Monday, May 13, 2013

Coin clipping: government seeks to change metals in future coins

During World War II, the government exchanged metals suck as nickel for steel in coins for metals to help supply the war effort.  However, these actions were short term, and lasted just a few years.

Now, with inflation causing metal prices to rise, and value coins greater than their face value, the government is once again looking to replace metals such as nickel and copper with steel and perhaps metals with little value.

Photo courtesy of Coin News.net
A measure introduced in the U.S. Congress seeks to replace the base metal of most American coins with iron. The move would slash the nickel and copper content of U.S. coins to a fraction of today’s already reduced levels. Like past changes in metal content, the bill represents a logical continuation of currency debasement and calls into question the strength of U.S. fiat currency—yet another sign of the decline of the global monetary system.

Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) introduced the bill, H.B. 1719—the “Cents and Sensibility Act”—on April 24. It mandates that pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters be composed primarily of steel; specifically U.S. produced steel. He presents the bill as a budget measure, stating, “This legislation is a common-sense solution to decrease the cost of minting our coins. Not only will it cost less, but steel is an American resource that we have here at home and can be manufactured right here in our backyard.” His office asserts that, according to the House Financial Services Committee, the U.S. government would save up to $433 million over 10 years. - Gold Silver.com

After 1964, the Federal government removed silver from its minted coinage, and began the process of clipping coins to be primarily symbolic versus valuable.  Now, if this new bill passes, a pocket full of money will soon just be stamped steel disks.

6 comments:

Pennies were debased in 1983. Nickels have not been debased yet.

Nickels were debased in 1965. Nickels from 1945 to 1964 were made of 90% silver and 10% copper. Current nickels are made of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

That's not true Nickels were only silver during WWII.

All Canadian coins have now been debased. They are now plated steel, from the 1 cent (now no longer in production) to 2 dollar coin. Melt value about $200 / ton. The last 'valuable' coins, pure nickel 5 cent to the end of 1981 are quickly disappearing.

As Grant says, US nickels are cupronickel, and have been except for the years 1942-1945 when they were 35% Silver. The remaining coins from 10 cent to 1 dollar were 90% silver until 1964; from 1965 on they were plated copper, but there were still some dollar (until 1976) and half dollar coins (until 1970) made of 40% silver. The cent coins were bronze until 1983, and are currently copper-plated zinc.

Canadian nickels were 99% nickel until 1981, cupronickel 1982-2000. 10 cent to dollars were 80% silver until 1967, changed to 50% during 1967/1968, then to pure nickel from 1968 to 2001. Now they are all nickel-plated steel. Pennies were bronze to 1996, and copper-plated zinc 1997-1999, then plated steel to the end of production in 2012.

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