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Coins still in circulation


WildJon
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OK, here's something I've pondered for a while and wondered if anybody else had any opinions on this.

 

What percentage of coins from a certain denomination and year would I expect to still be "available" either in circulation or from collectors. I guess what I'm asking is; we know what the mintage of a certain coin is. Ten years down the road, how many can we expect to still be available? 20 years, 50 years, 100 years...

 

There are many factors that affect the populations, metal composition, and denomination. Silver coins could have been melted down for their silver content. Pennies that are dropped accidentally, say in a garbage can or something may be deemed too worthless to try to dig out.

 

I get bulk lots of coins and study the spread of years that I get in my bulk lots to get some ideas. With my Canadian penny lots, I still get coins that are 60 years old, but never get any older ones. I know this doesn't mean they don't exist, but I wonder if I could estimate how many are still out there.

 

Thoughts?

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Metallic/composition change is usually the big factor, with design changes further back.

 

To use Canadian cents as an example:

1c George V (1920-36) - Extremely rare in circulation. 99%+ chance it was taken from a set (unfortunately, probably stolen)

1c George VI (1937-52) - 1:1000 or so when I used to search rolls a few years ago.

1c Elizabeth II Obv. 1 (1953-64) - 1:50 or so (but most that show up are '62-64)

1c 1967 - 1:150 or so

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Metallic/composition change is usually the big factor, with design changes further back.

 

To use Canadian cents as an example:

1c George V (1920-36) - Extremely rare in circulation. 99%+ chance it was taken from a set (unfortunately, probably stolen)

1c George VI (1937-52) - 1:1000 or so when I used to search rolls a few years ago.

1c Elizabeth II Obv. 1 (1953-64) - 1:50 or so (but most that show up are '62-64)

1c 1967 - 1:150 or so

 

 

The only time I have gotten a GV cent was a 1933 when I was in High School. I have gotten and still get occasional GVI's in change, and the young head QEII's are so common I spend them still, but as you note most of them are 1963-4.

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This question is actually answerable but would require quite a bit of time so I'll try the short version.

 

Attrition rates vary from 6 or 8% for cents to around 3% for quarters. This is caused by many factors from how much people value the coins to how easily lost they are. About half of the 40 year old 1965 quarters are gone and the bulk of those remaining in circulation are in VG condition. There are another about 1 1/2 million that are set aside still in unc and a few in higher grades. The numbers still existing in unc varies very widely due to many factors but can be as low as about 80,000 for the '82-P to as high as about 12,000,000 for a bicentennial issue. The number surviving in circulation is primarily dependent on age but there are a few anomylies caused by the way the coins were released to the way the FED rotates their coins. There are also some variations caused by the nature of the coins themselves such as the low rims on '84 issues leading to more damage and loss or the '70-D issues struck on dime stock with high attrition because they don't work in vending machines.

 

Circulation should be defined as the random movement of coins since those which attract public or collector interest are far less likely to move randomly. With this definition there are no wheat cents or silver coins which have been in continuous circulation. All these coins have spent large portions of their lives in hordes or accululations. They either escaped accidently or the owner simply got tired of holding them so they were spent. Silver coins won't even work in vending machines any more so they will be culled out quickly. You'll note that most all of these old coins found in circulation will be very high grade. This is because they aren't truly in circulation, merely on their way to the next accumulation.

 

Attrition rates have a tendency to increase over time because of the effect of inflation on peoples' estimation of value and because inflation erodes their value and increases their velocity. Worn coins are a little more likely to be lost because of a lower coefficient of friction and smaller size.

 

Mintages in the hundreds of millions will still be common even after a hundred years though survivors are forever getting thinner and thinner.

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I have noticed with British bronze and copper plate steel coinage (i.e 1p and 2p coins), that the vast bulk of coins recieved in change are from the 1998-2005 period. Early 90s make up alot of the rest with 1971s loitering behind.

 

As for the 1980s and the non-1971 coins from the 70s well they don't tend to be that regular.

 

 

Say you have 20p in pennies. About 10 of them will be post 1998, 5 of them will date from the 1990s and the remaining five will be pre-90s.

 

I think this has got alot to do with them simply being lost or corroding to such a point that when being sorted through at banks they are simply removed. Although it should be noted different regions in the UK will turn up different results.

 

Take the case of the seldom seen 1988 £1 coin, in Yorkshire and Lancashire if you get one in a year your having a good year. Elsewhere people have got two in a row (one one day and one the next) without even looking for one. Two years since i saw one last in circulation!

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