How are worn coins taken out of circulation?

Dear Cecil:

How are coins taken out of circulation when they get worn? I know there's an elaborate procedure for culling out worn paper money, but I've never seen anything about coins.

Cecil replies:

Coins are usually pulled from circulation nowadays only when they are so worn, bent, or mutilated that they will no longer run through the automatic sorting machines at local banks. Such coins are sent to the Federal Reserve, the Denver Mint, or the U.S. Assay Office in New York for credit. Coins that don’t jam the machines can circulate indefinitely.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

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