"half-dollar"/"50 cent piece" Was: Recovering the ROM of an IBM 5100 using OCR

Guy Sotomayor Jr ggs at shiresoft.com
Mon Jul 1 16:47:47 CDT 2019

> On Jul 1, 2019, at 2:10 PM, Fred Cisin via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
>>> A "Dime" is one tenth of a dollar.  Or ten cents.  Or $10 worth of drugs.
>>> The coin is 17.91mm diameter, and the smallest coin in circulation.
>>> A "Nickel" is five cents.  or $5 worth of drugs.
>>> The coin is 21.21mm, and is between a penny and a quarter in size.
>> I'm broadly aware but I can never remember which is 5¢ and which is 10¢.
> Think of the "dime" as a "deci"
> "nickel and dime" is used to mean small and irrelevant.
> "nickel" and "dime" are also slang for $5 and $10 respectively, except in casinos, because while the casinos still had coin slot machines 

In terms of denominations that the US used, originally there was no nickel.  There was a half-dime to represent $0.05.  It was a silver coin half the size of the dime.  The mint changed over to nickel because the half-dime was too small.  The original nickel was almost identical to the $5 gold piece of the time, so with some simple chemistry (basically gold plating the nickel) you could pass it off as a $5 gold piece.  The mint changed the design of the nickel so as to make the subterfuge more obvious to the causal observer.

US coinage is littered with denominations that are no longer used:
half-cent ($0.005) copper
“large” cent ($0.01 but the approximate size of a quarter but of copper instead of silver)
2 cent piece (copper)
3 cent piece (nickel)
half-dime (silver)
20 cent piece (silver)

And then of course there the gold coins:
$1 (about the size of a dime)
$5 (about the size of a nickel)
$10 (about the size of a quarter)
$20 (about the size of a half dollar)
$50 (rare and about the size of a silver dollar)

Each coin (be it silver or gold) was intended to approximately represent the value of the metal in the coin (that is a $10 gold coin was supposed to contain roughly $10 of gold).  I believe at the time an ounce of silver was $1.25 and I believe gold was $32/oz.  These are of course troy ounces - 12 troy ounces to a pound versus 16 avoirdupois ounce to a pound.

TTFN - Guy

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