Are Old Coins Magnetic?

The use of coins originates from ancient times and continues today. Coins were originally minted from precious metals like gold and silver, but today they can be made from a wide variety of metals like nickel and copper.

Magnet Fishing for Coins

If a currency like pennies and coins is made of metal, are they magnetic?

Many of the US coins are not magnetic since they are made up off small amounts of magnetic material nickel. Many of the Canadian and British coins are made up of steel and are hence magnetic.

In this post, we will seek the answers your question and debunk the various properties of old coins. We'll also run through a few coins to decide what base metal coins contain magnetic materials and trigger a magnetic force.

Are There Any Magnetic Coins?

One of the few United States coins with enough iron to be magnetic is the steel cent from 1943. Unfortunately, while nickel is also magnetic, there is not nearly enough of it in U.S. coins to make them so. As a result, only 75% of nickel is used to make the five-cent coin, with the remaining 25% coming from copper.

US coins

Consequently, despite being made of nickel, American five-cent coins do not attract magnets. In contrast, many coins in Canada and the United Kingdom are made from magnetic metals like steel and nickel. Ancient coins and UK coins are much the same. Magnetic force travels only when there's enough of the element. There's not enough nickel in most of these coins to attract even a strong magnet.

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British Coins

Canadian coins with steel cores include the 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50-cent pieces minted after 2000. British coins worth one or two pence since 1992 are also magnetic. The world's magnetic coins aren't the only ones out there, either. They can be picked up with a powerful magnet.

Canadian coins

Manufacturing History Of Pennies, Pure Nickel, And Silver Coins

Throughout history, there has been a slow shift in the types of metals used to manufacture pennies. Pennies minted before 1992 did not include a magnetic strip. Copper and zinc, both non-magnetic, were originally used in the production of pennies; however, during World War II, an idea was conceived for steel pennies, which began in 1992.

Changes were made to the metals used to make pennies after 1992, and steel is now used. Steel is magnetic, so all U.S. pennies minted since 1992 are too. They began plating them with nickel in 2012. More coins are featuring this property in modern times.

As a result of their lack of magnetic properties, silver and gold were the first metals to be used in the production of coins. Additionally, coins crafted from platinum are resistant to the effects of magnetism.

Coins minted from bronze are also non-magnetic because the metal is an alloy of nickel, copper, and tin. Nickel is magnetic, but only a trace amount of it is used in the manufacturing process, so the amount of magnetic nickel in bronze coins is negligible. Also, steel and nickel plating steel are both ferromagnets; modern coins in circulation should be magnetic.

Why Should A Magnet Attract A Coin?

The coins used before 1992 were made of bronze, which is not magnetic, so the coins themselves were not magnetic. However, after 1992, the decision was made to use steel for coin manufacturing, so modern coins are magnetic.

We know that steel coins and pennies are magnetic because iron is a key component of steel. Due to the presence of unpaired electrons, iron exhibits ferromagnetism. Unpaired electrons generate their magnetic field in response to an external magnetic field, which causes them to be attracted to it.

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Anything made of iron will also be magnetic because iron has four unpaired electrons, a sufficiently large number to demonstrate magnetism. Consequently, modern coins and pennies should also have a magnetic quality.

Comparison of Coins and Pennies

One common misconception is that copper pennies and coins are made entirely of copper and nickel. Nickels and pennies aren't made of their original metals. Most coins, instead, are struck from a copper-nickel alloy.

Compared to pennies, nickels contain thirty times as much copper (though only twenty-five percent is solid nickel). Additionally, the production of pennies is more expensive than the value they represent, which is why many countries have abandoned them. However, none of these substances has a high magnetic strength.

The 1p and the 2p coins in the United Kingdom are copper-plated steel, despite popular belief that they are made of copper like American pennies. Many people still mistake the 5p and 10p coins in circulation for silver, but they are nickel-plated steel.

These British coins are made primarily of steel, like all other European coins. Iron, the most magnetic element known, is used to create steel. This means that any steel coin would also be magnetic.

Minting magnetic coins have no advantages, despite common belief. This may be because coin-operated machines can identify the unique magnetic signature of British coins, making it impossible to use counterfeit or slug money. In addition, vending machines can still verify the authenticity of coins by testing their electrical resistance, even if they lack magnetic properties.

Even though many other currencies, such as the Canadian dollar, the Argentine centavo, and the European Union's Euro, are magnetic, there appears to be only some clear benefit to using them for cool magic tricks.

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Different Currency Coins And Their Magnetism Properties

The metal content of British coins has recently been altered. Previously minted in bronze, the 1p and 2p coins are now made of steel with copper plating, while the 5p and 10p coins, formerly made of copper-nickel alloy, are now minted in steel with nickel plating. Therefore, steel (iron again) is the common denominator, making British coins magnetic.

The currency of the Netherlands is called “Dutch coins,” and like British coins, they can be attracted to a magnet. They are mostly nickel with a bronze finish. Dutch coins are magnetic because nickel is magnetic, while bronze is not. The nickel plating on the steel used to make Canadian pennies and quarters since 2002 makes them magnetic.

Reddit user magnetmansweden talks about coins he has magnet fished


Coins and pennies, like paper currency, can have different components from one country to the next. The capability to show magnetism is very composition dependent. We draw the conclusion that only some coins and cents are magnetic.

Old and modern U.S coins do not exhibit magnetic qualities. Old British coins were non-magnetic, while modern coins are now magnetic. If a country uses steel or nickel in its currency, its coins will be magnetic. Metals such as silver, bronze, or copper will not attract a magnet.

Materials – Are They Magnetic?

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