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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Coin tidbits

Ridged coins


According to the United States mint, ridged or "reeded" edges serve two purposes.

Originally, reeded edges made coins harder to counterfeit, they also prevented people from filing down or "clipping" the coins.

In 1793, the first U.S. coins were linked to a silver standard. A half dollar contained half as much silver as a silver dollar, a quarter contained one-fourth, and so on. The ridged edges prevented people from skimming the coins' edges for extra silver. Over a short time they would have a pile of silver or gold shavings and the coins returned to circulation would be light, but still, usually accepted at face value.

While coins these days aren't made of precious metals, the government decided to keep the reeded edges on certain coins to help the visually impaired. The dime and the penny, for example, are roughly the same size, so the ridges help people distinguish them.
Bonus fact: The movie cliche of biting a gold coin is not to verify that it is real gold. Gold coins are tooth-breakingly hard. The practice was to check for another nasty gold-thieving technique of hollowing out coins. If a coin collapsed when bit, you knew it had been emptied of it's core values.



Tired Teacher said...

Interesting facts. I had NO idea.

Debbie said...

cool info!! the hubs and i visited the mint, in washington, d.c., i did not pay much attention as i was museumed out!!!

my dad had a huge coin collection, i have a small one!!!

Lady Di Tn said...

I love reading your post as I often come away so much smarter. Keep giving us facts to improve our gray matter. Peace

Tracy Batchelder said...

Very interesting!