Does a "coin date reader" exist?

In a thread up yesterday on the US Mint’s decision to issue a new (as yet undesigned) nickle, the linked article mentioned that the Mint removes used nickles from circulation that are older than XX number of years. A quick search couldn’t find the thread but I think it was about 25 or 30 years or so. This came as a surprise to me as I’d always just figured that collectors gradually gleaned these out as they became older.

What I’m curious about is how does the Mint seperate coins that meet their age requirement from those that don’t? Is this seemingly monumental task actually carried out by hand as countless individuals come across them or do they have actual machines that can rapidly scan through the coins, nickles in this case, and read the dates, small as they are?

Also, at what level/by who is this task performed? By banks?

As the coin in question, I probably should have used the main spelling of “nickel” instead of it’s variant.

Here’s the article the thread referenced. Yes, it 's after around 30 years for this particular coin that they’re removed.

I don’t think they actually look at the dates. I think they are culled by the amount of wear that’s exhibited. But it’s a good question as to who actually sits there at the bank/mint and culls through thousands of bags of nickels. Maybe they have a machine that can sort them by weight? Seems unlikely, since the difference in weight due to wear would be slight. Is there a question forum on the mint’s site?

Didn’t see anything on the Mint webpage with several searches or in the FAQs. I even called their 800 but the rep didn’t know either.

A few years ago, on a tour thru the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, we saw a machine that sorted paper currency, counted it, bundled it in groups of 100, and wrapped the little strap around the bundle. We were told that at the same time, the machine examined the bills for wear & tear, and separated out those with excessive wear, for eventual destruction (recycling). You could even buy little bags of finely shredded money.

I would presume they could have a similar machine to process coins, that would remove those with excessive wear from circulation.

A few years ago, on a tour thru the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, we saw a machine that sorted paper currency, counted it, bundled it in groups of 100, and wrapped the little strap around the bundle. We were told that at the same time, the machine examined the bills for wear & tear, and separated out those with excessive wear, for eventual destruction (recycling). You could even buy little bags of finely shredded money.

I would presume they could have a similar machine to process coins, that would remove those with excessive wear from circulation.

I think t-bonham is on the right track. I don’t have a cite, but I read somewhere that coins are removed from circulation by banks when they’re too worn to go through the banks’ sorting machines.

I don’t know the answer to the OP, but here’s how coins are handled at the Federal Reserve Banks:

-Member banks send coins to the Fed loose, in cloth bags, in set amounts, by denomination. A bag of quarters, IIRC, is $1000.

-The Fed empties all bags of each denomination into a seperate large metal hopper where they are weighed. The scales are amazingly precise. Incoming coins are not counted.

-The Fed ships coins out in the same way - loose in cloth bags, in set amounts, by denomination. The receiver (could be a member bank, but usually an armored carrier company paid to process cash for the bank) empties the bags into a machine that rolls the coins. The rolls are then boxed in standard amounts (50 rolls per box).

It’s possible that the machine used by the Fed to re-bag coins has a “wear reader” of some sort, but I don’t know for sure. I do know that banks, as a rule, do not out sort worn or mutilated coins. Worn/mutilated coins must be sent in the same manner as good coins - loose, bagged, sorted, in set amounts. The bag must be marked “mutilated coin”. It takes forever to come up with $1000 worth of mutilated quarters and during that time the bank loses use of those funds. While that may not seem like a big deal, if you have a half bag of mutilated quarters sitting in 2000 branches around the country that’s one million dollars the bank can’t invest. Not to mention the fact that you have to keep separate bags going and put the right coins in the right bag - a pain. It’s more expedient to mix the old and beat up coins in with the new ones.

They are sorted in a machine very similar to the coin slots on every vending machine.
The coins slide down a series of ramps. If they are underweight (worn) they drop into side buckets to be scrapped.
Also, the magnetic properties can be checked, since nickle is magnetic and the ratio has varied over the different mint years, adding more and more cheaper metals.

Every bank employee who handles coins or bills is a potentil agent of removal of old, defaced, torn, and defaced money. Some defacing is more subject to removal from circulation than other.

There is a web site: AskGeorge.com where you can register a bill’s serial number, where passed (spent), your email address, and a memo note on the bill for the one seeing the message to check in and report where reeived, date, etc. and get a history of the bills travels, including miles/hour or some such.
Over 2 million registered and see site for more information. They ust have a HUGE data base to support all the activiaty.

Shadwell, the Federal Reserve Banks do not use sorters - they don’t accept unsorted coins. Either of the mechanisms you describe could work as part of a machine that re-bags the coins, but I don’t know for a fact that such a mechanism exists.