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Has anybody else seen a flimsy-looking nickel?

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June 24, 2011 – Comments (2) | RELATED TICKERS: JJN , UBM , LMC.DL2

I got this one nickel a month or two ago (sorry I kept forgetting to blog about it), and it felt like zinc! It had the same flimsy, joke-arse feel to it that modern pennies have. It featured a 3/4 view of Jefferson's magnificent visage (a mockery as our most anti-central banking Founder is forced to watch impotently over the debasing of our last truly valuable form of currency), and I forget the reverse (I don't think it was Monticello). Has anybody else seen (or felt) a flimsy, zinc-y nickel? Did I imagine it?

The only thing I've been able to find (though it was hardly an exhaustive search), was this, put out by the excellent coinflation folks:

http://www.coinflation.com/coinage_material.html 

But there's no indication I've found that they've already done the wicked deed, except that one contemptible little coin I held in my hand a couple months ago. 

I almost posted this without mentioning why this is significant: in case you haven't heard, nickels are (or at least have been until recently) minted using about 6 or 7 cents worth of nickel and copper apiece, at today's spot prices. Any nickel you obtain that was minted from whenever they started minting the things some time in the 1800's and mid-1942, or between 1946 and 2010, contains more than 6 cents worth of metal. (The 1943-1945 nickels, and some of the 1942 nickels, contain silver and are worth $2.80-something, but you won't find them lying around in cash registers or wherever.) You can be a nickel and copper baron, and the government will subsidize you. (They're trying to figure out a way to stop subsidizing this.) If they changed the composition of newly minted coins, I want to know about it. 

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 25, 2011 at 10:12 AM, MoneyWorksforMe (< 20) wrote:

"Has anybody else seen (or felt) a flimsy, zinc-y nickel? Did I imagine it?"

I haven't, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised... I will tell you that a few months ago when my grandfather passed away, he left behind a substantial coin collection. Since then I have been doing copious research to determine their metal composition, and numismatic value (if any).

I was pleased to find he had over 50 oz. of silver in terms of various coins, but was also very surprised to learn that most U.S. coins up until 1964, contained a very high content (90%) of silver. Even the modern quarters and dimes contained 90% silver...I was taken aback when I realized how significantly our coins have been devalued by using cheaper metals over the previous decades.

The devaluation began by substituting the silver content with copper and nickel. However, more recently, zinc, a far cheaper metal has been used to replace copper and nickel...What's next? Iron, and then plastic?

Ever wonder why we stopped using silver in many coins in 1965? Well in 1965 we first entered militarily into the Vietnam War..Deficit spending, increased public debt, nuff' said.

Also ever ask yourself why senior Americans always carry around change--and lots of it-- to purchase things, even today? It's usually not because they're being cheap or don't have a lot of money but rather, in the not-to-disant past they could actually use change to buy many of the items they needed...

To prove an economics point to my family recently, I took out a stack of roughly 20 pre-1965 quarters and jokingly said to my grandma, "I'm going to go to the store to buy my weeks worth of groceries..."

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#2) On June 25, 2011 at 3:39 PM, FleaBagger (29.74) wrote:

I hadn't really thought about the Vietnam War-coin debasement connection, but that makes perfect sense. The welfare state looked like a good idea until it had to share the budget with the warfare state.

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