Today’s Mail Bag question comes from Robert and it is one that can be a big hard to find the answer to without a fair amount of looking. It has to do with coin weights and more specifically, where to find them.
I’m trying to find a reliable source for coin weights. I have been looking online and find a lot of different answers and I’m not sure which to believe. Can you help?Robert via the Mail Bag
Robert, yes, I can certainly try to help you on this one. First, for those new to coin collecting, weighing coins is actually an important step in the grading process. It also helps in identifying potential counterfeit coins. If a coin weighs to much or to little for its wear (grade), it could be a fake.
The first and most reliable source for the weight of modern coins is the United States Mint. They published a chart of all the circulating coin specifications including their size, weight, and composition. You can find that chart here at the Mint’s site but you can also see it below.
As you can see on the chart, a Cent weight 2.500 grams, a Nickel 5.000 grams, etc. This is great for giving you what modern coins should weigh. By-the-by, the Native American, Presidential, and American Innovation Dollars all weight the same.
Where things get tricky are on older coins that are composed of silver or gold, or had a different composition all together. For me, the best resource I’ve found is the A Guide Book of United States Coins, or simply The Red Book. In that book, for every variety and type of coin from the United States, you will find the specifications of that coin. This is will be “true North” for you when it comes to weights on older coins.
The Red Book is a low cost investment, around $15 (Affiliate Link), and provides a wealth of information about our coinage history as well as details like weights, composition and so forth.
I hope this helps answer your question Robert!
For everyone else, if you have a question, feel free to use the About Page and drop me a line for a future Mail Bag post.