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Time to notice ordinary nickels again

I didn’t plan it that way, but yesterday’s blog about clad coins segues nicely into the news that the metallic value of the U.S. five-cent coin, popularly called the nickel since its introduction in 1866, once again has exceeded face value. It has been quite a long time since this has been true as copper and nickel prices had been knocked hard by the financial crisis.

I noticed this yesterday on the Coinflation.com Web site after the commodity markets had ceased trading.

The premium over face value is slight and it would not pay to melt coins at current values, but the .0508741 value is enough to prompt me to remark that the new year will probably revive the question in Congress as to just what the coin should be made of.

It probably is not a priority and it easily could be postponed as long as overall coin demand remains light and the Treasury ban on melting or exporting the coins remains in effect.

The nickel is not a clad coin. It is a homogenous alloy of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel. The irony is that the price of copper has more effect on the melt value of the nickel than does nickel.

The value of the current copper-coated zinc cent is .0065694, so there is no imminent danger of melting of this denomination.

The old 95-percent copper alloy pieces is another story. Each of these cents now has a metallic value of more than two cents, or .0217706 to be Coinflation precise. The melting ban makes this just an interesting point.

What will the future bring? What I know is I will be watching the Coinflation.com Web site closely in 2010. Perhaps you should, too.

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3 Responses to Time to notice ordinary nickels again

  1. Mark says:

    I’ve been following coinflation.com for several years now. I find it interesting that there are already several on-line sites that are selling copper bullion in the form of pre 1982 pennies. They are sold in 50, 100, 200lb lots and up. The average price is anywhere between 0.0175 to 0.02 per coin. One can get these pennies at face in rolls from banks, but the time has to be spent sorting them out from the copper coated zinc pennies.

  2. Bob says:

    I just received a copy of the December 22, 2009 issue of the Numismatic News and there was an editorial by you about "Keep those criticisms coming and coming." I thought that you handled the criticisms written by the gentlemen quite well. But I did take offense to the phrase "you with your college education…" I have written for various philatelic publications, (yes, some people do collect coins and stamps), and writing is always a process, as a result, you are constantly updating and re-writing all of your stories, up to the moment of publication. All people makes mistakes, unfortunately, writers must live with them forever when the publication goes to print. I constantly read in publications typos and mistatements of fact, but in todays "intstant news" world that we live in, you must give up some control for errors in an attempt to get-the-facts out. This has nothing to do with the level of the writer’s education. Please continue to make mistakes if you promise to continue your high quality articles. Now, if you could only find someone to start writing new articles to replace the late Paul M. Green’s wonderful thoughts.

  3. Mark Johnson says:

    Let us hope congress can avoid tampering with the composition of the US Nickel. In my opinion they wear much nicer than the clad denominations. After about 20 years in circulation, the bag marks fade and they take on a very attractive surface which they will hold for decades.

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