As I’ve mentioned before in SurvivalBlog, U.S. Five-cent pieces ("Nickels") should be considered a long-term hedge on inflation. I recently had a gent e-mail me, asking how he could eventually “cash in” on his cache of Nickels. He asked: "Are we to melt them down, or sell them to a collector? How does one obtain their true 7.4 cents [base metal content] value?" My response: Don’t expect to cash in for several years. I anticipate that there won’t be a large scale speculative market in Nickels until their base metal value ("melt value") exceeds twice their face value ("2X Face"), or perhaps 3X face.
Once the price of Nickels hits 4X face value, speculators will probably be willing to pay for shipping. By the way, I also predict that it will be then that the ubiquitous Priority Mail Flat Rate Box will come into play, with dealers mailing Nickels in $300 face value increments. The U.S. Postal Service may someday regret their decision to transition to "Flat Rate" boxes for Priority Mail with a 70 pound limit.
Once the price of Nickels hits 5X face there will surely be published "bid/ask" quotations for $100, $300, and $500 face value quantities, just as has been the norm for pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver coinage since the early 1970s. (Those coins are typically sold in a $1,000 face value Bag (weighing about $55 pounds), or a "Half bag" (containing $500 face value.) Soon after the current Nickels are dropped from circulation, we will see $300 face value boxes of Nickels put up for competitive bidding, on eBay.
An Aside: Nickel Logistics
Nickels are heavy! Storing and transporting them can be a challenge.
I’ve done some tests:
$300 face value (150 rolls @$2 face value per roll) fit easily fit in a standard U.S. Postal Service Medium Flat Rate Box, and that weighs about 68 pounds.) They can be mailed from coast to coast for less than $25. Doing so will take a bit of reinforcement. Given enough wraps of strapping tape, a corrugated box will securely transport $300 worth of Nickels.
The standard USGI .30 caliber ammo can works perfectly for storing rolls of Nickels at home. Each can will hold $180 face value (90 rolls of $2 each) of Nickels. The larger .50 caliber cans also work, but when full of coins they are too heavy to carry easily.
James Wesley, Rawles is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and a noted author and lecturer on survival and preparedness topics. He is the author of Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse and is the editor of SurvivalBlog.com – the popular daily web journal for prepared individuals living in uncertain times.