Letter Re: Saving Coins


I would like some information on saving coins. I have been going through my coins and want some clarity on what to save. I have saved all pennies, nickels, quarters, dimes, and so forth from the years 1940 to 1999. Those from 2000 to present have been taken to the bank. Is this correct or should I be saving nickels and quarters from 2000 to present also? It is amazing how much change a person can accumulate and the amount of older money that is in the system right now. – D.D.

JWR responds: There is no significance to 1999, in coin composition. The key years to remember are:

  • 1964 was the last year for 90% silver dimes and quarters. (Except in proof sets.)
  • 1981 was the last year for 100% copper pennies.

I DO NOT recommend saving any post -1964 quarters! They each only have about 3.7 cents worth of copper.

And frankly, pennies are not worth the time to sort, unless you have a sorting machine.

You should save ALL nickels, since they each have about 5 cents worth of copper and nickel, and that value will likely rise. (Their composition hasn’t changed since 1945, but it will likely change in the next two years.)