The Coin Collector’s Blog reports today the US Mint has finalized the melting ban on US coins, particularly pennies and nickels where the copper and zinc content now exceeds the value of the coins. They clearly want to avoid entrepreneurs buying pennies by the ton, shipping them offshore, and melting them down.
I posted about this phenomenon last yet… the value of Zinc and Copper have skyrocketed. The penny, despite its color, is mostly Zinc these days. Nickels, despite the name, are mostly Copper. Who knew?
The press release from the US Mint is here.
Here is some detail you may not have caught. Besides melting, it is now illegal to take a large amount of coins out of the country. What is a large amount? Try $5 worth.
That’s right. Check your suitcase. If you have more than $5 in small coins, you might be set up for a $10,000 fine per violation, or up to five years in federal prison, or both. Ouch.
Fortunately, you are only liable if you knowingly violate the regulation.