1963 was a good year for pennies
December 21, 2007 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Why do 1960s pennies look different?

I have noticed that that a lot of 1960s U.S. pennies (one-cent coins) look significantly different from other years.

For example, this 1963 penny on my desk has a shinier surface and a slightly more orange tint than all of the others. It also seems rounded away from the edge on the "heads" side, and a more rounded profile of Lincoln that also protrudes further.

All I could find online was that pennies were bronze until 1962, and then brass from 1962-1982. However, the 1970s and early 1980s pennies I have look nothing like this. I also remember seeing a 1968 penny that did look this way.

Was there something special about the minting process in the 1960s?
posted by qvtqht to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
This question isn't what I thought it was about, based on the typo in the first line.

But I think this is what you're looking for: USA Today History of the Metal Composition of the Penny
posted by nkknkk at 7:39 PM on December 21, 2007

Response by poster: Ouch, that's embarrassing!

nkknkk: That article provides the same information as the Wikipedia article I looked at, i.e. putting everything from 1962-1982 into one category.
posted by qvtqht at 7:47 PM on December 21, 2007

Yeah, there's the information age for you: cribbing and robbing.
posted by parmanparman at 8:24 PM on December 21, 2007

The orange tint has to do with the oxidation - they're pinkish when new, turn a bit orange, then brown as they oxidize. The outer surface has always been copper, so the outer surface on a mint condition penny stored in an airtight plastic case should look the same color from 1900 to 2100.
posted by lrodman at 11:29 PM on December 21, 2007

The outer surface has always been copper

well... except for those zinc war time pennies. ;D
posted by whatisish at 8:17 AM on December 22, 2007

I clicked on thread hoping to find a link to 1960 different penises.

Perhaps you have come in contact with several 1960s pennies that haven't circulated much, which has left them shinier. You have probably seen a lot more pennies from the 1960s that look like average pennies, but you just didn't notice them.
posted by HotPatatta at 4:52 PM on December 22, 2007

Yeah I did the same thing - 1960 penises - was VERY curious!
posted by shaarog at 6:59 PM on December 22, 2007

except for those zinc war time pennies

They were steel, not zinc, and it was 1943. Modern pennies are a copper-plated zinc core.
posted by SlyBevel at 9:32 PM on December 25, 2007

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