Coins are tough little devils. Over the course of a coins’ lifespan, they will be dropped, kicked, stepped on, possibly run over by a vehicle, or involved in some children’s experiment to discover just how durable they are. Through all this along with the other endless possibilities, it is reasonable to wonder what the average lifespan of a coin is.

As luck would have it, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) compiled a significant amount of data and released the report (geared toward how the government can save money by switching to coins instead of paper money) in 2011. The informative report revealed coins, on average, have a lifespan of about 30 years.

That’s not to say that there are not coins still in circulation which have been around longer that 30 years but a good lot of coins, it seems are returned to banks and then inevitably, The Mint, to be destroyed.

Coin collectors play a significant role in removing coins from circulation as well. Forever on the lookout and scouring pocket change for overlooked Lincoln wheat or buffalo nickel, collectors clean up a modest percentage of older coins every year. Helping some coins avoid the meltdown.


If you like this article, then you might enjoy other articles in our archives, such as What Is A First Strike Coin

Liberty Coin & Currency specializes in rare coins and currency. We are a family-owned business located in Portland and Vancouver. We are also gold, silver, diamond, currency and jewelry buyers. Visit us first for a free evaluation.

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