by Bruce Wallace

For so many years, I have written this column, It’s My Nickel, never once considering writing about ….. Nickels.

Bruce Wallace

Bruce Wallace

Once in a while after another oh-for-four night on my baseball team, my dad would tell me, “At the plate you’re not worth a plug nickel – but I’ll still take you for for ice cream.”

But, for once, nickels are the topic and I’m happy to announce that the Treasury Department might be getting smart about how they make them.

In fact, the loose change in your pocket might even be getting a little lighter.

What’s that?

You don’t carry change?

Plenty of people love to claim they “never” carry cash or coins any longer as the plastic swipe card seems to rule. However, the US Mint says it makes about a billion nickels – depending upon need – each year.

The problem is, it costs 9.4-cents to make a nickel. If you take that fact along with the 1.9-cents it costs to make the penny, to Heather Noe’s SoBoCo Middle School 8th grade math classes, you would be told it cost your government $104.5 million last year.

And we were worried about the difficulty of cutting all that spending?

As I have said before, (see: “It’s My Nickel,” 2003, 2006, 2010) get rid of the penny – as many other nations, including Canada, have done – and make the nickel cheaper.

Ah-Ha! Somebody is listening!

U.S. Mint officials are confident that they can make the nickel at less expense. They have discovered that they can make a nickel for – stop the presses – about five cents.

Maybe we should elect the person president who figured out how to do that?

The Mint has so far tested six different alloys – including a copper-based nickel, which would make it look like a penny – which is lighter than our current nickel.

Maybe they should take a stab at making it smaller – the dime only costs 4.6-cents to create.

On the other hand, the quarter, for all its size, costs only 11-cents to produce.

The Mint has closed all testing on the penny. They suggested to Congress years ago to get rid of the penny, but imagine all the repercussions of the first black President of the United States abolishing the production of the coin with Abraham Lincoln’s likeness.

It’s My Nickel and I say we need to do what we can to make the five-cent piece cheaper and quit making the penny. No, don’t abolish it – that would take an Congressional edict. Simply quit making it – it would take a few years to get it out of circulation anyway.

And then let the American people figure out how they are going to deal without the penny – it would be common sense would take over, unlike anything you see in Congress.


After a couple of weeks of laying low and only attending a couple of community gatherings, Mayor Gene Rhorer has stepped back into his role as mayor.

Rhorer had some family business to tend to and missed last week’s meeting, as well as some city hall meetings. But he did go out of his way to attend a ribbon cutting and dirt-turning ceremony.

In his place, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Fasciotti filled in and represented Ashland well.

It is easy to forget that our local elected officials – aldermen and mayor as well as school board members – are volunteers. They get no reimbursement for their time and they spend more time doing the duties of the city and the school district than most of us realize.

The Journal appreciates these volunteers.