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Awhile back, I investigated whether or not a million dollars really is a ton of money. As it turns out, the answer depends on whether or not you use the metric system. A million dollars in one dollar bills weighs in at a metric ton, or about 1.1 US tons. So then I got to thinking…
What if you had a million dollars in pennies? How much would that weigh? To get to the bottom of this mystery, I once again weighed some money. This time it was ten pennies, which weighed in at 26.15 grams. Assuming that this is representative of the pennies that are out there in circulation, we can now do a bit of math…
Let’s see… 2.615 grams per penny, 100 pennies in a dollar. That makes… Hrrrmmm… Carry the one… 261,500,000 grams or 261,500 kg. This corresponds to 261.5 metrics tons. Given that a metric ton is roughly 2200 pounds, we’re talking about 575,300 pounds, or just a shade under 288 US tons.
But wait! A penny really isn’t worth a penny anymore! What’s that, you say? A penny’s not worth a penny? Well, with recent reports that pennies actually cost 1.5 cents to produce, we need to adjust the numbers a bit. At a penny and a half per penny, if you were looking to mint pennies and you had a million bucks to spend, you be able to produce 66,666,667 pennies. So how much would that weigh? A hefty 383,533 pounds, or just a touch below 192 US tons.
What’s the point of all this? I’m really not sure, but it struck me as an entertaining exercise, and the recent news about how much a penny really costs just heightened my curiosity. Oh, and in case you’re curious, the US Mint estimates that there are as many as 140 billion pennies in circulation today — that’s 1.4 billion dollars.
So there you have it… Your math lesson for the day.
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