Gary Beals lives in Spain and is the author of Numiscadero, the 354-page Spanish-English Numismatic Dictionary. He submitted this follow-up to his May 2016 article on that lowly coinage
metal, zinc. Thanks. -Editor
I told you zinc was lousy as a coin material back in May, 2016.
Now look: I found this 2001 2 centimo Euro coin in a crack of the ancient Roman aqueduct of Segovia, Spain (a 5 minute walk from our apartment). Someone thought it would be clever to hide a
coin in one of the deeper seams of the 1900 year old granite structure.
As you can see, the zinc sort of exploded into decay over the years after being exposed to moisture and some cold and heat. The copper plating on both sides is in good shape so the date and other
details are clearly readable.
This coin wreck proves the report that you can dissolve the zinc out of a U.S. cent or a 1 or 2 Euro centimo coin leaving a fragile copper shell. As this snapshot shows, while the inner zinc has
gone to pot, the copper faces of the coin are still preserved. Coins in the fountain? Bad idea. Zinc begins corroding in 48 hours. No wonder many banks refuse to accept corroded coins at full face
A point from the "Zinc, you stink" article of 2016 –
Zinc is the cheap grey metal that is the material of choice when a government looks to make a near valueless coin. The thought of not making a coin so valueless does not seem to enter the minds of
governmental leaders worldwide. Zinc is an apology by a government too cheap to produce a copper coin and too cowardly to abandon that now useless coin that no citizen really wants or uses.
The second photo is Gary in Roman garb in front of Segovia's Roman aqueduct. Thanks. If Roman coins had been made of zinc there would be few left to collect and study today. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
GARY BEALS: ZINC, YOU STINK! (https://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v19n22a13.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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