Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by eric6794, Jul 29, 2021.
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1/400,000,000 = zero chance that I'll get it.
What you need is the total number of nickels surviving in circulation.
Then take the number of surviving 1938-D’s and divide by the number of all surviving nickels. That gives you the probability of any particular nickel being a 1938-D.
Any person receiving a nickel in change has the same odds of it being a 1938-D.
And those odds are really, really low!
With about 40,000,000,000 nickels in circulation and perhaps 10,000 '38-D's lost at any given time your odds of finding one are poor at ~ 1: 4,000,000 or 1 '38-D in 2000 boxes of nickels. This number will fluctuate over time but stay relatively constant since there are so few.
Lol, ever watch Dennis the Menace? Mr. Wilson was looking at his coin collection if nickels and Dennis took a nickel when no one was around. Mr. Wilson was in his “Great Scot” role. He found that Dennis had used a very rare nickel in a gum ball machine. He did get it back but what a great laugh that show was.
Thanks for the warning. Just don't let it happen again.
When I was trying to figure this out I came to the conclusion there were a lot of variables that changed attrition rates from year to year for designs.
Pre-1982 cent might of had an attrition rate of 4% per year after mintage, while the zincoln might be double that. Nickels dimes quarters would have an attrition rate around 3% annually people use them in commerce, or they did, but like with cents basically they all get used once and go into a jar and sit around for years so they circulate and wear down and get lost differently.
Still though you might have a mintage where its "hot" and people saved them, or you might have a mintage thats not really needed that sits in the feds vault forever waiting for the day they need to pull them out, like the 2021 P Kennedy half dollars. The mints been pounding them out this year and some have found their way to circulation but most are going to sit in a fed vault forever and some day finally be released when actually needed. The attrition rate might be really low in this instance and 40 years from now millions of BU 2021P start being released.
Theres a whole lot of factors that make it really variable. There might be a mintage that just gets destroyed and just a few get out and those few buck the system and are all high grade, never really circulated so theres no condition rarity really to it.
So. I used an average of 4% reduction annually for any coin in circulation. Take the mintage, then reduce the population of it by 4% per year for the number of years its been out there. Its a lot at first but as the population narrows less are lost to attrition annually also.
I'm by no means a math genius I find it tedious and theres about a thousand things I'd rather do with my time than math. This works for me to get a general idea of how many might still survive.
5,760,000 x4% 230,400 were lost from the mintage in 1938-1939. 5,529,600x4% 221,184 were lost from the mintage in 1939-1940.
5,308,416 and on and on and on. But this really doesn't even factor the collectors and accumulators that might be saving coins away so at some point this becomes wrong and not representative of the surviving population. Its just factoring an average of how many get lost or destroyed annually from circulation.
Probably a lot easier setting it up on an xl with a formula and letting it do its thing for the number of years, best I can come up with is this would get you an educated guess at the surviving population. Which may or may not be functional depending on the factors affecting that particular years mintage.
When I saw this thread, I had to dig out my tube of nickels.
I received this 1938 D Jefferson Nickel at a McDonalds in Warren, MI. A check of my records shows that the date of this find was 08/24/2017.
I was also quite surprised to find this problem free nickel in my change.
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