Steel Cents and Nickels?

Lincoln CentThe House of Representatives recently voted in favor of a bill that would require the Mint to switch the composition of the penny and nickel.  The composition of the penny would be changed from the current copper plated zinc to copper plated steel.

The reason for the legislation is the rising cost of metals that make production of cents and nickels an unprofitable endeavor for the US Mint.  Cents currently cost 1.26 cents to produce and nickels cost 7.7 cents to produce.  A switch in composition could potentially save $1 billion over the next decade.

Mint Director Edmund Moy has expressed concerns about the legislation in its current form.  The Mint would only have 9 months to start production of cents under the new composition.  Furthermore, steel is also subject to the same forcing driving up the costs of zinc.

The legislation now moves to the Senate where it is expected to be met with objections by some lawmakers.


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