I took your advice of socking away nickels to heart. I wanted to start off with an ammo can for each member of my family. I figured why not go to the local bank where my wife has banked since 1993?
I went in, filled out the withdrawal slip for $178 (one ammo can) and requested the payout in nickels. The teller then said that if I withdrew $200 instead he can give me two boxes that came from the Fed. They gave me the nickels but told me that they really only give rolled coins to their commercial customers. At least I got my first batch.
I then went to another bank in town that has the account of the club where I'm the club president. I told them we were doing a fundraiser and needed $500 worth of nickels. Because this bank had one of those coin machines, I was able to get $500 of rolled coins in two canvas sacks! I basically saved them the cost of shipping those coins back to the Fed.
The following day I went back to the first bank and asked if I could get more nickels. I told them I was willing to pay the extra fee. They told me that I really had to be a commercial customer. I then asked about coins they receive [from merchants]. They chewed on that and realized that I was saving them money. The downside is that the coins won't be rolled up. They offered to call me when they had a $100 [face value] bag. I was fine with that.
- Offer to take the nickels that they are sending back to the Fed. They save money in shipping and get paper money to put right back in circulation.
- Find a bank with a coin counter in the lobby. Those coins may be rolled up already and they will give you the nickels to save them shipping costs.
- When trying to cut a deal, be honest. When I went back to the first bank I told them why I was wanting nickels. We have been loyal customers of the bank and they have done right by us and were willing to work with me.
I found an interesting web site where you can buy $10,000 worth of nickels at face value and copper pennies at spot prices.
Thanks for all you do. Regards, - Cascinus, Jefferson City, Missouri.
JWR Replies: I stand by my prediction that nickels will begin to sell at a substantial premium over their face value in coming years. OBTW, there is a great forum called RealCent for folks that stockpile nickels and the pre-1981 copper pennies. They also have a sub-forum that discusses some survivalist preps--their "Non-Metals section".