Does Milling Coins Serve Any Purpose Now?

When coins were made of precious metal ‘milling’ help reduce the practice of ‘clipping’ metal off the coins.

Given that current US coins are made of relatively inexpensive metals, as opposed to gold and silver, does the ongoing milling serve any purpose?

I thought it might be ‘tradition’ but then wondered if there was some practical aspect, such as in vending machines or coin-counting machines. Or maybe there’s some out-of-date law on the books.

I note that pennies and nickels don’t have milling while dimes and quarters do. (I don’t have a half- or dollar coin handy just now)

Anywhow - why do they keep doing it?

It allows blind people to readily distinguish coins of similar size.

Exactly. Penny smooth, dime milled. Quarter milled, dollar smooth.

Not just blind or visually impaired people, either. Anyone can determine the value of coins in their pocket by touch. I find myself using the milled/unmilled distinction when looking at the coins in the change pocket in my wallet.

What about the nickel though? Roughly the same size as the penny but also smooth.

That’s because dimes and quarters used to be silver. Half-dollars and the old big dollar coins are also milled, for the same reason. Pennies and nickels aren’t, because they were made of non-precious metals, so you couldn’t make any money shaving them down anyway.

Huh? Not in the USA, the sizes are quite different.

Much thicker than a penny.

But that was in olden times. Pennies and nickels got too valuable for their metal and a law was passed to ban melting them down.

Note that shaving coins was intended to win by gaining metal while still passing on the coin at face value. With current prices, for some coins it’s more economically due to labor, etc., to just melt the whole thing. Just don’t get caught.