A nickel is now worth a dime?
by Tommy Jasmin

Last year I did a piece on how the current intrinsic value of the metal in a U.S. penny is actually worth more than a penny. Perhaps some of you were wondering if a similar situation applies to any of the other typical American pocket change.

It turns out the situation is very similar for the U.S. five-cent piece, the Jefferson Nickel. The intrinsic value of the metal (copper and nickel) in these coins is approaching ten cents! This is based on rates the last time I checked, where copper was at $3.45 per pound and nickel over $20.00 per pound. The present-day five-cent piece is 75% coppper and 25% nickel (a composition that has not changed since the introduction of the Shield Nickel in 1866), so the spot-price of copper is the major factor in the metallic value.

© 2005 The U.S. Mint

The U.S. Mint has actually been concerned about entities collecting quantities of nickels and melting them down, and it is of course illegal to do so.

Another little known fact that the U.S. Mint would like to keep from getting too much attention is that it now costs over ten cents to produce each new five-cent piece. Can you blame them? It doesn't make the government look too competent when it costs twice as much as the money is worth to manufacture it!

Tommy is subbing this month for David Albanese, a Nostomania coins advisor. Albanese Rare Coins can be reached at their outstanding web site.

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