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Summer -Fall 2008

2010 Cents and Nickels made out of steel?  

US cents and nickels are becoming too expensive to make out of copper, zinc, and nickel.

Everyday costs are going up!  Yes.  Just about everything you buy is costing more each year and the prices of basic commodities seem to be leading the pack.  Take a trip to the grocery store and you can see higher prices almost every time you visit.  They say the price increases are caused by the price of raw materials, plus higher production costs too!  

 Next time you pay for your purchase at the grocery store, think about this”

“The cost of making the money you use is going up, too.”  

Recently, copper, nickel and zinc prices have moved up in cost.  So much so, that it is costing the United States mint more than a cent to make a penny, and more than 5 cents to make a nickel!  Every 1 cent and 5 cent coin they make looses the government money.  (And that loss trickles down to you and me in the form of higher taxes.) 

Ruling passes - forbids the Melting of US Cents and Nickels.

It is now against the law to melt pennies and nickels!

 With the metal in these small US coins getting so expensive, the government is afraid individuals will begin melting our coins to extract the metals from them. Recently rulings have been issued making it a Federal crime and implementing a substantial fine for melting US 1 cent and 5 cent coins.  There is also some fear that the public will begin hoarding pennies and nickels, as the coins obtain a metallic value greater than their face value.  If that were to happen, we could see some coin shortages.   

 Congress proposes changing the composition of coins

H.R. 5512A has been passed by the House of Representatives.  As of this writing it has some additional hurdles to becoming law.  Title of the bill is the “Coin Modernization and Taxpayer Savings Act of 2008”.  

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If passed into law as written it authorizes a change in the composition of the cent to a copper colored steel alloy.  Additionally, the five cent nickel coin will be changed to nickel coated steel.


If this happens a nickel won’t be a “nickel”.  Will we call it a “steelee”?

Most Americans call the 5 cent coin a “nickel”.  However, the term nickel is a slang term that evolved a hundred years ago.  The first US five cent coins were called half dimes, or five cent pieces.  They were made of silver.  In the mid-1800’s the US government changed the 5 cent coin’s composition to nickel (and copper).  People started calling the new, larger 5 cent coin a “nickel”, because of it containing the metal nickel.  The term stuck, and today we call our US five cent coin a nickel.  

Pennies may change in 2010

If this coin bill passes the Senate without a lot of revisions, we may have a new cent perhaps in 2010.  A clause in the bill requires the mint to begin making “steel” cents within 9 months of enactment.  Currently, another bill that become law last year authorizes the US mint to make four special commemorative LINCOLN CENTS for 2009.  That bill specifies the type of coins that must be made, so there is some question whether steels cents will happen in 2009 or 2010, if the newer bill becomes law.

 Nickels may change composition in 2010

Current language in the House bill requires the US mint to make changed in the composition of the US 5 cent coin within 2 years of passage of the bill.  This would mean the nickel could might to a “steelie” somewhere between 2009 and 2011.  

 Check back with this website later.  We will add updates in the US cent and nickel situation as they become known.

 Copyright © 2008 John Lynn    All rights reserved.

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