Are you curious how much your coins weigh?
Do dimes weigh more than pennies? What are half dollars made of? Do dollar coins have a unique edge?
While this information may not have everyday applications, it is helpful in certain situations.
Perhaps you’re learning about U.S. coins in school, solving math problems relating to coins, or even preparing for a smuggling operation. That’s a total joke, don’t do that! What would even be the purpose?
Anyways, did you know you can also weigh coins to count them? Well, if you know their weight, that is, of course.
In fact, if you’ve ever taken coins to a coin counting machine, that’s how they accurately calculate how much they’re worth and how much they need to pay you.
Most advanced coin counting machines determine the denominations of your coins by their weight and then calculate the total dollar value.
That said, this article will cover everything you need to know about U.S. coins; their weight, size, thickness, composition, and even edge. We’ll also briefly discuss some of their histories.
Coin Weights, Sizes, Thickness, Composition, and Edge
Source: United States Mint
|1.52 mm||Copper Plated Zinc|
|Half Dollar||50¢||11.34 g|
|Dollar Coin||$1||8.1 g|
How Much Do Coins Weigh?
The weight of U.S. coins depends on a few factors: their diameter, thickness, and what they’re made of. As a result, U.S. coins made from different materials with different diameters and thicknesses will obviously weigh different amounts.
These characteristics of U.S. coins are determined by laws the United States Congress passes and are approved by the president.
The establishment of denominations and their specifications that the Treasury Department directs the U.S. Mint to manufacture resulted from the April 2, 1792, Coinage Act.
That said, below are specifications for pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollar coins! We also cover a bit of their history.
Fun fact: Nickels are the only U.S. coins in circulation that aren’t clad. Clad coins – pennies, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollar coins – all have an inner core of metal that is surrounded by an outer layer consisting of a different metal.
The very first penny was struck a year after the U.S. Mint was opened in 1792 and was almost the same size as a half dollar! In fact, the penny was so big that it was difficult to use and, as a result, got the nickname “large cent.”
It wasn’t until 50 years later, in 1857, that a smaller penny replaced it.
How Much Does a Penny Weigh?
Pennies weigh 2.5 grams (0.088 oz) each.
However, pennies made before 1982 weigh 3.1 grams (0.109 oz). This results from their composition being different from the modern penny we see today.
What Is the Diameter of a Penny?
A penny’s width is also its diameter. That said, the diameter of a penny is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm).
How Thick Is a Penny?
The thickness of a penny is 1.52 mm.
What are Pennies Made of?
Pennies are made of an inner core of zinc and an outer layer of copper. The inner core of zinc makes up 97.6% of a penny, with only 2.4% being copper.
However, this has changed over time. When the Lincoln penny was first minted in 1909, it consisted of 100% copper. It wasn’t until a copper shortage during WW2 that pennies started being made from zinc-coated steel.
After the war, pennies began being made of 5% zinc and 95% copper, which lasted until 1982, when they started being made as they are today.
The first 5-cent coin, “half-dime,” was produced until 1873 and was made of silver. Oddly enough, this was despite the fact that the nickel version of this coin had already been created in 1866.
As a result, both of these coins were in circulation together for more than 6 years.
How Much Does a Nickel Weigh?
Both modern and buffalo nickels weigh 5 grams (0.176 oz) each.
What Is the Diameter of a Nickel?
A nickel’s diameter is 0.835 inches (21.21 mm).
That said, shield nickels, and older version of the nickel, are a bit thinner. A shield nickel’s diameter is 0.807 inches (20.5 mm).
How Thick Is a Nickel?
The thickness of a nickel is 1.95 mm.
What are Nickels Made of?
As a result of a metal shortage during WW2, nickels were made of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese for a bit of time.
The nickels in circulation today are made of a cupro-nickel mix of 75% copper and 25% nickel.
The United States Mint made the first dime in 1796. Liberty was shown on the obverse, and an eagle was shown on the reverse, on dime designs from 1796 to 1837.
How Much Does a Dime Weigh?
Dimes weigh 2.268 grams (0.08 oz) each.
What Is the Diameter of a Dime?
A dime’s diameter is 0.705 inches (17.91 mm).
How Thick Is a Dime?
The thickness of a dime 1.35 mm.
What are Dimes Made of?
Prior to 1965, dimes were comprised of 10% copper and 90% silver. However, they are now made of cupro-nickel, which is only 8.33% nickel and 91.67% copper.
The first quarter was produced in 1796 by the U.S. mint and was made of silver. Similar to other silver coins, quarters during this time did not show their value.
How Much Does a Quarter Weigh?
Quarters weigh 5.67 grams (0.2 oz) each.
What Is the Diameter of a Quarter?
A quarter’s diameter is 0.955 inches (24.26 mm).
How Thick Is a Quarter?
A quarter is 1.75 mm thick.
What are Quarters Made of?
Prior to 1965, quarters were composed of 10% copper and 90% silver. Because of this, they were worth more than $0.25.
However, they are now made of cupro-nickel alloy, which is 8.33% nickel and 91.67% copper.
Half Dollar Specifications:
The U.S. Mint began manufacturing half dollars for circulation in 1794. For more than 150 years, the obverse of half dollars was a woman representing liberty and was shown in different poses.
How Much Does a Half Dollar Weigh?
Half dollars weigh 11.34 grams (0.40 oz) each.
What Is the Diameter of a Half Dollar?
A half dollar’s diameter is 1.205 inches (30.61 mm).
How Thick Is a Half Dollar?
The thickness of a half dollar is 2.15 mm.
What are Half Dollars Made of?
Before 1964, half dollars were 10% copper and 90% silver. However, from 1965 to 1970, they were made of 60% copper and 40% silver.
It wasn’t until 1971 that the composition of half dollars was changed to cupro-nickel alloy, which is composed of 25% nickel and 75% copper.
Dollar Coin Specifications:
The U.S. first began minting dollar coins in 1794, and their specifications have changed drastically over the years.
While true gold dollar coins are no longer produced, the United States Mint still produces the Native American dollar series.
How Much Does a Dollar Coin Weigh?
Dollar coins weigh 8.1 grams (0.286 oz) each.
What Is the Diameter of a Dollar Coin
A dollar coin’s diameter is 1.043 inches (26.49 mm).
How Thick Is a Dollar Coin?
The thickness of a dollar coin is 2.00 mm.
What are Dollar Coins Made of?
Because of their color, you may have thought dollar coins were made of gold or at least had a gold coating. However, that’s not the case.
Dollar coins are made of manganese-brass alloy, which gives them their golden color. This manganese-brass alloy comprises 77% copper, 12% zinc, 7% manganese, and 4% nickel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few frequently asked questions about the weight of U.S. coins:
What US Coin Weighs the Most?
Weighing in at 155.517 grams with a 76.2 mm diameter, the 2019 Apollo 50th anniversary 5 ounce Silver Dollar is the heaviest coin the United States has ever minted.
How Much Do Rolls of Coins Weigh?
Here is how much a roll of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters weigh:
- Roll of pennies: 125 grams (4.4 oz)
- Roll of nickels: 200 grams (7 oz)
- Roll of dimes: 113.4 grams (4 oz)
- Roll of quarters: 226.8 grams (8 oz)
How Much Does a $50 Bag of Pennies Weigh?
A $50 bag of pennies weighs 12,500 grams (440.92 oz).
The Math: (50 x 100 pennies) x 2.5 grams per penny = 12,500 grams
How Much Does $100 Worth of Quarters Weigh?
$100 worth of quarters weighs 2,268 grams (80.71 oz)
The Math: (100 / 0.25) x 5.67 grams per quarter = 2,268 grams