Sizes of U.S. Coins

Why are all U.S. coins proportionately sized by value except dimes. What I mean is that Fifty cent pieces are bigger than quarters which are bigger than nickels which are bigger than pennies. But dimes are smaller than them all. Why why why

Actually, the odd one out is really the nickel. When coins were originally made of silver, the half dollar, quarter and dime were proportionally sized. (So the quarter was half the size of a half-dollar, and a dime one fifth the size.) But a five cent piece was so tiny as to be a nuisance, so they used a less valuable metal, nickel, to make a coin half the value of a dime, but bigger.

These days US coins are sandwiches made of copper and steel and other stuff that I don’t remember, but the sizes remain.

Let’s not forget that the last two issuances of a dollar coin have been marginally greater diameter (and of course thicker) than a quarter, but smaller than a half dollar.

Good explanation on sizes and silver, friedo. Notice that a dime is smaller than a penny – which was given that size in 1856, when the large cents of approximately quarter size were discontinued. The penny has always been made of copper or bronze (1943 being an exception).

No steel in US coins, except the 1943 cents.

Actually, due to the rising price of copper, pennies have been made from zinc since 1982 and are then copper plated to give them a traditional look. Ironically, a penny now has the least copper content of any American coin.

Actually, the cent and half cent were proportionately sized. You just have to think as if it’s 1793. A cent had to contain a cents worth of copper. The half cent contained half that much. Thus, the “large cent” was about the size of today’s half dollar. A half cent was about the size of today’s quarter.