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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 18, April 30, 2006, Article 20

CANADIAN CENTS ALSO VULNERABLE TO MELTING

Dick Johnson writes: "Rising metal prices are making copper and
zinc coins worldwide vulnerable. Will numismatics forever lose minor
coins to the melting pot? Could be. But not for the moment.

A decade or two in the past it was the precious-metal coins that
were melted in vast numbers for their metal content. Shortly we could
face a similar mass destruction for coins of lesser value even with
base metal compositions. But we could still have enough coins around
for collectors.

A Canadian writer, Robert Sheppard, reporting on the CBC, responded
to the New York Times article (see last week’s E-Sylum) that the U.S.
cent is costing 1.4 cent to make at current metal costs. He analyzed
Canadian cents since their composition differs from the U.S. cent
(which converted to a copper coated zinc in 1982). It wasn’t until
1996 that Canadians solved the problem with a cent composition of 94
percent steel, 1.5 percent nickel and 4.5 percent copper.

He pointed out, however, that all Canadian cents prior to 1996 were
98 percent copper. They are vulnerable to melting for their copper
content. If his figures are correct he said a ton of pre-1996 Canadian
cents would be $4,081.63 face. A ton of copper is selling around $7,000
(and the Chinese are buying). But don’t start smelting coins in your
backyard."

For a transcription of his interesting broadcast, see: Transcription

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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