Nugget of Knowledge: Why some coins have ridges

Some coins have them, some coins don't

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Why do some of our coins have ridges?

The edge on both the dime and quarter has ridges — little grooves running around the outside of the coin.

The penny and nickel have a smooth edge, but you’ve never given this a second thought.

Here’s the reason for the ridges: for centuries, coins were made of precious metals, gold and silver. You could shave off a slice, but you couldn’t shave each coin too much or the merchant you were trying to pay would notice you were giving him a much smaller coin, so he’d reject it.

But do this often enough with enough coins and you had a pile of gold and silver.

Putting ridges on coins stopped the practice — they were tough to counterfeit, too. Today, it’s tradition that we still mint coins with ridges.

But, not the penny or nickel — they contain no precious metals so they weren’t worth the bother.

And I know you’re wondering: dimes have 118 ridges; quarters have 119; half dollars have 150; the dollar coin has 198 and the Susan B. Anthony dollar has 133.

Did you miss an episode of Daybreak or want to re-visit a previous “Nugget”? View previous “Nugget of Knowledge” entries on WYTV.com.

If you have an idea for a “Nugget of Knowledge,” send your idea in an email to Len.Rome@wytv.com

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