Have you heard? America is in the midst of a significant coin shortage, and like almost every blaze contributing to this trash fire of a year, this one was lit by the pandemic. As we first explained back at the beginning of July, the reduction in in-person shopping and banking during the COVID crisis has kept countless coins out of circulation. This week, according to a report in The Hill, the director of the US Mint, David Ryder, is calling on all of us to help alleviate the crisis by using exact change when we shop and finally cashing in all those jars of change we’ve been collecting for years.




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Turn Your Loose Change Into Cash You Can Actually UseCoins are pretty great when you’re a kid. They’re shiny, have that weirdly pleasing metallic smell…

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Maybe before you do, you want to decide if heading to the bank is worth the trip (even if you are masked and keep your distance, every outing carries some degree of risk, after all). If so, there’s an easy way for you to estimate how much money is in your change jar—without counting it. If your coins are separated by denomination, it’s a simple matter of making a calculation based on weight. For example, according to the US Mint’s coin specifications page, a quarter weighs 5.67g. Turns out that $10 in quarters weighs half a pound, which is certainly convenient. At 2.268g per dime, one pound of dimes also equals $20. Things aren’t as clean with other coins—one pound of nickels (each 5g) comes out to roughly $4.50, for example.




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The catch with using these numbers to make your own quick estimates is that you will still have to separate your coins before you weigh them, which is a bit of a hassle—but that’s where the Coin Jar Calculator steps in. This simple website gives you a solid estimate based on the weight of a jar of mixed coins as judged by a representative handful of coins.Of course, if you just want to turn the money into cash, you can always hit up your bank or a Coinstar at your grocery store. But if you want to make a quick estimation of what you have lying around, the by-weight calculation is a useful trick to keep in mind.This article was originally published in May 2011. It was updated in August 2020 by Joel Cunningham to add contemporary context, replace expired links, refresh screenshots and add a new header image.