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Many people have asked the question, “How much do coins weigh?”
The United States has many different types of coins — so naturally there isn’t a single answer, but rather several.
Today I’m going to show you how much U.S. coins weigh — by denomination…
Can You Weigh Coins To Count Them?
Yes, you can!
In fact, many coin counting machines can accurately calculate a quantity of coins simply by weighing them.
If you want to weigh coins to count them yourself, versus using a coin counter, then your best bet is to buy a coin electronic weighing machine — a digital coin scale.
The Best Coin Scale To Use
A digital coin weigher is probably the most convenient method for weighing coins, but an analog coin scale could work, too.
Whichever type of coin scale you decide to use, be sure it can provide an accurate, unrounded weight down to at least 1/10th of a gram and preferably 1/100th of a gram. Scales that measure only in whole grams will round off the fractions to the nearest whole gram and can therefore provide incomplete readings — and that’s not good when weighing coins, especially those whose metallic variants are distinguished by weight differences of less than 1 gram.
Conventional kitchen scales and postage scales are handy and probably what you most easily have access to. However, they generally provide readouts only to the nearest whole gram — so it’s best to avoid using food scales and stamp scales.
If you want to weigh coins accurately and like a pro, buy a coin scale!
How To Count Coins By Weight
So, you want to group all of your coins together and count them by weighing them, right?
Cool! Here’s how to do that:
- Separate all of your coins by denomination.
- Now, within each denomination, separate them by type of metal (pre-1965 90% silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars vs. post-1982 zinc pennies, etc.)
- Next, place all coins of the same denomination and metal type on a coin scale.
- Finally, divide the number in the weight readout by the standard weight of a single coin of that type (see coin weights listed below).
Voila… The quotient of your calculation should be the number of coins on the scale!
NOTE: It’s important that you realize the accuracy of the quotient (the final number you arrive at with your calculation after division) depends on the scale providing an accurate readout to at least 1/10th of a gram. The U.S. Mint is permitted to strike coins within a certain range or deviation of the standard weight — this difference is known as a tolerance. The weight difference based on tolerance depends on the denomination in question, and we’ll cover this in greater detail below. Also, coins that contain a lot of wear may weigh less than the standard weight for a coin of that type. Therefore, when you weigh coins to count them, you must take these minor differences into account.
How Much Coins Weigh By Denomination
If you’re going to weigh coins to count them, then their weight in grams is absolutely important to know.
So let’s explore all U.S. coin weights…
How much does a dollar coin weigh?
U.S. dollar coins were first struck in 1794 and have been made in different sizes and with various metals. Therefore, there is no single standard weight for all silver dollars or other dollar coins made by the United States Mint.
Here are the various circulating U.S. dollar coin weights:
- Silver dollars made from 1794 through 1835 — 26.96 grams
- Silver dollars made from 1836 through 1839 — 26.73 to 26.96 grams
- Silver dollars made between 1840 and 1970 — 26.73 grams
- 40% silver dollars made from 1971 through 1976 — 24.59 grams
- Copper-nickel clad dollars made from 1971 through 1978 — 22.68 grams
- Copper-nickel clad dollars made from 1979 through 1999 — 8.1 grams
- “Golden” dollars made since 2000 — 8.1 grams
*Tolerances for silver dollars are .39 grams more or less and .52 grams more or less for copper-nickel clad and 40% silver Eisenhower dollars
How much does a half dollar weigh?
Like silver dollars, the half dollar has been minted since 1794 and there have been some changes to this denomination over the years.
Here’s how much a 50 cent coin weighs:
- Half dollars made from 1794 through 1836 (larger size of 32.5 millimeters) — 13.48 grams
- Half dollars made from 1836 through 1839 (smaller size of 30 millimeters) — 13.36 grams
- Half dollars made from 1839 through 1853, no arrows at the date — 13.36 grams
- Half dollars made from 1853 through 1873, (1853-55 with arrows at the date) — 12.44 grams
- Half dollars made from 1873 through 1964, (1873-74 with arrows at the date) — 12.5 grams
- 40% silver half dollars made from 1965 through 1970 and 1976-S — 11.5 grams
- Copper-nickel clad half dollars made since 1971 — 11.34 grams
*Tolerances for half dollars are .26 grams more or less
How much does a quarter weigh?
The U.S. Mint has been making quarters since 1796, and there have been changes to the weight of the denomination since the first examples of this workhorse coin were made back in the late 18th century.
Here’s a list of U.S. quarter weights:
- Quarters made from 1796 through 1838 — 6.74 grams
- Quarters made from 1838 through 1853 with Liberty Seated design and no arrows at the date — 6.68 grams
- Quarters made from 1853 through 1873 (1853-55 with arrows at the date) — 6.22 grams
- Quarters made from 1873 through 1964 (1873-74 with arrows at the date) — 6.25 grams
- Copper nickel quarters made since 1965 — 5.67 grams
- 40% silver Bicentennial quarters (1976-S) — 5.75 grams
*Tolerances for quarters are .19 grams more or less
How much does a dime weigh?
Dimes have been made in the United States since 1796, and these coins have been made in various weights.
Here are the weights for circulating U.S. dimes:
- Dimes made from 1796 through 1808 — 2.7 grams
- Dimes made from 1809 through 1853 with no arrows at the date — 2.67 grams
- Dimes made from 1853 through 1873 (1853-55 with arrows at the date) — 2.49 grams
- Dimes made from 1873 through 1964 (1873-74 with arrows at the date) — 2.5 grams
- Dimes made since 1965 — 2.27 grams
*Tolerances for dimes are .09 grams more or less
How much does a nickel weigh?
The “nickel” is really just a shorthand term for the five-cent coin — which has technically been in production since 1794 and was originally a small silver coin known as a half dime (or half disme).
The nickel, as we know it today, is made from a copper-nickel alloy — it debuted in 1866.
With the lone exception of wartime five-cent coins that were made from a 35% silver alloy during the period spanning 1942 through 1945 to save nickel for making World War II artillery, U.S. nickels contain a 75% copper, 25% nickel composition. However, even with the metallic changes during World War II, the weight of the coin remained unchanged.
Here’s how much U.S. nickels weigh:
- Since 1866 — 5 grams
*Tolerances for nickels are .19 grams more or less
How much does a penny weigh?
The iconic penny, or one-cent coin as this denomination is officially known in the United States, has been an American staple since 1793.
The penny has shrunk in size over the years. Once nearly the size of a modern-day half dollar, the penny was initially reduced to its current diameter of 19 millimeters in 1856.
The metallic composition of the “small” cent has also changed from copper-nickel to bronze, and then onto copper-plated zinc as we see today.
Here’s how much a penny weighs:
- Pennies from 1856 through 1864 (copper-nickel pennies) — 4.67 grams
- Pennies from 1864 through 1982 with the EXCEPTION of 1943 — 3.11 grams
- 1943 pennies (made from zinc-plated steel) — 2.7 grams
- Copper-coated zinc pennies made since 1982 — 2.5 grams
*Tolerances for pennies are .13 grams from 1856 through 1971, .12 grams from 1972 through 1982, and .10 grams since 1982
Other Questions About How Much Coins Weigh
How much does a silver coin weigh? What about a gold coin?
We’ve already listed silver coin weights above in the dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar coin weight sections above. Hopefully that info answers your questions about how much silver coins weigh.
But what about gold coins? Let’s look at the weights of some of the most common types of classic U.S. gold coins:
- $2.50 gold coins, 1834-1929 — 4.18 grams
- $5 gold coins, 1839-1929 — 8.359 grams
- $10 gold coins, 1838-1933 — 16.718 grams
- $20 gold coins, 1849-1933 — 33.436 grams
What coin weighs a gram?
There aren’t any U.S. coins that weigh precisely 1 gram. But there is a common Chinese coin that does. The Chinese yen coin weighs 1 gram to a tee!
What coin weighs 2 grams?
If you’re looking for coins that weigh 2 grams, check out the reform coinage of Chile. A 1975 1 centavo coin made from aluminum weighs exactly 2 grams!
What coin weighs 200 grams?
You’re not going to find many coins, medals, or much of anything else in the numismatic arena that individually weighs 200 grams — that’s 7.05 ounces, or nearly half a pound!
But, there is a handy coin you can find in pocket change that, in multiples, easily adds up to 200 grams. That’s the nickel, which — again — weighs 5 grams. It takes 40 nickels to equal 200 grams.
You know what else 40 nickels adds up to? A $2 roll of nickels. And that’s a great segue into this next question about weighing coins in rolls…
How much do rolled coins weigh?
To answer this question, you need to know how many coins come in a standard bank roll:
- A roll of pennies is 50 coins
- A roll of nickels is 40 coins
- A roll of dimes is 50 coins
- A roll of quarters is 40 coins
- A roll of half dollars is 20 coins
- A roll of large-size dollars is 20 coins
- A roll of small-size dollars is 25 coins
As you’ve already learned, each denomination of coin has been produced in different metals and weights over the years. So if you want to find out how much rolled coins weigh, then you’ll need to:
- Know what period or generation of coin is inside the roll.
- Resort to using coin weight averages — not an exact number, but close enough.
Do banks weigh rolled coins?
Some do, but even banks that weigh rolled coins may do so only as a secondary means of verifying the number of coins in a roll.
For example, a roll of 50 pennies that are all copper-coated zinc coins made since late 1982 will weigh some 30 grams less than a roll of 50 bronze pennies struck prior to 1983.
Therefore, weighing rolls might provide some rough idea as to the number of coins within — but because of differences in weight caused by tolerances, heavy coin wear, various metallic compositions, and other factors, weighing rolls of coins can be tricky business.
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I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!