Since about 1980 or 82 somewhere along there the US government stopped making copper pennies. This is essentailly the first time since WWII that the printing office stoped using pure copper. Now your pennies are copper clad. Take a newly minted penny and scrape it on the concrete and you will easily scrape the cladding off.
When I toured several countries back in the early '90's some of them had acutally abolished their countires equivalent of the penny. What was striking was the prices instead of being our equivalnet of a nickel, yes i visited english speaking countries, they still posted in terms of pennies. If your final total was 01 to 04 cents then your total was rounded down to 0. If it was 5 cents then you put up the nickel. 06 to 09 cents then it rounded up. All in all I felt as though it all washed out in the long run. Yes it was nice getting rid of the coinage.
Re: US Pennies
gotta love Wikipedia they beat out the US Mint when I did a Google search
1837–1856 bronze (which is mostly copper generally over 90%)
1857–1863 87.5% copper, 12.5% nickel (also known as NS-12)
1943 zinc-plated steel
1944–1961 bronze (95% copper, 5% zinc and tin)
1962–1982 95% copper, 5% zinc (about 3.04 grams)
1982– present 97.6% zinc core, 2.4% copper plating
With good ears you can tell the difference in the pennies in how they ring when you drop one or flick it on a counter top. The new ones sound really dull. The older ones, pre 1982, have a nice high ring to them. Unfortunately they ring near 12 kHz which is outside the hearing range of "older" folks. As you age, with or without going to rock concerts woking around jet engines or blowing out your ears with AC/DC on headphones, you tend to loose hearing above 10 kHz. Futher tangent. That is why bank and merchants used a marble countertop. When you dropped the coins onto the top the cashier could quicly tell if you were trying to pass forged coins. Try dropping a silver dime or quarter on some stone counters and then drop todays coinage. Todays coins thunk, rather than ring.
So yes if you are going to clad the outide of the oven ask for US pennies that were minted before 1982.
Re: US Pennies
I think Wiki is a great story and will be a more and more important voice. I know the criticism is that "consensus becomes the truth", but I have recently found that Wiki is the best source for the things I have been looking up.
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