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Interesting comparison: durability of clad coins vs. 90% silver

Larbear2

Well-known member
Last Friday I drove to a fresh water lake to search a boat launch/swimming area. This particular lake has some brackish water, kind of marsh like in certain areas. I think the mineral content might be high as some of the clad comes out with corrosion, some kind of a crusty dried powder look. I was using my AT PRO and managed to find a last year (‘45) mercury dime and almost four dollars in clad.
Although the merc dime has obviously been in the water for a much longer period of time, it came out looking better than the clad coins. Yes, it is dark gray in color, almost black, but that is what silver does from being in water. There is no corrosion or whitish crusty powder on the merc, it actually has some good detail on it, might be kinda hard see in the photograph. Silver coins rock!
image.jpg
 

Ronstar

Well-known member
And rumor has it zincolns and nickels may be discontinued. Zinc getting to point its worth more than a penny and nickel being stockpiled for military use.
 

Picketwire

Well-known member
If you could legally melt copper pennies they would be worth about 3 cents each. A nickel is worth about 16 cents each melt value. However there is a huge fine for melting either one while they are still legal tender.
 

Larbear2

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies everyone. I tumbled the merc dime, I think it turned out very good. It’s a nice looking coin. The clad coins in the picture I tossed in the trash, they were too heavily damaged to try and save.
image.jpg
image.jpg
 

Hank68

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies everyone. I tumbled the merc dime, I think it turned out very good. It’s a nice looking coin. The clad coins in the picture I tossed in the trash, they were too heavily damaged to try and save. View attachment 30487 View attachment 30488
Looks like it was lost real close to when it was minted , that is in great condition, congrats
 

marcomo

Active member
When it comes to durability, which is defined by how well a coin holds up in circulation, clad is significantly more durable than silver. Silver is a softer metal than the cupro-nickel clad coin which has a metallic content of 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. So being a softer metal means silver coins wore down considerably faster in circulation than the the current clad coinage.

Silver is a more noble metal than either copper or nickel and thus less prone to corrosion. That's why the majority of silver found in the ground and water has minimal environmental damage or less while any clad pretty much always has damage unless it's been very freshly dropped.

Practically speaking, the clad composition is far superior for coinage. But aesthetically, at least to those of us who detect, it's vice versa.
 

Larbear2

Well-known member
When it comes to durability, which is defined by how well a coin holds up in circulation, clad is significantly more durable than silver. Silver is a softer metal than the cupro-nickel clad coin which has a metallic content of 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel. So being a softer metal means silver coins wore down considerably faster in circulation than the the current clad coinage.

Silver is a more noble metal than either copper or nickel and thus less prone to corrosion. That's why the majority of silver found in the ground and water has minimal environmental damage or less while any clad pretty much always has damage unless it's been very freshly dropped.

Practically speaking, the clad composition is far superior for coinage. But aesthetically, at least to those of us who detect, it's vice versa.
Thanks marcomo, that is very interesting. To me, the clad coins seems far more susceptible to degradation, but evidently things aren’t always what they seem. You have made me stop and think about it and I am open to different points of view. As you pointed out, from an aesthetic point of view, the silver coins seem preferable over the clad for sure. I prefer to find the silver coins but the clad is more abundant and over time it adds up and we can use the proceeds to update or enhance current equipment or whatever we desire. GL& HH
 
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