Coin clipping


Coin clipping

Coin clipping is the act of shaving off a small portion of a precious metal coin for profit. Over time the precious metal clippings would be saved up and melted into bullion.

Up until the mid 20th century, coins were often made of silver or gold, which were quite soft and prone to wear. This meant coins naturally got lighter (and thus less valuable) as they aged, so coins that had lost a small amount of silver would go unnoticed.

Coin clipping was usually considered by the law to be of a similar magnitude to counterfeiting, and was occasionally punished by death.

Coin clipping is why many coins have the rim of the coin marked with stripes ("milling" or "reeding"), text ("engraving") or some other pattern that would be destroyed if the coin were clipped (a process attributed to Isaac Newton). In most modern coins, the milling is purely decorative, or an aid to the blind to distinguish different denominations, as the metal is not intrinsically valuable.

Modern coins are made of hard, cheap metals such as steel, copper or a copper-nickel alloy, reducing wear and removing the incentive to clip coins.

External links

* [http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1304 The 1696 Recoinage]
* [http://www.usmint.gov/kids/index.cfm?fileContents=coinNews/funFacts.cfm&page=0 US Mint Fun Facts]


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