Five Zero-Risk Reasons for Holding Nickels

| April 14, 2023

Five Zero-Risk Reasons for Holding NickelsLast December, I interviewed a cryptocurrency expert and financial investor and asked him the same question four times.  What can the little guy living on credit cards do to deal with the coming economic chaos?

The question was relevant because 70% of Americans feel financially stressed, and 58% live paycheck to paycheck.  Welcome to the Brandon economy.

Finally, my guest mumbled a reluctant answer, “Get more credit cards and buy gold and silver.”  Then in an afterthought, he added that he had never experienced this financial stress.

That was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard to come out of an intelligent man’s mouth, and we parted company on that note.

But darned if it didn’t put a burr under my saddle to find an answer, and I did.  If you struggle to get but don’t like being financially bareass and butt naked, let’s talk about the five zero-risk reasons for holding nickels.  They are:

  1. Constitutional Coinage
  2. Post-Fiat Usefulness
  3. Post-fiat Revaluation
  4. Net Gain Scrap Value
  5. Deadweight Security


Suppose you have $200 in discretionary money.  I’ll show you what you can do with it tomorrow so you can sleep better tomorrow night.  FYI, no sponsor, no MLM, and no happy buy-something bullshit.

This is what I learned, and I did it so I could tell you it works.  It will improve your outlook.

No. 1 – Constitutional Coinage

After the famous go into debt bondage to financially survive interview last year, I had a burr under my saddle to solve this problem.   A gentleman who is an international commodities trader contacted me to discuss future trends. That was when I had a fantastic bit of synchronicity.

During our conversation, he mentioned something that caught my attention. He said he had been following a billionaire purchasing $1 million of nickels each month.  It puzzled him because he couldn’t understand the interest in nickels, mostly seen as barely beneficial pocket change.

Hard to imagine?  Well, check this out.  Nickels are worth stealing.

Yahoo News, March 20, 2023
JPMorgan Chase’s nickel bags turn out to be full of stones: report

Money BagA mix-up at a Dutch warehouse led JPMorgan Chase to mistakenly purchase bags of stones that were thought to be nickel, according to a new report.

The report from The Wall Street Journal Monday came after the London Metal Exchange revealed last week that there had been a mix-up with its nickel supply. But it did not identify the owner of the supposed nickel bags or the warehouse where they were kept.

Had the material actually been nickel, an essential element used in steel and electric-vehicle batteries, the bags would have been worth around $1.3 million, or 0.14% of nickel inventories, Bloomberg reported.

With this in mind, I sought my good friend Jim’s advice, a very talented backyard smelter.  Then I understood why billionaires and thieves have taken a liking to nickels.

Nickel - Constitutional Coin

As you can see above, the nickel is the only coin minted by the United States to be worth more than its face value.  To understand why, let’s see what’s in the nickel.

United States Mint
Coin Specifications

The penny, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar are clad coins. Clad coins have an inner core of metal surrounded by an outer layer of a different metal. The Mint makes clad coins with an inner core of copper. The nickel is the only circulating coin that isn’t clad.

Not only is the nickel not clad, but it is also composed of 25% Pure Nickel (Ni) and 75% Pure Copper (Cu).  Commercial copper demand is always high, but nickel surprised me.

U.S. COINS GUIDE, April 14, 2023
Silver Nickels (1942-1945)

WWII NicklesSee when U.S. silver nickels were made and how much they’re worth.

The term “silver nickel” may sound like an oxymoron, but it isn’t.  That’s because the U.S. government rationed nickel for World War II artillery from 1942 through 1945.

To replace the nickel and to still give the five-cent coin its typical silvery-grey appearance, the government chose a composition made from 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese.

My friend Jim told me that after WW II, most of America’s nickel mines were played out, and now the mint is importing much of it from South America.

While I acquired several of these WW II-era silver nickels, I suggest you get whatever is in circulation because a plain nickel is something everyone understands.  Only those with special knowledge, such as smelters, dealers, and collectors, will understand the true worth of silver nickels.

No. 2 – Post-Fiat Usefulness

Gold and silver are useful when a viable economic system is in use.  Ideally, it helps you hedge against a fluctuating market’s variabilities.  However, once that market collapses, it will boil down to meat, bread, and potatoes; for those living in the cities, it will not be pretty.

For example.  During the Siege of Leningrad from 8 September 1941 – 27 January 1944, one million Russians were starved and bombed to death by Nazis.  During this time, here is what gold and silver could buy., June 18, 2018
Shocking Foods That People Ate During the Leningrad Siege

Seige of Leningrad Bread RationThroughout the siege, I found many stories of people trading their valuables for food. Food was the most valuable item available. I read stories of people trading a gold watch for a small crust of bread, jewelry boxes full of gold and silver items traded for small amounts of food—not even enough for a meal.

Having done business in Russia for seven years, I can personally attest to the accuracy of this article.   What’s the point?

Money is different when people are starving, so let’s assume you will take $100, half of your budget, to stockpile currency for starving people.   Is buying $100 worth of gold the best move?  Consider this, during the Siege of Leningrad; it was worth approximately 100 grams of bread made with sawdust filler.  By weight, this equals 20 nickels.

Better to invest your $100 in barter food.

Barter Foods

Starving people will eat anything they can get their hands on, but if you’re offering popular food products from trusted brand names, you’ll be able to barter from a position of strength.  Also, as long as the product is eatable, freshness dating issues will not be a show-stopper.  So, haunt the bargain food stores and pinch your pennies without mercy.

What can we expect to see in the near future?  It depends on where you live.

Food During Economic Crisis

From the standpoint of city folks, country folks are mostly fascistic stupid hayseeds with assault rifles.  I believe the woke term is “deplorables,” but feel free to fact-check me on that.   As you do that, country folk will continue doing what they always do.  They find ways to get by that city folks are clueless about because they’re the folks that keep on a commin’.

Not only will the country folk do better during a collapse, but they’ll also drive the economy again after the world comes to its senses.  Given an engineered combination of bioweapons, starvation, and economic collapse, America will look inward to its conservative values.

Reconstituted Life in America

Once trade routes are re-established and broadly accepted forms of payment are established, there will be a mix of old and new currencies.  This brings us to the other $100.

No. 3 – Post-fiat Revaluation

Because it costs banks to process coinage, I acquired $100 nickels at a time from my local bank, which is a standard stocking quantity, so oftentimes, they’ll bring you a packed box.  If not, best to have a strong bag for loose roles handy.

Nickel Coins in Rolls and Boxes

What will your $100 worth of nickels buy you in an 1850s-era economy?  In 1919, I could buy you 2,000 hot dogs.

Nathan's Established in 1916 with 5c Hotdog

In New York, politicians know that if they do not get photographed eating a Nathan’s hotdog, they’ll jink their campaigns and suffer a humiliating loss.  This is because Nathan’s became a national brand after WWII.

Nathan's Post WWII

As very young children, some of us alive today can remember how we could buy a hot dog, soda, or hamburger for just a nickel.  Proof of that was a recent anniversary special offer by Nathans.

abc7NY, May 28, 2016
Nathan’s Famous celebrates 100th anniversary with 5-cent hot dogs

NEW YORK (WABC) — Attention, weenie lovers: Get your buns to Coney Island today. In honor of its 100th anniversary, the original Nathan’s Famous restaurant will sell hot dogs for 5 cents each between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Nathans 5c Celebration

In 1916, when Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker opened his first Nathan’s Famous stand on the corner of Surf and Stillwell, hot dogs sold for 5 cents a pop. One-hundred years and 435 million hot dogs later, the famous frankfurters now cost $4.25.

Read the fine print.  The offer was only good for one day and only for three hours.  Whoa, what generosity!  Nonetheless, imagine it.

Once people use Central Bank fiat money to wallpaper their outhouses, they’ll invite their friends and family to shit a million. What a hoot.

Folks will enjoy the fun because they’ll already be holding new gold-based currencies and Constitutional coins, which will be in high demand.  Today, the best one for the money is the mighty nickel.

No. 4 – Net Gain Scrap Value

Need silver?  Need gold?  Any DIY backyard smelter can tell you there is a fortune lying about us in scrap yards, landfills, garage sales, etc.   The best stuff is old electronics from the last century.  Lots of gold was used for metal contacts and other purposes, which can be salvaged and recycled in pure Gold.

Why spend all your money on metals people will steal from you?  Buy low-cost DIY smelting equipment, and when you need it, smelt it.

Backyard Smelter

Here is where the nickel is king.  A 5c nickel is roughly worth 7c for scrap in the page capture from the extremely handy website.  Their tagline is Measuring the Metal Value of Coins – Base Metal, Gold, and Silver Coins.  I suggest you bookmark it.  

Salvage Value of US Coins - 4/14/23

As you can see in the capture above, the nickel is the only coin minted by the United States to be worth more than its face value.

So, here’s the good part.  You take $100 out of your savings and buy $100 worth of nickels.  OMG, did we blow away your $100?  If you think so, take it back to the bank any old time you like, and they will be more than happy to return your paper fiat nickel-for-nickel.

This brings us to the fifth, zero-risk reason for holding nickels, which is my favorite.

No. 5 – Deadweight Security

It is one thing to buy gold and another to keep it safe.  A 2023 1 oz American Gold Eagle coin is currently trading for around  $2,200.00.  If a thief steals it from you, it will not slow his getaway in the least bit.

Deadweight Nickel Security

On the other hand, a .30 caliber Ammo can with $100 worth of nickels weighs approximately 26 pounds, which pretty much zeroes out any hope for a fleet-footed getaway.  I call it deadweight security, as in, if you can outrun my 12-gauge with that can of nickels, you’ve earned them.  Do you feel lucky?


So there it is, folks.  Go out tomorrow and get $100 worth of nickels from the bank and, with the other $100, an ammo can and as much barter food as possible.  Then box it up neatly and store it under your bed.

That night you’ll sleep better because it’s not about the quantity.  It’s about the commitment you’ve made to yourself to take back control of your future.  No matter how small that control may be, it will be more than the day before, and with each renewal, it will continue to grow.

The $200 is the ante.  After that, you go all in.  When shopping in the store, look for bargains on barter food and get as much as possible.  When you get change for your groceries, ask the clerk for a roll of nickels.

Once you begin doing it this way, something amazing will happen.  Your confidence in your future will grow, stimulating your interest to explore other affordable survival preparation strategies.

May the nickels be you.

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