Fortunately, the Mint is working on methods to make nickels cost less–but they’ll be brown.
The Mint, which turns a profit on the dime, quarter, half-dollar and dollar, has driven manufacturing costs lower in recent years. But it now costs 1.8 cents to make a penny and 9.4 cents to make a nickel, costing the federal government about $104.5 million last year.
To test the viability of six different alloys under consideration, the Mint inside its lab here is making millions of what it calls “nonsense” pieces. The lab recently was minting about 2 million test nickels made of copper-plated zinc in one of its stamping machines. The pieces, with a profile of Martha Washington on the front, remain the same size and shape as current nickels, but weigh in at 4.06 grams, a little less than the current coin’s 5 grams, and are the same brownish color as a penny.
These coins should be abolished. Round all prices up to the next ten-cent interval if you are paying with cash. Or hell, round it down to the previous ten-cent interval for cash and up for credit cards.