” In 1860 bronze pennies were introduced in place of copper ones, though they were not entirely made of bronze; instead it was an alloy containing 95 parts of copper, 4 of tin, and 1 of zinc. The weight was also reduced: 1 lb of bronze was coined into 48 pennies, versus 1 lb of copper which was coined into 24 pennies.”
copper / bronze is a 100% recyclable metal, making it ideal for coin use.
“The 1943 steel cent, also known as a steelie, was a variety of the U.S. one-cent coin which was struck in steel due to wartime shortages of copper.”
In times of copper shortages, other materials have been known to be used for pennies, such as steel.
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