally everything from dimes on up were made of silver. In fact, all the money was silver: a dollar, or thaler, was a coin of a specific weight (8g or so) of silver. Half dimes were also originally silver and half that size, but change to a copper/nickel alloy during the civil war. At this time they also achieved their present size and weight, which is, not coincidentally, also 5g. They got the nickname 'nickel' to contrast the new alloy with the pure (at that time) copper 1-cent piece, what we call the 'penny'. Interestingly, 'penny' and 'nickel' are unofficial names, unlike dime, quarter, half dollar, etc. 'Penny' is a hold-over from the days of British colonialism, when a penny was a piece of money.

Originally dollars could be made of silver and still held to a gold standard, since the ratio of the gold supply to the silver supply was fairly consistent. The discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada changed that forever, dumping tons of silver on the market. This lowered the value of silver, but since a dollar of silver could buy the same amount of gold it could before, the dollar was now worth more than the silver that made it up. This continued for the rest of the 19th century and much of the 20th, as the Democratic Party campaigned on the promise of "silver money": they would take the country off the gold standard and stick to silver. This would devalue the currency and make it easier for midwestern and southern farmers, the Democrats' biggest voting block, to repay loans.

The whole debate became moot when we stopped using silver for coins in the 1950s and ended completely when Nixon took us off the gold standard.

Interesting note for those who read all that: the Kennedy silver dollars are actually only silver plated, underneath it's a copper/nickel sandwich like quarters. The silver-plated Kennedys didn't come into circulation until after all other silver coins had been taken out.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby turgenev on Sat May 30, 2009 6:03 pm

Yes! Originally everything from dimes on up were made of silver. In fact, all the money was silver: a dollar, or thaler, was a coin of a specific weight (8g or so) of silver. Half dimes were also originally silver and half that size, but change to a copper/nickel alloy during the civil war. At this time they also achieved their present size and weight, which is, not coincidentally, also 5g. They got the nickname 'nickel' to contrast the new alloy with the pure (at that time) copper 1-cent piece, what we call the 'penny'. Interestingly, 'penny' and 'nickel' are unofficial names, unlike dime, quarter, half dollar, etc. 'Penny' is a hold-over from the days of British colonialism, when a penny was a piece of money.

Originally dollars could be made of silver and still held to a gold standard, since the ratio of the gold supply to the silver supply was fairly consistent. The discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada changed that forever, dumping tons of silver on the market. This lowered the value of silver, but since a dollar of silver could buy the same amount of gold it could before, the dollar was now worth more than the silver that made it up. This continued for the rest of the 19th century and much of the 20th, as the Democratic Party campaigned on the promise of "silver money": they would take the country off the gold standard and stick to silver. This would devalue the currency and make it easier for midwestern and southern farmers, the Democrats' biggest voting block, to repay loans.

The whole debate became moot when we stopped using silver for coins in the 1950s and ended completely when Nixon took us off the gold standard.

Interesting note for those who read all that: the Kennedy silver dollars are actually only silver plated, underneath it's a copper/nickel sandwich like quarters. The silver-plated Kennedys didn't come into circulation until after all other silver coins had been taken out.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby towr on Sun May 31, 2009 7:14 am

bloodeye wrote:I'm inclined to disagree. A lack of penny would increase the rate of inflation, as any increase in price would have to be 5 times greater then the current minimal amount.
But it might take 5 times longer to increase, which would decrease inflation.
Inflation hasn't increased here more or less since we (mostly) got rid of 1 and 2 cent euro pieces. They're still officially currency, I think, but we've collectively decided not to use them. Which, come to think of it, doesn't mean that our prices are rounded to 5 cents; the total simply gets rounded at the register. So if you buy 3 items that cost 0.99 euros, you pay 2.95. Sometimes you gain a cent or two, sometimes you lose a cent or two. And even then, only if you pay cash.

[edit]Actually, isn't there a similar system in the some stores in the US, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take_a_pen ... ve_a_penny ? It comes down to pretty much the same thing. [/edit]

Gav wrote:Many European nations have dropped the Eurocent (or, rather, never incorporated it in the first place) and people are happier that way.
I think only Finland gave up on it in the first week or so. It took us (in the Netherlands) quite a bit longer. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_(currency) we're the only two Euro countries that rarely use them. I'm not sure 2 qualifies as many ;)
Before the Euro, our smallest value coin had also been 5ct for a long while, but the 5ct euro piece is worth 2.2 times as much as our old denomination; so that's probably why it took a bit longer to abandon the 1 and 2 euro cent pieces.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby CodeGuy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:15 am

bloodeye wrote:I'm inclined to disagree. A lack of penny would increase the rate of inflation, as any increase in price would have to be 5 times greater then the current minimal amount.


Why would it increase prices?

Rounding out to the nearest 5 cents wouldn't actually cost any more than rounding out to the nearest cent. A price would round down just as often as it rounds up. That's because sales tax is a percentage, so everything we buy is already calculated to a fraction of a cent and rounded. So on average, things would work out to the same price.

Prices would actually go down slightly. All the stuff that costs $x.99 would change to $x.95.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby bloodeye on Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:31 am

Rounding? Have to make sure all the registers can do it automatically. Hard enough to get correct change as it is....
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby CodeGuy on Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:59 am

They already do rounding automatically. All registers handle the sales tax, which is a percentage and creates fractional results.
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby KevinHall11 on Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:46 pm

As long as we're talking about eliminating the penny, why don't we just do away with the second decimal place? Instead of saying something is 50 cents, you could say it costs 5 dimes. $3.70 would become $3.7. Really, there's no particular reason why we should use exactly two decimal places. The stock market uses three, and certain European countries don't use any (Czech Republic).

If we're all interested in complicating this matter, why don't we talk about circulation-weight-loss, whereby coins will slowly lose mass as they're passed hand to hand. If dimes and quarters have the same weight/value ratio at mint is not the point, because they don't go into my pocket directly from the mint. What is the average age of each coin before it's destroyed, lost, or somehow else taken out of circulation? How much mass does each denomination lose, on average, per year?
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Re: Coin weights [29-apr-09]

Postby Redmold on Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:00 am

In New Zealand, we stopped using the one and two cent coins a long time ago, without suffering any negative results. We recently stopped using the five, as well, although we still mark prices to 2 d.p. out of custom, and it hasn't stopped that stupid "$4.99" practice. The way the US apparently handles sales tax confuses me, I would expect to pay the listed price for an item. Can someone explain the reason behind that?
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