Why is this 1996 D penny a gold color?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by TinkerTanker44432, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. TinkerTanker44432

    TinkerTanker44432 New Member

    I found this 1996 D penny a while back, and I grabbed it because it's this gold color, though I'm not sure why. A quick search tells me it's because the penny's zinc coating got heated, and mixed with the copper of the penny creating "yellow brass," though I'm curious if this is the case or not.


    (sorry for the sideways pictures, I can't get them the right way to save my life and I have work in 20 minutes so I can't spend that much more time on it).
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  3. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    30 seconds or so, using PhotoScape
    img_20191202_151330_by_tinkertanker44432_ddlj3oo-pre.jpg img_20191202_151222_by_tinkertanker44432_ddlj3tz-pre.jpg
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  4. TinkerTanker44432

    TinkerTanker44432 New Member

  5. Amos 811

    Amos 811 DisMember

    It is a zinc cent clad in copper. Anything number of things could explain why the tone is irregular. Its not worth more then a cent.
  6. TinkerTanker44432

    TinkerTanker44432 New Member

    I figured it wasn't worth anything, just thought it looked cool, and wanted to know why it looked the way it did.
  7. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

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  8. Amos 811

    Amos 811 DisMember

    Kentucky did the rotations this time...
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  9. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    Either it's "natural" toning. Or,
    I think the coin was gold plated at one point and some has worn off. Can't tell from the photos.
  10. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Oh! Okay! Thanks @Kentucky !

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  11. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Curses..................you have revealed my secret identity...
  12. Burton Strauss III

    Burton Strauss III Well-Known Member

    @TinkerTanker44432 you have the facts inverted the core is zinc and the plating is copper. But otherwise heating the coin hot enough to form a brass alloy it's theoretically possible. Just has to get a lot hotter than you think.

    Another possibility is zinc poisoning of the plating bath. The ion exchange that creates the copper plating can also leave some zinc ions in the copper solution. If it's not changed out soon enough then the plating becomes brass instead of pure copper.

    The third possibility is a science experiment where somebody plated the coin, possibly with a few atoms thick of gold and stopped before it really got a bright gold color.

    Am XRF gun would give you data, but it would only give you information to satisfy the intellectual curiosity.
    GSDykes likes this.
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