The 6-Cent Nickel: Gone by 2012?

By Richard Bloch

Let’s say that you happen to have 375 pounds of copper and 125 pounds of nickel downstairs in your basement.

The copper would be worth about \$1,578 and the nickel would be worth about \$1,388 – or a total of \$2,968.

Each U.S. nickel contains 3.75 grams of copper and 1.25 grams of nickel. So if you happened to have 46,000 nickels in your basement, that would be the equivalent of about 375 pounds of copper and 125 pounds of nickel.

But the face value of that many nickels is only \$2,300, roughly \$668 less than the value of the metal itself.

So essentially a nickel is worth about 6.54 cents in terms of its metal. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it’s still about a 30% premium.

Of course, getting your hands on that many nickels wouldn’t be all that easy, and besides, it’s illegal to melt them down or even export them. Furthermore, the energy required to separate the nickel from the copper in the alloy might not even be worth the investment.