Monday, April 14, 2008


I’m going to tell you something that you might not know about our

little copper friend, the penny.

And that’s just it… they aren’t copper.

Whoa! Calm down, calm down.

The world isn’t upside down. Unless maybe you’re in China, where we’d be talking about juan, jiao and fens. And we Americans would be the ones upside down. So, I guess, depending on your perspective, the world is upside down.

Anyway, the penny used to be made out of copper, but, since 1983, Lincoln head cents have been made with 97% zinc. The other three percent? Copper!!!


So there. Feel better? There actually is some copper in the penny.

So I’m sure now you’re wanting confirmation that a nickel is made out of nickel. Don’t worry, it is.


In fact, 25% of a nickel is made out of nickel. And…

…wait! A quarter of the nickel is nickel? There’s a quarter in a nickel? So what’s in the other three quarters? Well, copper, of course. Huh? A nickel has more copper than a penny??!! This doesn’t make cents, er, sense.

Hey. I’m just the messenger.

Can you take more? There’s even more copper in the quarter than in the penny! The quarter used to be almost all silver, but since 1965, over 90% is copper, the rest nickel.

I know you’re stunned. A quarter is made out of nickel and has more copper than a penny? Boy, this would mess up the exchange rate if it ever got out.

So how about the dime?

Well, it’s partially made out of nickel (8%), and the rest is copper. Now you’d think that since there are two nickels in every dime, then a dime would be 50% nickel, and 50%, uh, another nickel; but it just doesn’t work that way.

Okay, so let’s review.

There are twenty-five pennies, which are no longer made out of copper, in every quarter, which is 90% copper. Two nickels go into every dime, but a dime is mostly made up of copper, which is what pennies used to be made of. A quarter is mostly copper, but doesn’t go into a dime, which is also copper, but also partly nickel.

If you took all twenty-five pennies that go into a quarter, and melted them, you might have enough copper to make a quarter, but you couldn’t make a quarter because you wouldn’t have enough nickel.

A dime, two nickels and five pennies equals a quarter, and if you melt them down, you might get enough copper and nickel to make a quarter, unless it was an old quarter, which used to be made out of silver, in which case you’d have nothing.

Not only does a nickel go into a quarter, but there is a quarter nickel in every nickel. And though a nickel is 20% of a quarter, a quarter is only 8% nickel. There’s some nickel in every nickel, and in every dime and quarter, but not in the penny. The penny was copper, but isn’t anymore, and nowadays is made out of ….

... uh, oh, that's right ...zinc.

There is no such thing as a zinckel.

The Adventures of Guy ... written by a guy (probably)
The Next Adventures of Guy ... more wackiness
The Heat of the Moment

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