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How Much Does a Penny Weigh? A Nickel?




Q. I've got a 2015 d nickel weighing 4.5 grams and is the size of a penny. Please help out anyway possible with info.

Stephen decker
Coin collecter - Bakersfield California
February 2, 2024

Ed. note: Please send a well focused pic to mooney@finishing.com for posting here, preferably with a regular penny and regular nickel in the pic so we can see what you are talking about, because it's a little hard to believe that metal articles like nickels can be shrunk while retaining their weight and shape. Thanks.



⇩ Related postings, oldest first ⇩



Q. How Much Does a Nickel Weigh?

John C. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Dominguez Hills, California
2003



penny
U.S. Mint image

A. One nickel weighs exactly as much as two dimes^pennies but less than a quarter. . .

If you cut a quarter into 10 equal pieces, each piece would weigh 0.57 grams. If you had 75 of those pieces, the total weight would be the same as the weight of 19 dimes.

This information is accurate to two decimal places, but is only the average of the three nickels I happen to have in my pocket today :-)

Bob Zonis
- Bohemia, New York



"History of the U.S. Mint and Its Coinage"

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A. Actually, the precise answer would be 4.5 grams/nickel.

75 pieces (of a quarter) x .57 grams = 42.75 grams
42.75 grams / 19 dimes = 2.25 grams/dime
2.25 grams * 2 dimes (1 nickel is equal to two dimes) = 4.5 grams

This assumes the information of a quarter equaling 5.7 grams is correct.

Scott S. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Bowling Green , Kentucky
2003



A. 5 GRAMS FOR A NICKEL, 1 GRAM FOR A DOLLAR BILL.

LARRY L. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- San Diego, California




sidebar

Learn more:

per Wikipedia:

  • nickle is an alternative, rarely-used spelling.


A. US Coinage
Penny Standard weight 2.5 grams
Nickel Standard weight 5.0 grams
Dime Standard weight 2.268 grams
Quarter Standard weight 5.670 grams

Gregor C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Norman, Oklahoma



A. 4.9 would be the answer if you only had to go to one decimal but weigh it on a 5 decimal place scale to find a funnier one.

William J [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Beaverton, Oregon


A. I would like to add my 2 cents in on this one.

First the weight of a penny. A penny (if you weigh 32 of them) can range in weight from 2.42 Grams to 3.18 grams the difference in the range is from .00 to .76 (from penny to penny so weigh more than one to see if your scale falls within this range) . If your scale weighs a penny and its within these acceptable ranges I would say the scale is accurate. if its out of that range I would think its off by the amount outside the range previously stated. Below 2.42 by .1 add .1 of a gram, above 3.18 subtract .1 of a gram, tare or adjust the scale to account for it.

A nickel can weigh from between 4.9 and 5.1 grams (weighed a bunch) (heard of 4.8 to 4.85 but only was able to replicate with heavily used nickels or thousands decimal place scales even then about 70 percent of the time they were between 4.9 and 5.1)(depends on the wear, if you wanted to do a real locked down test you could go to the bank and get a fresh from the press new roll of nickels or pennies for that matter). If your scale weighs within that range I would say the scale is accurate to the hundredths decimal place.

If you are just checking to see if the scale is accurate, go buy a certified 5.0 gram weight, then get a .5 gram weight, and a .55 gram weight and weigh them together, should be 6.55^6.05. [Ed. note: see reply of June 18, 2008]

Ok, that's enough about weighing money, I went a wee bit nuts.

Mr D. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Seattle, Washington
2005



thumbs up signThanks, Mr D! You rock!

Laura W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]


A. Weighing money is important and so simple...

Dimes, quarters and half dollars are $20/lb, and
nickels are only $5/lb, and
there are 181 pennies/lb ($1.81) and nobody seems to pick up on this simplicity...

Furthermore currency is 6.2"x 2.6" x 0.0043" thick (233/inch) and it takes 375 bills to weigh a lb. Therefore, a briefcase 18.5"x 12.5"x 3" thick will hold $980,000 in $100 bills (two rows of seven [14 stacks] x 3" [700 bills/stack] = $980,000.

And it will weigh 26.1 lbs (375 bills/lb).

I know this because I am a father to my inquisitive children.

Terry H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Davenport, Iowa



Mad Money (DVD)



(affil links)

thumbs up signAnd here we thought that you learned that only $980,000 would fit in a briefcase from countin' the loot :-)

I was just about to offer to take the remaining $20,000 off your hands so you wouldn't need to carry a second briefcase.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




sidebar

So a penny weighs 2 grams. In our science class we measured it and it weighed 0.2 grams

Maria G [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Chicago, Illinois



Somebody misread the scale, Maria. Depending on how the scale is designed, the mass of the balance weight is not necessarily the weight of the item you are balancing against. Nurses would have a hard time weighing us if they had to slide a 200-pound balance weight along their beam scale :-)

Maybe that was the weight of the balance weight?

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




A. For the accurate weight of any coin, and other nifty facts about money just go to the website for the U.S. Mint at this website address:
www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/?action=coin_specifications

Enjoy!
Mike

Mike R [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Iowa City, Iowa
2005



A. Regarding COINS, the PENNY only weighs 2.5 grams ($1.82/lb) and NICKELS weigh 5.0 grams each... and as mentioned earlier, DIMES, QUARTERS, 1/2 DOLLARS and Eisenhower DOLLARS are all worth $20.00/lb -- NICKELS, on the other hand, weighing 1.0 gram/cent (5 grams total, each) -- since there are 453.6 grams per lb, a pound of NICKELS is only $4.54/lb... all parents need to know these simplistic facts because our children are going to inherit the earth -- teach them! It's fun, and fun for them to share with their friends!

Terry H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Davenport, Iowa
2006


A. As far as the exact weight of various coinage it is really hard to say. Even if the are fresh from the mint there are so many variables. The best thing to do is way multiple coins and average them. The more coins the more inclusive your answer. On most coins the % error is due to mostly wear, dirt or even finger prints so be sure to wash and handle with care. The penny will have the largest % error (over %23) due to the change in materials used over the years. The rest of your coinage should be between %10-%15 error. The average weight of used currency...
P=2.637953, N=5.011551, D=2.278447 and Q=5.6792
Have Fun!

Erik N [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Grand Blanc, Michigan
2006



2006

A. As Erik mentioned, the composition of coins has changed over the years.

Anyone interested in weighing PENNIES should be aware that the composition of pennies changed in 1982. For dates of 1982 and earlier, pennies are 95% copper and 5% zinc and weigh about 3.1 grams. For dates of 1982 and later, pennies are 97.6% zinc, and 2.4% copper and weigh about 2.5 grams. 1982 was a transition year during which the U.S. mint issued BOTH varieties of pennies.

You can easily verify the weight difference, even if you don't have a scale. You can make your own balance beam using a thin, rigid 12-inch ruler. Place a stack of five pennies issued BEFORE 1982 precisely at the end of the 12-inch ruler. Place a stack of five pennies issued AFTER 1982 precisely at the other end of the ruler. Holding both ends of the ruler, place the ruler on the edge of a butter knife (or some other thin flat object) so that the 6-inch mark is lined up precisely with the edge of the knife. (You can support the butter knife between two books so that the blade stands upright.) When you release the ends of the ruler, you'll see that the end with the pre-1982 pennies will go down, and the end with the post-1982 pennies will go up. That's exactly what you'd expect, since copper is more dense than zinc.

There have been other variations in U.S. coin composition (most notably, the change in composition of dimes and quarters in 1965, replacing silver with copper and nickel).
For more info, see the U.S. Mint website:
www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/mint_history/index.cfm?flash=yes&action=coin_composition

Ray S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- New York, New York



"Hands-on" learning is fun, maybe try a precision scale? . . .

"Hands-on" learning is fun, maybe try a ...
Precision Electronic Scale

on eBay or

Amazon

(affil links)


thumbs up signYep, my scale's right! 5 grams! Thank you!

Lindsey S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Kaufman, Texas
2007


thumbs up signThanks, Gregor Clark, you rock!

Mark T [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Montgomery, Alabama
2007


thumbs up sign All you guys rock. Thank you all for giving this serious thought. Accuracy is essential. Peace.

Danielle H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Eugene, Washington
2007



!! MR D - You seem like a smart guy with all those measurements and stuff but how do you get 6.55 when you add 5.0 + .5 + .55. I'm pretty sure that every time I do that it's going to come out to 6.05 :-)

Seth H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Merrimac, Massachusetts
June 18, 2008



Q. What is the volume of a nickel?

Walter W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Brook Park, Ohio
May 6, 2009



A. Hi Walter.
1. You can measure the diameter and thickness of a nickel and calculate the approx. volume.
2. Or you can use Archimedes' principle and measure the volume of water that the nickel displaces.
3. Or you can divide its 5.0 gram weight by the density of nickel for a good approximation.
Do it all three ways and maybe you have a simple but interesting science project.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 12, 2009



November 2, 2015

Current coinage information can be found at:

http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/?action=coin_specifications

And for the record (assuming current coinage), it is two _pennies_ that weigh the same as a nickel, not two dimes.

Jim Scott
Mr. - Horseheads New York USA




A. Those commenting here on the Penny's weight …
The older "Wheat-back" pennies are about 3.1 grams and the newer ones 2.5-2.6 grams I think, so weighing a bunch of pennies at a time and dividing to find how many dollars worth you have won't work very accurately to count the pennies unless you have a fair knowledge of how much of each of the older ones and how many new ones are in the bucket.
You could "rough it" with: You're likely to see less than 5% of the old wheat ones on average.

Art Bourgeois
none - Southcoast Massachusetts USA
June 9, 2018


A. Art is correct, largely. The Lincoln penny Wheat Reverse does in fact weight (at pressing) 3.11 g, and the new Lincoln Penny with the Shield Reverse weighs in at 2.5 g. The Lincoln Memorial Reverse on the other hand, is your largest variable. The wheat penny was made until 1958. From '59 to '82 the Memorial Reverse penny was copper, giving it the same weight of 3.11 g. Following that, from '83 until the bi-centennial in '09 and the minting of the shield reverse in '09, the Memorial Reverse Penny began being minted from the copper-plated zinc variety you see today.

Long story short = pre-1959, 3.11g
1959 forward 2.5g

But a nickel is a nickel, and those are a nickel in grams! 5 ¢= 5g! :)

And ... weight is also then varied due to things like dents, scratches, rust, dirt, corrosion, chips, etc. The difference is marginal, though, as someone stated earlier.

Erin Anderson
Epic Enterprises - Dallas, Texas, USA
October 24, 2018



Tip: People don't like to give and not receive. Readers often reply to actual situations (from which they can learn), but less commonly to abstract questions.

Q. Art says a penny weighs 3.1 Erin says 3.11 which is it?

tc carbine
- Tacoma Washington
August 18, 2023


A. Hi TC. Life is full of approximations, and assuming Erin is correct, then so is Art. What would probably be a wrong answer, though, would be 3.10 g :-)

A good student project might be to individually weigh a good bunch of such pennies and try to determine the tolerance or standard deviation. You might find that it would be legitimate to add another digit to Erin's value, or you might find that one digit really ought to be removed from Erin's answer ... but my guess is that 3.11 g will stand up. Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



Try more project ideas:
-
What cleans pennies best?,
-
How does electroplating work?



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