Expensive Pocket Change?

Last week we talked about 2009 dimes at 900% profit.

What about 2009 nickels at 2900% profit? No, that’s not 29%, it truly is two thousand nine hundred percent, or said another way, twenty-nine hundred percent!

Have you seen a 2009 circulating nickel? Maybe, but probably not.

Currently, a dealer purchased never-been-circulated rolls of 2009 nickels minted in Philadelphia from his bank at $2 per roll. He offers these rolls for sale at $60 per roll. That’s $1.50 per $0.05 coin!

And, our profit equation is:

( Sales price minus purchase price ) divided by purchase price  then multiplied by 100 equals profit percentage.

( ( $60 – $2 ) / $2 ) x 100 = 2900%   !

Now, why is this?

Remember, the US Mint’s Director Moy stated in their 2009 Annual Report, “Our circulating coin production was at a 45-year low with fewer cash transactions because of the slow economy and Americans cashing in coins they’d been saving.”

Let’s look at a chart of the nickel mintages from 2004 through 2009:

US Mint Circulating Nickel Mintages

 In comparison to earlier years, the 2009 nickel mintage looks flat as a pancake.

The specific mintage numbers for 2008 and 2009 in millions show the 2009 mintage decreased to 13.5% of 2008’s circulating nickels:

  2009 2008  
Denver 46.80 352.80 13.3%
Philadelphia 39.84 287.76 13.8%
  86.64 640.56 13.5%


Remember, in 2004 and 2005, the Westward Journey nickels had reverse images honoring our western expansion with the Peace Medal and Keelboat designs in 2004 and the American Bison and Ocean in View designs for 2005.

Perhaps these new designs explain the higher mintages in those years.

Plus, in 2006, a new front facing image of Thomas Jefferson replaced the obverse design with the traditional Monticello design returning to the reverse.

In our chart, the mintages peaked in 2005 at just over 1.7 billion coins, yet in 2009 less than 100 million were minted and distributed to the Federal Reserve Banks.

In fact, the 2009 mintage equals less than 5% of the 2005 mintages.

So, a 2009 pocket change nickel could be worth more than $0.05. Will it be worth the $1.50 as in the dealer above’s example? Probably not as much since his were in BU (brilliant uncirculated) rolls.

But, if you do find 2009 dated nickels in your change, make sure you protect them from any further scratches or fingerprints.

If you do not have numismatic-approved holders, wrap the coins individually in chemical-free paper or cloth. Some in-a-pinch examples are a clean tissue without fragrance or lotion, a corner of a white envelop, a piece of white paper folded around the coin or similar clean, protective coverings.

But, what about 2010?  In the 2009 Annual Report, Director Moy went on to say, “The Federal Reserve Bank and the United States Mint forecast continued low circulating coin demand for FY 2010.”

In support of that comment, take a look at the current year’s information on the nickel mintages in the US Mint’s circulating coins production.

Their chart currently only shows January and February 2010 circulating coin mintages, but no nickels were shown minted in either Denver or Philadelphia.

Interesting…this means more fun treasure hunting in common pocket change!