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1965-1967 pennies/nickels

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I was going back through portions of my collection today, and I realized that even though the "no mint mark" era of coins was initiated to discourage collection/hoarding of coins, 1965-1967 pennies and nickels are the most difficult to find in circulation. 1965 dimes and quarters are excessively easy to find in circulation, probably owing to the 1.6-1.8 billion mintage figure for that year.


Pennies and nickels were not made on this scale, but the figures were not particularly meager. Here's from my Red Book:




1965: 1,497,224,900

1966: 2,188,147,783

1967: 3,048,667,100




1965: 136,131,380

1966: 156,208,283

1967: 107,325,800


Not quite as hefty as certain other years, but they should by no means be considered "rare" or even "scarce." Out of the 50-ish pounds of copper pennies that I've managed to stash away, I have *maybe* 150 from 1967 (compare to 400+ from 1968, a year with comparable mintage figures). 1966 and 1965 are more in the ball park of 75-100. As far as nickels go, I have 10 from 1965, 8 from 1966, and 2 from 1967. Compare to more than 30 1968-S, which should be even more scarce than '67.


I just don't get it. The coins were *designed* to be unappealing to collectors. Proofs were not produced during those three years, and circulating coins were made with relatively cheap dies. So the question is, where are they?

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Lost, destroyed, just plain gone. Just about every site I checked says that the Mint says coins last 25 to 30 years ... and then they all fail to give a reference to a website at usmint.gov. Sheesh. Anyway, accepting that figure, since everything from '65 to '57 is 43 to 45 years old, they're all on borrowed time. As they become worn and mutilated, they will eventually end up back at the Philadelphia Mint for recycling (probably usually through a bank, where the find the ones that won't go through the counting machines anymore), and removed from circulation entirely.


I expect there's a formula that describes that, that I haven't the math to sort out myself, but I bet it would be similar to the way one calculates radioactive half-life.

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I'm sure that a great many coins of all types have been sent back for destruction, but it strikes me as odd that coins from that particular date range would be sent back while other, older coins are still in circulation. Nickels from 1960-1963 are not at all uncommon, and I still have yet to open a single roll that doesn't have at least one 1964 in there.

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I can account for much of the difference in comparison to older coins

and a little of the difference relative later coins. Older coins are saved

out by collectors and the public so tend to wear more slowly as they are

continually recycled into circulation. This will tend to cause them to be

underrepresented but for a much longer time.


The '65 to '67 nickels were horribly made with worn dies and weak

strikes. This tends to mean they thinner and slicker and have a lower

rotational inertia; they just slip away more than well made and less

worn coins.


It's not likely the FED is removing many coins but if your figures are ac-

curate it might suggest that they are removing the thinnest nickels. This

would mean these exact issues because of the weak strikes and years of



If this is actually the case your coins of this date will average noticably

better condition than 1968 to '70 coins.

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I see a fair number of the cents in my box searches, but when I searched the nickel box the other day did not see too many of them - but did pull a '43-S out of the wild - and gave it a loving home.

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