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How to weigh 1983 Lincoln Cents?

Is there any easy system to check Lincoln cent weight? We just got a 55 gallon drum of hoarded 1983’s. None of the digital scales we have found are sensitive enough to pick up the difference between standard composition and an error coin.

I know, it is a long shot.

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Comments

  • What brand and where?

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Custerlost said:
    What brand and where?

    Amazon. Lots of scales that do 0.01 grams

  • LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 3, 2023 1:03PM

    i have fancied these for a long time and with my experience, the batteries (if the device is properly cared for) last a LOOONG time.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/203679428245

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

  • Is that what the expected difference is for the error, .01 gram?
    Needless to say the dude who hoarded them did not have time and passed away before he ever got around to this.

  • Joe_360Joe_360 Posts: 1,603 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 3, 2023 1:11PM

    Copper is 3.13 grams, Zinc is 2.55 grams

  • Joe_360Joe_360 Posts: 1,603 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LanceNewmanOCC said:
    i have fancied these for a long time and with my experience, the batteries (if the device is properly cared for) last a LOOONG time.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/203679428245

    What ya got on the scale?!?!

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,821 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 3, 2023 1:15PM

    @Custerlost said:
    Is that what the expected difference is for the error, .01 gram?
    Needless to say the dude who hoarded them did not have time and passed away before he ever got around to this.

    If you didn't know the mass difference, how did you know that your scale couldn't detect it?

    Rather than weigh a 55 gallon drum of coins, you would make more money working at the 7-11.

  • LanceNewmanOCCLanceNewmanOCC Posts: 19,999 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Joe_360 said:
    What ya got on the scale?!?!



    it would be distasteful to say in the presence of polite company ;)

    <--- look what's behind the mask! - cool link 1/NO ~ 2/NNP ~ 3/NNC ~ 4/CF ~ 5/PG ~ 6/Cert ~ 7/NGC 7a/NGC pop~ 8/NGCF ~ 9/HA archives ~ 10/PM ~ 11/NM ~ 12/ANACS cert ~ 13/ANACS pop - report fakes 1/ACEF ~ report fakes/thefts 1/NCIS - Numi-Classes SS ~ Bass ~ Transcribed Docs NNP - clashed coins - error training - V V mm styles -

  • Joe_360Joe_360 Posts: 1,603 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bought on Amazon

  • Scales we have are food and postal scales, looking for a more sensitive one.
    Finding just one copper 83 would make it worthwhile to get a better scale, right?

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,930 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why do you want to waste your time and money weighing 1983 cents?

    All glory is fleeting.
  • Copper error up to $25,000 at auction
    Beats working at 7-11

  • Che_GrapesChe_Grapes Posts: 1,851 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Didn’t realize this date had copper specimens

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,717 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Your odds of finding one could be a billion to one. Your odds of winning the big lottery are better.

    That's not to say I wouldn't weigh 1983 cents. ;)

    I'd also give them a quick once over for obvious errors such as clips or large die breaks (cracks or cuds).

    You can probably save a little time by weighing them in groups, such as ten at a time.

  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Custerlost said:
    Copper error up to $25,000 at auction
    Beats working at 7-11

    Only if you find one.

  • MrScienceMrScience Posts: 727 ✭✭✭

    Some collectors have evidently used a coin comparator or acceptor to discriminate between cents. Here is a Forum thread on that topic [https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/comment/6944238#]

  • AotearoaAotearoa Posts: 1,365 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Of course you would want to weigh them in lots, say 100 at a time, and then sort if the lot weight is off. (Not that I would ever consider doing this myself.)

    Smitten with DBLCs.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,717 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MrScience said:
    Some collectors have evidently used a coin comparator or acceptor to discriminate between cents. Here is a Forum thread on that topic [https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/comment/6944238#]

    Ah yes, I recall those days when people bought a machine called a Ryedale to sort cents. As far as I know it was all for nothing, since many hoarders ended up dumping their copper hoards into the bank machines a few years later.

    I'll bet those machines are available for a big discount.

  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Aotearoa said:
    Of course you would want to weigh them in lots, say 100 at a time, and then sort if the lot weight is off. (Not that I would ever consider doing this myself.)

    The weight tolerance for zinc cents is 0.1g, if you weigh 100 at a time a weight between 240g and 260g would be expected. A weight between those results won't tell you if any of the coins were copper.

    FWIW... 20 zinc cents within tolerance at their upper weight limit weigh more than 19 zinc cents + 1 copper cent within tolerance at their lower weight limit.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,370 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You don't need a scale since you can drop them one at a time on a marble slab to separate the copper cents from the zinc cents based on the sound they make.

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,423 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What was the shipping cost to have those delivered?

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

  • SapyxSapyx Posts: 1,997 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm wondering why anyone would have, specifically, hoarded a whole barrel-full of just 1983 pennies.

    Were they expecting a spike in the price of zinc in 1983? :D

    Or was it just a part of a much larger hoard, and there were barrels for each year?

    Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.
    Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

    Apparently I have been awarded one DPOTD. B)
  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Custerlost said:
    Scales we have are food and postal scales, looking for a more sensitive one.
    Finding just one copper 83 would make it worthwhile to get a better scale, right?

    No. It would not. Consider the time it would take to weigh all those cents.

    That said, all coin people should have scale that weighs to 0.01 grams. Just not for randomly weighing coins.

  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @Custerlost said:
    Scales we have are food and postal scales, looking for a more sensitive one.
    Finding just one copper 83 would make it worthwhile to get a better scale, right?

    No. It would not. Consider the time it would take to weigh all those cents.

    But what if it's the first one you weigh? :#

    [it's a joke]

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Custerlost said:
    Copper error up to $25,000 at auction
    Beats working at 7-11

    If you can weigh 50 coins per minute and your odds are 1 in 1 million, it would take 20,000 minutes which is 333 hours which at $15 per hour is $5000.

    If you can only weigh 25 coins per minute and your is are 1 in 2.5 million it would take 100,000 minutes which is $25,000 at $15 per hour.

    Are you starting to see the issue...?

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MasonG said:

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @Custerlost said:
    Scales we have are food and postal scales, looking for a more sensitive one.
    Finding just one copper 83 would make it worthwhile to get a better scale, right?

    No. It would not. Consider the time it would take to weigh all those cents.

    But what if it's the first one you weigh? :#

    [it's a joke]

    I'm all in favor of weighing one coin and stopping. Lol

  • Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,290 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @Custerlost said:
    Copper error up to $25,000 at auction
    Beats working at 7-11

    If you can weigh 50 coins per minute and your odds are 1 in 1 million, it would take 20,000 minutes which is 333 hours which at $15 per hour is $5000.

    If you can only weigh 25 coins per minute and your is are 1 in 2.5 million it would take 100,000 minutes which is $25,000 at $15 per hour.

    Are you starting to see the issue...?

    2 were found since the 1982-D mintages? Of course a find may happen again but throw the averages out the window and just get practical. "You ain'ta gonna find one" said my Uncle Guido!

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @MasonG said:

    @jmlanzaf said:

    @Custerlost said:
    Scales we have are food and postal scales, looking for a more sensitive one.
    Finding just one copper 83 would make it worthwhile to get a better scale, right?

    No. It would not. Consider the time it would take to weigh all those cents.

    But what if it's the first one you weigh? :#

    [it's a joke]

    I'm all in favor of weighing one coin and stopping. Lol

    Well, it does make searching rolls for pre-82 pennies look more sensible...

  • CoinscratchCoinscratch Posts: 7,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Duhhh :D

  • rmorganrmorgan Posts: 249 ✭✭✭✭

    Just use a balance that tips one way for copper and another for zinc. I assemble a simple one with a pen and a pop sickle stick (or an emery board). See below.

    Then adjust the stick so that a pre-82 cent (copper) makes the stick drop, but a post-82 cent does not. Once you have this balance worked out, you can weight each '82 cent to know whether it is copper or zinc.

    My strategy is about collecting what I intend to keep, not investing in what I plan to sell.

  • element159element159 Posts: 493 ✭✭✭

    My advice:
    Buy a decent 0.01 g scale.
    Start weighing some of the cents 10 at a time. I think that is a small enough count that any copper will stick out, but large enough to speed things up soon.
    Do this until it starts to get tiring.
    Evaluate the fraction of the barrel that it took until you were sick of this.
    Realize that this is probably not worth the trouble. But you have a good scale now, it is useful for many other things!

    If I still wanted to look for treasure, I would try visually. A copper vs zinc cent will tone/tarnish different, and very often I can recognize copper cents by look, the color and appearance is just different, and usually nicer, for copper. So scoop out cents and dump them out, then look for the most copper-like, and then go back to Plan A for those. This is probably still not worth the trouble, but maybe better.

    image
  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @rmorgan said:
    Just use a balance that tips one way for copper and another for zinc. I assemble a simple one with a pen and a pop sickle stick (or an emery board). See below.

    Then adjust the stick so that a pre-82 cent (copper) makes the stick drop, but a post-82 cent does not. Once you have this balance worked out, you can weight each '82 cent to know whether it is copper or zinc.

    No offense, but If it was brought to my attention that I must sort through a 55 gallon drum of zincolns by using a home made balance, made from a popsicle stick and a bic pen, I would sooner get in my car and drive into a ravine.

    I found an estimate of 300,000 pennies/55 gallon drum. At one per second, it would take over 80 hours to test them all.

  • DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,521 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MasonG said:

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @rmorgan said:
    Just use a balance that tips one way for copper and another for zinc. I assemble a simple one with a pen and a pop sickle stick (or an emery board). See below.

    Then adjust the stick so that a pre-82 cent (copper) makes the stick drop, but a post-82 cent does not. Once you have this balance worked out, you can weight each '82 cent to know whether it is copper or zinc.

    No offense, but If it was brought to my attention that I must sort through a 55 gallon drum of zincolns by using a home made balance, made from a popsicle stick and a bic pen, I would sooner get in my car and drive into a ravine.

    I found an estimate of 300,000 pennies/55 gallon drum. At one per second, it would take over 80 hours to test them all.

    I think one per second is a very optimistic expectation to say the least. You need enough time to grab it place it on the scale, allow time to mentally process the varying results, then remove it from the scale to place in another bin. I would guess a more realistic figure would be 1 per two seconds if you were good. Then factor in fatigue, bathroom breaks, meals. A most grueling endeavor if I do say so myself.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MasonG said:

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @rmorgan said:
    Just use a balance that tips one way for copper and another for zinc. I assemble a simple one with a pen and a pop sickle stick (or an emery board). See below.

    Then adjust the stick so that a pre-82 cent (copper) makes the stick drop, but a post-82 cent does not. Once you have this balance worked out, you can weight each '82 cent to know whether it is copper or zinc.

    No offense, but If it was brought to my attention that I must sort through a 55 gallon drum of zincolns by using a home made balance, made from a popsicle stick and a bic pen, I would sooner get in my car and drive into a ravine.

    I found an estimate of 300,000 pennies/55 gallon drum. At one per second, it would take over 80 hours to test them all.

    With a near zero probability of finding a copper one.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @MasonG said:

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @rmorgan said:
    Just use a balance that tips one way for copper and another for zinc. I assemble a simple one with a pen and a pop sickle stick (or an emery board). See below.

    Then adjust the stick so that a pre-82 cent (copper) makes the stick drop, but a post-82 cent does not. Once you have this balance worked out, you can weight each '82 cent to know whether it is copper or zinc.

    No offense, but If it was brought to my attention that I must sort through a 55 gallon drum of zincolns by using a home made balance, made from a popsicle stick and a bic pen, I would sooner get in my car and drive into a ravine.

    I found an estimate of 300,000 pennies/55 gallon drum. At one per second, it would take over 80 hours to test them all.

    I think one per second is a very optimistic expectation to say the least. You need enough time to grab it place it on the scale, allow time to mentally process the varying results, then remove it from the scale to place in another bin. I would guess a more realistic figure would be 1 per two seconds if you were good. Then factor in fatigue, bathroom breaks, meals. A most grueling endeavor if I do say so myself.

    Working at 7-11 starts to look good, doesn't it?

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 24,531 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Amazon, under $10 and came with the 100g test weight.
    bob:)

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), bobinvegas1989@yahoo.com
  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @MasonG said:

    @DeplorableDan said:

    @rmorgan said:
    Just use a balance that tips one way for copper and another for zinc. I assemble a simple one with a pen and a pop sickle stick (or an emery board). See below.

    Then adjust the stick so that a pre-82 cent (copper) makes the stick drop, but a post-82 cent does not. Once you have this balance worked out, you can weight each '82 cent to know whether it is copper or zinc.

    No offense, but If it was brought to my attention that I must sort through a 55 gallon drum of zincolns by using a home made balance, made from a popsicle stick and a bic pen, I would sooner get in my car and drive into a ravine.

    I found an estimate of 300,000 pennies/55 gallon drum. At one per second, it would take over 80 hours to test them all.

    I think one per second is a very optimistic expectation to say the least.

    To be honest... I do, too. It's more of a "best of the best case" scenario and it only gets worse from there.

  • OverdateOverdate Posts: 6,930 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Okay, I wouldn't have believed this, but circulated rolls of 1983 cents are bringing $7.00 and up (including shipping) on eBay! You might be able to make a reasonable return on these, even if they're all zinc.

    My Adolph A. Weinman signature :)

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,821 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 3, 2023 8:37PM

    @AUandAG said:
    Amazon, under $10 and came with the 100g test weight.
    bob:)

    I have that same one. It's excellent

  • DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,521 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 3, 2023 8:41PM

    I see a lot of scale recommendations, which I absolutely do agree that you need to buy a better scale from Amazon or something, but in no way do I think it would ever make sense to use that in this scenario. If you value your time, at all, the costs outweigh the benefits.

    The only way I would ever consider trying to sort them is if there was scientific method that you could scale to a larger size. Maybe it could involve some clear liquid with a density that allowed a copper cent to sink much faster than a zinc cent. I would then try to find a clear container close to the size or larger than a 55 gallon drum, and drop the cents in by the handful and watch them sink. I don’t know if this is possible or if it would work but this is the only solution I could conjure up in my mind lol

  • OverdateOverdate Posts: 6,930 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Custerlost said:
    Copper error up to $25,000 at auction
    Beats working at 7-11

    With circulated 1983 cent rolls selling for $7.00 and up (including shipping) on eBay, if you have 300,000 of them in that 55-gallon drum, you might be able to net around $30,000 for the lot after expenses. That might be enough to purchase a copper one if you like.

    My Adolph A. Weinman signature :)

  • CoinscratchCoinscratch Posts: 7,887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The reality is once you’ve done enough of them you can tell the difference in weight by resting one on your finger.

    And by the time you check for the DDO and DDR you’ve already been through the loupe and know the difference.
    Occasionally one that looks like copper or one that ends up weighing 2.6 will fool you. And that’s when I use the scale.

  • MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Overdate said:

    @Custerlost said:
    Copper error up to $25,000 at auction
    Beats working at 7-11

    With circulated 1983 cent rolls selling for $7.00 and up (including shipping) on eBay, if you have 300,000 of them in that 55-gallon drum, you might be able to net around $30,000 for the lot after expenses. That might be enough to purchase a copper one if you like.

    300,000 is 6,000 rolls.

    1 roll: shipping = $4.50, fees = $1.00, cost = 50 cents, for a total of $6.00. Sell for $7.00, net $1.00 x 6,000 rolls = $6,000 profit.

    A search for "1983 lincoln roll circulated" returns a total of 39 sold in the past year. Say that search found only about 10% of the rolls sold, with the actual total sold being 300. You have a 20 year supply at that rate.

  • emeraldATVemeraldATV Posts: 4,028 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Set a metal dector on copper .
    Silly Rabbit.

  • OverdateOverdate Posts: 6,930 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MasonG said:

    @Overdate said:

    @Custerlost said:
    Copper error up to $25,000 at auction
    Beats working at 7-11

    With circulated 1983 cent rolls selling for $7.00 and up (including shipping) on eBay, if you have 300,000 of them in that 55-gallon drum, you might be able to net around $30,000 for the lot after expenses. That might be enough to purchase a copper one if you like.

    300,000 is 6,000 rolls.

    1 roll: shipping = $4.50, fees = $1.00, cost = 50 cents, for a total of $6.00. Sell for $7.00, net $1.00 x 6,000 rolls = $6,000 profit.

    A search for "1983 lincoln roll circulated" returns a total of 39 sold in the past year. Say that search found only about 10% of the rolls sold, with the actual total sold being 300. You have a 20 year supply at that rate.

    20 roll lot: shipping = $12, fees = $13 cost = $10, for a total of $35. Sell for $5.00 per roll (discounted), net $65 per lot x 300 lots = $19,500 profit.

    My Adolph A. Weinman signature :)

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