Tag: Coins

Pique the Geek 20100801: Lincoln One Cent Pieces

Many of you who read my posts regularly know that I am a very dedicated numismatist, and that I have written many posts about coin collecting.  I have also written about the history of United States coins extensively.

What you may not know is that I specialize in Lincoln one cent pieces, minted from 1909 to the present day.  This is the longest running series of all United States coins by a large margin, lasting 101 years now with little change on the obverse, but with some.

This post will let you know a bit more about them, and also some of my passion for what most people think of as something insignificant.  They are far from insignificant.

Pique the Geek 20100418: US Coin Alloys (With Poll!)

Coins minted by the United States have change dramatically in design, size, denominations, and alloy since the birth of the Republic.  Whilst the basic units of dollars, cents, and mills has not changed, the relative value of these units is quite different than in 1794, when the first US coin was minted.

The most significant change, other than appearance, in US coins is that over the centuries, our coins have gone from being items of intrinsic value (gold, silver, and copper mainly) to becoming tokens.  This has been the general worldwide trend for coinage.  One reason is that there is simply not enough gold and silver to go around for coinage any more.

Pique the Geek 20091122. US Coin Facts

United States coins have traditionally been forged and minted with gold, silver, and copper.  Very small amounts of other metals have also been added to improve the wearing properties of the coins.

Gold, silver, and copper, in their pure states, are actually too soft to make good coins, in that they wear must too fast.  The chemistry of good alloys is a fascinating part of numismatics, the study of coins.