Letter Re: Composition of U.S. Five Cent Coins


I just read your article about stocking up on nickels.
You suggested requesting new “wrapped” (fresh Federal Reserve Bank issue) rolls but then there were updates regarding the [potential] change to steel nickels. I did additional research and it appears that the nickel is still made of 25% nickel and 75% copper. Correct?
So the suggestion would still be valid today. Correct?
Or is it better to not request “new” nickels?

Thanks, – Patrick F.

JWR Replies: To the best of my knowledge the composition of U.S. has NOT changed since 1946. Although there are tentative plans, there have not yet been any steel nickels minted in the U.S. (Although there are many steel nickels in Canada, including the current mintings. Be sure to search the SurvivalBlog archives for details, since the composition of Canadian nickels has changed dramatically over the years. For example, you will find articles like this: Advice on Canadian Nickels.)

Presently (as of January, 2014), when you request rolls of nickels in the United States they will all be 75% copper and 25% nickel, unless you get lucky and a roll might include one or two War Nickels. Those are composed of 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese, and they will be dated 1943, 1944, or 1945. They are also recognizable by their extra-large mint marks on the reverse. It is quite rare to find any War Nickels still in circulation.