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How Did the Nickel Get its Name?

The nickel coin got its name from the metal nickel. Where did the metal nickel derive its name? 

The word nickel comes from two German words: one word for devil and the other for copper. Miners in 15th century Germany found brown-red ore that they believed had copper but called it Devil’s Copper because they were unable to extract any copper from it. 

Axel Fredrik Cronstedt was a Swedish chemist who first isolated nickel in 1751 while working at a cobalt mine, gave nickel this name. It was seen as a copper alloy that copper could not be gotten from, hence the Devil’s Copper, or kupfernickel. 

Kupfernickel is a name that referred to a mischievous goblin miner, Nickel or Old Nick, that miners blamed for a failure to produce copper from nickel ores that were found. 

Archeologists have found nickel in metal and metallic artifacts that date back more than 2 millennia. Nickel is found in meteorites with metallic concentrations and is only one of three metals with ferromagnetic properties at room temperature. 

When Was Nickel First Used for Coinage? 

In the 19th century, nickel was found in plating and in alloys with copper and zinc like ‘nickel silver’ also known as German silver. It is worth noting that this alloy contains no silver aside from a silvery color. 

By 1865, the United States produced the first nickels, but the coin has gone through several changes since the first three cent nickels were produced.  

Initially, the term nickel cents referred to pennies produced from the alloy. 

While the design has changed from the Shield design to the Liberty, from the Buffalo nickel to the Jefferson nickel, it is still worth 5 cents and is still being produced.  

Today, the nickel is worth 5 cents. And nickel may be a little bit of a misnomer since the coin has been made from a 75% copper, 25% nickel alloy since its inception. Despite this, it is the only circulating coin that is named for its metal content.  

In the late 1800’s, there were Swiss coins produced from pure nickel. 

As a medium of exchange, the nickel serves everyday functions alongside other circulating coinage like the cent, dime, and quarter. Their utility contributes to overall currency circulation. 

How Much Does It Cost to Produce Nickels Today? 

In 2020, the nickel cost $0.07 to produce, which amounts to a seigniorage of 2 cents per nickel. Reportedly, the U.S. Mint is considering options to reduce the production cost of nickels. 

In 2020, the U.S. Mint produced 1,623,100,000 nickels. Due to global and domestic inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel coin continues to shrink. 

While the nickel may seem commonplace, its evolution reflects the ongoing efforts to optimize coinage for durability, cost-effectiveness, and practicality in everyday commerce. Despite changes in coin composition and design over the years, the nickel endures as a fundamental unit of currency with historical roots and a continued role in modern economies. 

Alloys made from nickel demonstrate high resistance to corrosion and are able to withstand high temperatures, which makes them suitable for use in chemical factories and in jet engines! 

One of the most popular and approachable nickels to collect today is the 1964-D Jefferson Nickel. This is offered at an exceptionally low price and is a great way to get into collecting for those interested but have never started.

Quick Guides to Investing

Step 1:

Why Buy Physical Gold and Silver?

If you are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, you’re not alone. The extreme highs and lows of the stock market often lead investors towards safe-haven assets, like bullion. Historically, the Precious Metals market has an inverse relationship with the stock market, meaning that when stocks are up, bullion is down and vice versa.

Step 2:

How Much Gold and Silver Should You Have?

This question is one of the most important for investors to answer. After all, experts suggest limits on how much of any types of investments should go into a portfolio. After deciding to purchase and own Precious Metals and considering how much money to allocate, one can then think about how much and what to buy at any point in time.

Step 3:

Which Precious Metals Should I Buy?

With the frequent changes in the market and countless Precious Metal products available, choosing investments can be difficult. Some want Gold or Silver coins, rounds or bars while others want products that are valuable because of their design, mintage or other collectible qualities. Also, collectors may shop for unique sets and individual pieces for their collections.

Step 4:

When to Buy Gold & Silver

After considering why, how much, and what Precious Metals products to buy, an investor’s next step is when to buy them. This decision requires an understanding of market trends and the impact of economic factors on precious metal prices.

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