Melting U.S. cents and nickels was banned Dec. 14 by the U.S. Mint. Interim regulations went into effect that also prohibit export or treatment of the coins.
"We are taking this action because the nation needs its coinage for commerce," said Mint Director Edmund C. Moy.
Travelers may take up to $5 in cents and nickels out of the country and individuals may send $100 face value out of the country in any one shipment for legitimate coinage and numismatic purposes.
Violating the ban can result in a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both.
The interim rule is effective for 120 days and the public has 30 days to comment by writing the Office of the Chief Counsel, United States Mint, 801 9th St. N.W., Washington, DC 20220.
It currently costs more than face value to produce cents and nickels.
Will this ban provoke action in Congress to change the cent and nickel? Send your thoughts by e-mail to Numismatic News editor Dave Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your city and state with your message.