Monday, August 29, 2011


The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debase the currency. -- V.I. Lenin

If we ever get into another full scale shooting war, it's going to cost dearly just to buy all the brass needed to make ammo casings (shells) for bullets.  We've traditionally made them out of brass (copper alloyed with a little zinc).  The Russians and Chinese make their bullet casings out of steel. Because spent cartridges are essentially thrown away on the battlefield, perhaps this is not a bad idea.

We traditionally made pennies out of copper and its alloys: chart  Since 1982, the U.S. Mint has made pennies out of zinc coated with thin layer of copper to keep up appearances. As of 2010, it cost the Mint 1.79 cents to make a penny because of the costs of the penny's materials and production.

As a kid, I used to go to the bank and buy rolls of pennies. Back then (the late 1960's to early '70's) I could still find lots of bronze "wheat pennies" in circulation. I'd comb through change looking to fill those Blue Whitman folders with pennies. Except for the really rare ones, or the pre-WW II ones in good condition, I did all right. Once and a while I'd find a 1943 steel penny.  I could find them easily in a pile of pennies using a magnet. I got 3 or 4 steel pennies that way. I had to buy the "S" one though. Coins minted in San Francisco were always harder to come by east of the Rockies. And the ones I got were never as nice looking as the one in the photo:

1943-s Steel Cent

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