Coins minted in the United States have a lifespan of about 25 years. The earliest coins were made from copper, gold or silver. These days, quarters, dimes and nickels are made with a copper core with a nickel cover. Pennies are made of zinc with copper plating. These later coins are not only less expensive to manufacture, they also weigh less than the original coins. You may have coins that have become damaged in some way and you want to know what to do with them.
If your coins are damaged, but whole, it is sometimes difficult to determine that they are genuine U.S. currency. If you local bank will not exchange them, you must take the coins to a Federal Reserve Bank. In the United States, there are 12 designated Federal Reserve Banks. The banks are in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Mo., Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, St. Louis and San Francisco. There are also 24 branches in various cities throughout the nation. If your coins are broken or otherwise not whole, the only place you can redeem them is at the United States Mint in Philadelphia.
In some cases, a collector will purchase your damaged coin. He may find that a hole in the middle or other damage has not drastically diminished the value of the coin. He many even have a buyer for the coin. If you wish to work with a collector, do your research and be sure to find a reputable person who will treat you fairly and honestly.
The United States Mint melts down coins it determines are mutilated and sends them to a fabricator. The fabricator (coin smelter) works with the U. S. Mint to reuse the metal for future coin production.