Gerald Tebben, a Coin World columnist for more than 30 years, also contributes to Coin World’s Coin Values and edits the Central States Numismatic Society’s journal, The Centinel. He collects coins that tell stories.
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Odd uses for coins: A wine-saving tip
This PCGS-graded red MS-66+ 1909-S VDB cent sold for $17,625 last year. Placed in a bad bottle of wine, it would cleanse the wine of its sulfur smell. (But if you have this coin, chances are, you can afford a good bottle of wine…)
A penny saved may be a penny earned, but a penny dropped into a glass of smelly wine can save the drink.
“Wine drinkers rejoice, if you've got a bottle of wine on hand that's pumping out bad, sulfury smells, we've got a cheap chemistry life hack to help,” the American Chemical Society teases on its YouTube channel.
In a late 2015 Chemistry Life Hacks video, “How to Save Smelly Wine,” the society says a pre-1983 copper cent can turn bad wine good.
“You had a brutal day and finally earned yourself a moment to breath,” the narrator intones. “Take a seat and enjoy a glass of wine from that lonely bottle that’s been waiting for you. You crack it open, pour yourself a glass, only to find out that your wine stinks like match sticks and burnt rubber.”
The culprit is thiols (stinky sulfur molecules) that either built up in storage or were created during fermentation gone wrong. Swirling the wine in the glass might help a bit, but the American Chemical Society has a sure-fire, better-living-through-chemistry cure.
“Head straight to your coin jar. Pull out an old penny, give it a nice, solid cleaning in the sink and then drop it right into your glass. Stir it around briefly with a spoon. Pull it out and taste and smell a world of difference.”
The society reports, “When you drop a penny into your wine, the copper reacts with these thiol compounds producing odorless copper sulfide crystals.”
The result is delicious and you get your penny back.
Next: Bonus odd coin use: Heat dispersal