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March 16, 2011

Are you hoarding nickels?

The metal in the coin is currently worth 6.5 cents, though it is illegal to melt or export it under current Treasury regulations.

That hasn’t stopped a number of people online from suggesting that hoarding nickels is the way to go.

How many people are taking that advice to hoard the nickel?

Not too many that I can see – yet.

Sure, I have had a few e-mails from people wondering how they can buy large quantities for face value, but I think a more on-target gauge to watch is current Mint nickel output.

The February numbers show that nickel production dropped by two-thirds from January to February. In January 93.12 million were produced. In February the number was 32.16 million nickels.

This makes the two-month total 125.28 million pieces.

A rising tide of hoarding would likely not allow the Mint to cut back like it did in February.

On the other hand, if the current two-month production pace continues all year, nickel output in 2011 will be 751.68 million coins, up from 490.56 million in 2010.

Is this evidence of growing hoarding?

Well, let me just say that it is enough evidence to prompt me to ask the question.

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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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