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topic 4209

Blue Quarters?


I am doing research for a children's magazine. The article I am writing concerns metallic content of various coins past and present.

I have observed an interesting phenomenon. If quarters are left in water with pennies, all 1999 quarters turn blue. All quarters minted prior to 1999 do not. The U.S. Mint claims that the materials haven't changed. Allegedly, the current quarters still contain the same percentage of metals, 8.33% nickel, the balance copper.

Should I believe the U.S. Mint?

Does anyone have an explanation for the blue quarters?

Thomas J. Barstow
- Great Barrington, Massachusetts


An experiment is worth a thousand guesses/opinions, so believe your results. However, a variable that you may not be taking into account is oils and tarnish on the older quarters that may be impeding the reaction. Scrub the old ones with a toothbrush and vinegar and salt, foul the new ones with butter or bacon grease, then put them all through the same cleaning regimen.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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