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Get thrills and chills watching the nickel

When we last left our heroine, she was tied to the railroad tracks and the locomotive was building speed as it raced toward her.

Whoa. Wait. Wrong story. Wrong century.

It was just weeks ago when the prices of copper and nickel combined to make it appear that the metallic value of America’s five-cent piece would soon hit 10 cents, or double its face value.

Then a funny thing happened. The prices of the two metals, which are in heavy demand in China, declined, taking the metallic value of the coin to 8.4 cents.

I wrote in my Class of ’63 column in Numismatic News that the 10-cent level might be a tipping point at which people would seriously considered hoarding the coin despite the Mint’s prohibition on melting them.

With the locomotive hurtling toward that price level, it looked like we would soon see if my theory was corrrect.

Then the train basically stopped and started going backwards. This halt could be temporary. Copper and nickel both jumped yesterday. I make it a point to check a Web site that recalculates the metallic values of coins on a daily basis to keep track of things. It is called Take a look at it at

See what you think. It is a handy Web site and that train might just start moving toward the 10-cent price level for the nickel coin again.

Come back next week and see the next chapter. Will our heroine escape her peril?