Different Metals That Were Used To Make Coin.

During the 18th and 19th centuries most of the world's coins were struck of copper, silver or gold. Commencing in the early years of the 20th century, however, numerous new coinage metals, primarily non precious metal alloys, were introduced. Gold has not been widely used for circulation issue coinages since World War I, although silver remained a popular coinage metal in most areas until after World War II. With the exit of silver, numerous additional metallic compositions were introduced to coinage applications, many of which are difficult to distinguish. Brief descriptions of the characteristics of prevalent coinage alloys follow:

Malaysia,1967.Copper Planchet.Transitional Error Coin.Reverse.
 COPPER is a relatively soft, pink metal which has seldom been used in its pure form as a coinage metal since the early 1800s. It is commonly employed, how ever, alloyed with with zinc or tin in contents ranging from 75 to 98-percent, providing newly minted coins which vary in color from a shiny pink to rich golden, but which may tone to a dark brown after extended exposure to the air.

Telephone Brass Token
BRASS is an alloy of copper and zinc, with the copper content generally not greater than 80-percent, at which level the resulting metal is a bright golden color. Brass containing less than 50-percent copper ranges down the color spectrum from pale yellow to near white.

Malaysia 3 rd Series Nickel Brass.
NICKEL-BRASS is another copper alloy , containing a small percentage of nickel for hardness, which runs a similar color spectrum to brass, but has a slightly bolder surface texture.

Malaysia. $1.00. 1989-1996.Aluminium Bronze
ALUMINUM-BRONZE is an alloy of copper (generally about 92-percent), aluminum and a third metal, usually nickel, which provides hardness. The color may range from dark yellow to pale pink.

1990-S Jefferson Nickel PROOF Coin
NICKEL was first used for regular coinage in 1881. The hard, dark silver-colored metal is magnetic, and although used for coinage in its pure form by some countries, it has most often been used alloyed with copper at a ratio of 75-percent copper, 25-percent nickel to produce cupro-nickel, a non-magnetic metal with a color almost identical to that of pure nickel.

Malaysia.1969.20 Cents. Cupro-Nickel.Obverse
A similar alloy, with the addition of a small amount of zinc, is known as nickel-silver, or German silver, although it contains no silver. The nickel-copper alloys vary in color from white (30-per cent nickel) to a pale, brassy yellow (7-percent).

Malaysia Bank Negara Money Museum Aluminium Souvenir Token.
ALUMINUM was first used for coinage in 1907, This metal is easily identified by its extremely light weight and varies in color from grey to near white, depending on the amount and nature of the metal it is alloyed with.

Stainless Steel Telephone Token
STAINLESS STEEL is an alloy containing 10 to 30 percent chromium, up to 22 percent nickel, and iron, which generally results in a magnetic metal, although some alloys are not. Similar in color to cupronickel, the metal has a smoother, seemingly oily surface.

Italy 100 Lire.Steel.
IRON and STEEL  have both been used for coinage,sometimes with a plating applied, but not widely because the coins are subject to heavy corrosion. Grey in color when new, the magnetic coins rapidly become a very dark reddish-brown.

To Be Continued......................

The traditional coinage metals and their symbolic chemical abbreviations follow:

Platinum - (Pt)                                                                                Brass -
     Gold - (Au)                                                                  Copper-nickel - (CN)
    Silver - (Ag)                                                                                Lead - (Pb)
    Billon -                                                                                         Stell -
   Nickel - (Ni)                                                                                   Tin - (Sn)
      Zinc - (Zn)                                                                         Aluminum - (Al)
 Bronze) -  (Ae) or (Cu)                                                     Cupro-nickel) -
Copper) -  (Ae) or (Cu)                                                     Clad Copper) -


  1. Interesting posts... very informative.
    as money values keeps dropping... new cheaper minting materials are constantly sought, it's a matter of time plastic coins appear here as well. :-)

  2. Hi Kg,
    Plastic was used as material to make coin before when plastic was newly found.So, no surprise if it is being use again.

  3. I wish all Malaysia coin are made of Platinum.... :D

  4. Hi Malaysia Coin,
    Wish remains as wish, dream will remains as dream!
    Platinum as metal of our coins ? Then it will be world coins collectors must collectible!