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Hoarding is Not a Fine Art
February 16, 2011

Nickel hoarding: is this the coming thing?

After my comments on Friday, I received several e-mails from an online blogger who is recommending the hoarding of nickels.

He wondered what dates or conditions I might recommend. Should they be proofs? Should they be MS-67s?

I told him I had no suggestions along those lines, except to say that as a collector, Jefferson nickels have been pretty well dead since the roll and bag boom ended as 1964 came to a close. I thought collectors should focus on the 1938-1945 dates.

However, as I think about it more, it seems to me to be foolish to mix up the collecting impulse and the hoarding impulse.

If your case to keep the nickels is that the prices of copper and nickel will rise so much that it will be profitable (and no longer illegal as it presently is) to melt the coins, any coin will do. Trying to find top grades in quantity will simply slow you down and reduce your eventual profit.

Will collectors 20 years from now care whether tens of millions of nickels from the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s are MS-67? I doubt it. If they are common, they will be priced like common coins.

Back in the late 1970s, I used to sort through silver coins sold as bullion. I pulled a number of G-VG 1937-S quarters out to keep.

Surely this scarce date should not be melted, I reasoned, and surely future collectors will price it as a better date.

OK. I am still waiting. The 1964-D has gone up as much in price since then.

The lesson?

Hoarding is hoarding and collecting is collecting. The two are not the same thing.

If you want to hoard nickels, go for it. Don’t worry about the grades.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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