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TL;DNR: It is currently illegal to melt down pennies and nickels in the US. US law (31 USC § 5111(d)(1)) gives the Secretary of the Treasury the power to "prohibit or limit...the melting of US coins when...necessary to protect the coinage of the US." In 2007, the Secretary (ie, the US Mint) used this power to issue a rule (31 CFR § 82.1(a) & (b)) ...


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Yes, and no You can't legally destroy banknotes but you can destroy coins. You can't "fraudulently" alter coins but that's not what you were doing; you were doing a science experiment, not committing fraud. The law prohibits the destruction of "bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt": a coin is none of those things. The first three are obvious, ...


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