Better late than never. Approximately five years after coin collectors began the discussion about what to do about the cost of producing the U.S. nickel, we are now seeing the topic appearing more and more elsewhere.
Russ Rulau wrote an article for Numismatic News about the profit potential for hoarding, but this was before the Treasury made it illegal to melt or export the coins at the end of 2006.
Unfortunately, the Treasury imposed the stopgap melting measure and it has sat there ever since. Treasury tried to use the problem as an excuse for Congress to delegate its power to regulate U.S. coinage to the Treasury secretary.
Congress didn’t buy it.
The idea was finally beaten back for the last time in the waning days of the last Congress in 2010.
We’re still waiting.
How long will it take Treasury to come up with a recommendation? Let's watch and see.
One of the more creative solutions was offered by Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma a few years back. He suggested replacing the nickel with the old half dime, only this time made of the copper-nickel clad alloy presently used in dimes, quarters and half dollars. The alloy cost is just 1.3 cents at present market prices, a far cry from the 6.5 cents the metal in the nickel is presently worth.
In the meantime, enjoy the attention to this topic.
I particularly enjoyed a story that caught my eye when I visited www.coinflation.com.
I hope you do, too.