U.S. Mint: Don’t Melt the Pennies and Nickels

December 14th, 2006

Oh yeah, and don’t try to carry more that $5 worth of the coins out of the U.S. Thanks. Have a nice flight…

The restrictions on moving things of value OUT of the U.S. are, in my opinion, the most telling signs that the U.S. is approaching economic collapse. If they’re implementing this rule for pennies and nickels… After trillions of dollars of public wealth have been stolen and squandered…

Put a fork in it. It’s got to be close to done.

I never really bought into the Government-Seizing-Physical-Gold theories that gold bugs have been howling about for years. Well, even though I didn’t buy into that stuff before, you’d have to be in total denial if you think this pennies and nickels thing isn’t going to be about precious metals at some point in the not to distant future. And I’m not a gold bug anymore. I’m a shovels, seeds, goats and cows bug now.

I don’t like to do things like this, because it frightens people, but I’m left with no choice this time. I’d rather be wrong, and burn some credibility karma, than be right having not said anything.

WARNING: If you plan on removing physical gold, silver or platinum from the U.S., do not wait any longer to do it. GET YOUR ASSETS OUT NOW. The window of opportunity for removing anything of value (that is convertible into another currency) from the sinking ship is closing rapidly.

While it’s impossible to know for sure, I think you should be quietly implementing your overall contingency plans now, whatever those might be. And the fewer people who know about your plans, the better.

Via: USA Today:

People who melt pennies or nickels to profit from the jump in metals prices could face jail time and pay thousands of dollars in fines, according to new rules out Thursday.

Soaring metals prices mean that the value of the metal in pennies and nickels exceeds the face value of the coins. Based on current metals prices, the value of the metal in a nickel is now 6.99 cents, while the penny’s metal is worth 1.12 cents, according to the U.S. Mint.

That has piqued concern among government officials that people will melt the coins to sell the metal, leading to potential shortages of pennies and nickels.

“The nation needs its coinage for commerce,” U.S. Mint director Ed Moy said in a statement. “We don’t want to see our pennies and nickels melted down so a few individuals can take advantage of the American taxpayer. Replacing these coins would be an enormous cost to taxpayers.”

There have been no specific reports of people melting coins for the metal, Mint spokeswoman Becky Bailey says. But the agency has received a number of questions in recent months from the public about the legality of melting the coins, and officials have heard some anecdotal reports of companies considering selling the metal from pennies and nickels, she says.

Under the new rules, it is illegal to melt pennies and nickels. It is also illegal to export the coins for melting. Travelers may legally carry up to $5 in 1- and 5-cent coins out of the USA or ship $100 of the coins abroad “for legitimate coinage and numismatic purposes.”

Violators could spend up to five years in prison and pay as much as $10,000 in fines. Plus, the government will confiscate any coins or metal used in melting schemes.

Research Credit: MT and PS

14 Responses to “U.S. Mint: Don’t Melt the Pennies and Nickels”

  1. messianicdruid Says:

    Do not melt any coins, they will be worth more in the duture. The amero could come on line ten for one to the dollar. This would do two things immediatly. A burder will go from 3.65 to 37 cents. Your mortgage will go from 175,000 to 17,500 in ameros. Your quarters will go from 1/4 of a dollar to 1/4 of an amero… they can’t call in all the coins.

  2. Robert S Says:

    This has happened countless times in the past. In Ancient Rome the history of the third century was of constant debasement of the currency followed by the issue of a “new” currency which would then be debased. When a new currency was issued the emperors always demanded that the ‘old’ money be traded in for ‘new’ money, but then like now the population hoarded the bad old currency to the great chagrin of the emperors. The end result of this was the old imperial system completely broke down in the 240’s and was replaced by a military dictatorship. They didn’t lose the empire in the third century but they came close. The final defacto end came in the late fourth century.

    The emperors (like King George the Bush) never learned that spending beyond their means was a leading cause of their instability and the misery that was visited on their land.

  3. tsoldrin Says:

    I mentioned this to a few people, as an indicator of how bad things really are, and they all poo-pooed it away. Strangely enough, I think it’ll be those same people and those like them that will come demanding my stored food when things get really bad and press the issue until I’m forced to shoot them.

  4. Ann Says:

    Hmm, I think I’ll start hoarding coins. They’ll be worth something when the collapse comes! Unlike paper dollars, which will be good for tender but not much else1

  5. C. Kelley Says:

    In the last phase of an empire several things happen: the currency is debased, the executive branch grows in strength as the people’s representatives grow weaker, privacy and private property concepts are weakened, freedom of expression and the press is reduced, an increasing percentage of government efforts and monies are spent on non-essential & extraneous items, dependence on governmental benevolance increases, the rich and powerful move away and take their assets with them BEFORE the siezures begin, a general breakdown of morality occurs, educational institutions fail, local governments become impotent and, eventually, either civil war, insurrections or attempts to install and maintain a dictatorship occur. Sound familiar? It’s not a bad idea to have at least a month’s supply of food, several guns with plenty of ammo. and some internationally recognized assets [e.g., gold coins] on hand. Societal collapses occur quickly. Should, for instance, oil go way up and China & Japan unload a bunch of US T-Notes, the dollar could collapse rapidly. Then those people without homes and non-currency forms of wealth would be in grave danger. Of course, property crime would soar and the police resources would be overwhelmed.

  6. MM Says:

    Restrictions on copper, zinc, and nickel coinage are a pretty desperate measure. Consider that following the collapse of the USSR, valuable copper was scavenged from utility lines for scrap to be sold on the black market, especially in rural areas, knocking out power to countless rural electric users. There are other similar historical precedents for resource scarecity when empires and civilizations collapse. One example would be the stripping of the polished limestone facades that covered the great pyramids of Egypt.

  7. Rototillerman Says:

    At the moment, there is still no limit on the transportation of monetary instruments into or out of the U.S. An amount greater than US$10,000 does have to be reported on form FinCen 105, available as a download from here: http://www.fincen.gov/fin105_cmir.pdf . Form 105 must be filled for either export or import of monetary instruments. In addition, the country you are traveling to will often have their own reporting requirements; see, for example, http://www.ambafrance-us.org/i...../13000.asp . Just trying to be helpful.

  8. Kevin Says:

    >>>At the moment, there is still no limit on the transportation of monetary instruments into or out of the U.S.


    This if from the United States Mint:

    “travelers may take up to $5 in these coins out of the country, and individuals may ship up to $100 in these coins out of the country in any one shipment for legitimate coinage and numismatic purposes”


  9. MM Says:

    Hmmm. Scavenging the polished limestone facades that covered the great pyramids of Egypt, was far more labor intensive than radiding tombs for gold and gemstones. Any bets on how many years until US cemetery plots get raided for diamonds, wedding bands, and jewelry? Is anyone aware of a recent historical precedent like this? (Not counting the early British “archaeologists” plundering Egyptian tombs.)

  10. Rototillerman Says:

    Yeah, OK, any amount except for new coinage rules… d’oh! That was the point of the blog entry! I wasn’t disputing that, just typing a little too fast without thinking. But you’re right, it’s only a matter of time until things get SERIOUS. The next step will probably be making the $10k reporting rule a $10k yearly limit, then a $10k per individual lifetime limit, and so on.

  11. Kevin Says:


    >>>The next step will probably be making the $10k reporting rule a $10k yearly limit, then a $10k per individual lifetime limit, and so on.

    I really have no idea how it’s going to proceed, but your ideas above sound highly plausible/probable to me.

    My total holdings in the U.S. never exceed more than a few dollars now. (It’s pretty easy when you only have a few dollars.) I just assume that I will be cut off from dealings with the U.S. at any time, without warning.


    Who needs be a tomb raider for jewels when there’s aluminum, copper and food to be stolen?



    HA. The Road Warrior economy is already thriving.

  12. Rob D Says:

    It has become ever less of a surprise to me that quite a few people are on to this “scavenger economy” — if you live in a metropolitan area of any size whose newspaper has a daily police blotter, watch the frequency of copper (wire, pipe, any bldg mat’ls) theft from building sites. It happens with regularity.

  13. fallout Says:

    A local subdivision developer and homebuilder (mine, in fact) recently informed me that in the last 5 years or so, the amount of material lost to theft at construction job sites here (not just his, mind you) has increased from about 3% of the total cost of a home to nearly 20% of the total material cost. That is part of what is driving the real estate price increases of recent years.

  14. 916 Says:

    I live in a certain major city that was recently devastated by a certain hurriKane. Many fixtures in buildings here are being scavenged and sold on the black market. Antiques especially. Even cemetary statues and flower vases have been stolen. Many people don’t have jobs to return to so they are resorting to these measures.

    I was here during the storm and its aftermath. Having experienced what people do when desperation sets in was quite an eye-opener. Some people become true humanitarians and some become downright savage. I don’t care how much money you got, how many prestigious-college degrees you hold or how “civilized” you think you might be. When people are hungry/thirsty, injured, without a home and frightened they will do what it takes to survive. Seeing society breakdown before my very eyes makes me wonder if that was only a glimpse of what life could be like in the near future. I’m not trying to be a scare-monger, but only giving a warning by someone who has had a firsthand experience when The System broke down.

    Keep up the vigilance.

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