You know how occasionally a scientist will take a random sample of something just to see the current state of a given thing. I decided to take a random sample of cent rolls in my area just to see what I'd get. We're in the Dayton, OH area, so I went to a branch of a local credit union and asked for 10 rolls. They came back with what looked like 10 machine-wrapped rolls (very tightly wrapped paper rolls, not home-use tubes or plastic shrink, or straight-from-the-mint packaging). Great, these will be circulated coins gathered at teller counters or coin-counting machines and could include anything. I picked one of the 10 based on it having a couple of circulated memorial-back cents visible on the ends instead of shiny new 2019 shield-backs. Here are the results:
1 - 1956D wheat cent in at least VF-20 condition
6 - copper Memorial cents from the 1960s-'70s
0 - 1980-82 copper Memorial cents
25 - zinc Memorial cents from the 1982-2008 era (incl. 1 1982 small date)
0 - 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial cents
15 - zinc Shield reverse cents from the 2010s
3 - Canadian small cents (1979, 1984, 1999)
At the current exchange rate the credit union made 1.5% profit on my withdrawal by including the Canadian cents. I have potentially lost 6% though, because some stores won't accept them. However, I am a member of the credit union, so I suppose I'll get it back as my share values increase from their profit-making... (Of course, I could scrap the 2 copper ones for maybe $0.05...)
14% of the roll was still US copper. I was hoping to find more, but I can't say I'm surprised I didn't. I need a bunch of 1960s-'70s Memorial backs to help our coin club kids fill Whitman No. 2 folders and some other projects. I'm not sure which is affecting the odds of finding copper Memorial backs more: the overproduction of zinc coins since 1982; natural population reduction from loss or damage; collectors pulling them for their collections; or copper hoarders turning them in for the higher-than-face-value scrap price.
The wheat cent surprised me; I was not expecting to find any of those, especially in decent condition. I was hoping to find a Lincoln Bicentennial for a kid I know. Well, I still have 9 more rolls to search. We'll see what else turns up.
24 days ago
I know this is just one roll, but do copper Memorial backs seem more scarce to anyone? Feel free to search a random roll and post your results just for fun...