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A Ton of Money

As an illustration of one facet of my particular insanity, today I was soaking in the bath when I remembered someone remarking that so-and-so had a ton of money. Just how much money would one ton be?

Well, anything to think about would be good if it would keep me soaking in the nice hot water instead of going out to mow the stinking lawn. So I pondered the question a bit.

It's going to depend on what form the money takes, obviously. The heavier the money, the less the value of a ton of it.

It seemed, remembering how a stack of five pennies is bigger than a nickel, and a stack of ten pennies is definitely heavier than a dime, that pennies would be the heaviest form of money. I don't need to consider larger coins since they are based on designs that were silver once, and thus should maintain the ratio of face value to weight that a dime does. In short, if an equivalent value of pennies outweighs any "silver" coin, it should outweigh them all.

I got out of the tub in the end, dried off, dashed to the coffee maker (first things first!) and then did a bit of research. Indeed, pennies are the heaviest US money for their value. (They also cost the US Mint 2.41 cents per 1 cent coin to manufacture. If you needed any other evidence that it's silly to keep making the things.)

A penny weighs 2.5 grams, according to Wikipedia Which is Never Wrong, Right? Doing the conversions, this comes out to $3,628.74 per ton. If you want to make sure a thief can't steal your retirement fund, convert it to pennies and dump it into your basement. Thief would just about have to get earth-moving equipment to steal a few thousand dollars worth of pennies that way.

It's not that simple, though, since older pennies were heavier. Pre-1986 pennies go 145 per pound vs. 181 per pound for the newer ones. According to this standard, the new pennies are $3,260 per ton (close enough to what I got) and older ones would be a relative swindle at only $2900 per ton. On the other hand the older pennies have collector's value and their materials are worth more, so you'd probably be better off with them after all.

The other end of the spectrum is a bit more straightforward. All US currency weighs about the same, whether it's a $1 or a $100. Right now the biggest bill printed is the $100. It weighs "about a gram." If it was exactly a gram, then rounding to the nearest hundred dollar bill, a ton of them would come out to $90,718,500.

And you could carry it all in one fairly ordinary pickup truck! Such a deal.

And now I have to go mow the stinking lawn. Dagnappit.
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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 21st, 2012 11:06 pm (UTC)
If you're rounding off anyway, why not call it a metric ton, and say it's an even $100 million?
May. 21st, 2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
Because a metric ton is metric. If I did all of this in metric units the answers would come out in francs, at which point, who cares?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )