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Why is a dime smaller than a nickel but worth twice as much?

DCWDCW Posts: 6,975 ✭✭✭✭✭

Ever wonder why they made the dime smaller than the cent and nickel, but gave it a higher value? 10x and 2xs, respectively?
I'm having a cup of coffee this morning and this is blowing my mind. :#
Once we solve this mystery, if anyone could explain why we drive on the Parkway and park in a driveway, I might be able to pull myself together and get off to work. :D
Probably has everything to do with metal content when that used to matter, and nickel is cheaper than silver. Or maybe something to set it apart from the visually impaired?

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    JBKJBK Posts: 14,762 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Easy. Metal content. And the nickel came later. The smaller silver half dime came first.

    The base metal nickel (and small cent) were a departure from the practice of coin size having some relation to intrinsic value.

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,484 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The dime was a silver coin until 1965. That made intrinsically more valuable than the nickel. When the clad coinage came in 1965, the government did not change the size of the dime because it would have required massive changes for the vending machine industry.

    The 5 cent piece was made of silver until 1873. The nickel was introduced in 1866. It proved to be more convenient to use than the tiny half dime.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    JimTylerJimTyler Posts: 3,057 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Did a nickel start out with 5c worth of nickel ?

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fifty nine years later, we still find silver dimes in circulation... Roosevelt dimes usually, but occasionally a Merc still shows up. I got two Merc dimes last year.... none so far this year. Cheers, RickO

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    jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,935 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JimTyler said:
    Did a nickel start out with 5c worth of nickel ?

    Interesting question but I rather doubt it. Base metal prices were not fixed like silver and gold prices. That's what led to downsizing cents just prior to the appearance of nickels. Tying intrinsic value to have value for fluctuating commodities leads to mass melting.

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    PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,432 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why is the large cent bigger than the gold dollar? ;)

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

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    BStrauss3BStrauss3 Posts: 3,164 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JimTyler said:
    Did a nickel start out with 5c worth of nickel ?

    Technically? No

    A half dime or five-cent piece had half the silver content of a dime or ten-cent piece.

    The current Nickel - 3rd of that nickname - is also a five-cent piece, but made of a 75% copper 25% nickel alloy and called a nickel for its metallic content and shiny appearance.

    Bonus answer ... what are the other two "nickels"?

    ?

    ?

    ?

    ?

    ?

    1. the (1856 prototype) and 1857-1858 Flying Eagle Cent, being the first coin minted in the US including Nickel in its alloy. This composition continued with the Indian Head cent into the 1864 year coinage.

    2. the 1865 Three cents (usually called the 3CN or 3 Cent Nickel) starting in 1865 was the first coin US minted of the 75%-25% Copper Nickel alloy. Significantly harder than the 88-12 of the cent, this causes 1865 3CN to be notorious for die breaks.

    -----Burton
    ANA 50 year/Life Member (now "Emeritus")
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    savoyspecialsavoyspecial Posts: 7,268 ✭✭✭✭

    diameter of a Morgan Dollar is larger than a $20 double eagle

    www.brunkauctions.com

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    jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,303 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Because.
    Jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

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    pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,593 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DCW said:
    Ever wonder why they made the dime smaller than the cent and nickel, but gave it a higher value? 10x and 2xs, respectively?
    I'm having a cup of coffee this morning and this is blowing my mind. :#
    Once we solve this mystery, if anyone could explain why we drive on the Parkway and park in a driveway, I might be able to pull myself together and get off to work. :D
    Probably has everything to do with metal content when that used to matter, and nickel is cheaper than silver. Or maybe something to set it apart from the visually impaired?

    I think I want some of that coffee!! :D


    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”

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    MizzouMizzou Posts: 463 ✭✭✭✭

    Years ago we were vacationing in Mexico and a little girl came up to me on the street asking for spare change. I reached into my pocket, grabbed some coins and held my hand out to her. She picked up a couple of quarters, a few nickels and left the dimes. She probably thought the nickels were worth more because they were bigger than the dimes.

    Sometimes I think that animals are smarter than humans, animals would never allow the dumbest one to lead the pack

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    Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 8,672 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Reminds me of "The Smoke Off" by Shel Silverstein. Life is good. Peace Roy

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    MWallaceMWallace Posts: 3,855 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DCW said:
    Once we solve this mystery, if anyone could explain why we drive on the Parkway and park in a driveway, I might be able to pull myself together and get off to work. :D

    Also, why does Hawaii have Interstate Highways?

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    davewesendavewesen Posts: 5,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I often wonder why half dimes and nickels were made at the same time for so long.

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,484 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 3, 2023 1:02PM

    @davewesen said:
    I often wonder why half dimes and nickels were made at the same time for so long.

    The nickel coins, the three cent and the five cent pieces were made to replace the three and five cent Fractional Currency pieces which had become embarrassments to the government. These tiny notes did not hold up well in circulation. Here are examples.

    Three cent note

    Five cent note


    The government may have thought that the the nickel would not be accepted. Another more plausible reason may have been that the San Francisco Mint was still making half dimes for circulation in the West. The transcontinental railroad would not be completed until 1869. That made it easier to get from end of the country to another.

    The base metal coins, like the cent and nickel were made exclusively at the Philadelphia Mint, and that would be the policy until 1908 for the cent and 1912 for the nickel.

    Also it took an act of Congress to do away with the half dime, and Congress does not always get around to things in a timely manner.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    DNADaveDNADave Posts: 7,239 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Token manufacturers also dealt with questions. Here’s two different sets of coal scrip, both in aluminum, where one follows coin sizes with a big nickel/small dime. The other has size relative to value.


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    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,335 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's obviously because of the expression 'one thin dime". it would be inappropriate to make thick dimes and those who lacked even a thin dime might be said not to even have two nickels to rub together. You need nice thick coins to rub together and old nickels to rub the buffalos off.

    It all makes perfect sense if you think about it, or least that's my two cents worth.

    Tempus fugit.
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    cladkingcladking Posts: 28,335 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It might also be noted that pennies are made out of zinc now because with waste spending the way it is that the money practically evaporates anyway. Someday pennies might be even cheaper than oil was when it got down to -$13 per barrel.

    Tempus fugit.
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    braddickbraddick Posts: 23,115 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @cladking said:
    It might also be noted that pennies are made out of zinc now because with waste spending the way it is that the money practically evaporates anyway. Someday pennies might be even cheaper than oil was when it got down to -$13 per barrel.

    People in the US routinely refer to our smallest denomination as a “penny,” but that’s inaccurate. The US “penny” is a “cent,” whereas a penny is an English denomination.
    The penny (English version) had existed for over a thousand years. It was basically the only form of money in England for hundreds of years.
    Since we were a colony of England and used their money back then, the term “penny” was familiar to Americans, and the time stuck even though our coins have always read “cent” and not a penny.

    peacockcoins

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    MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @braddick said:
    People in the US routinely refer to our smallest denomination as a “penny,” but that’s inaccurate.

    FWIW, the US Mint sometimes refers to them as pennies on their website.

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    MasonGMasonG Posts: 6,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DCW said:
    Once we solve this mystery, if anyone could explain why we drive on the Parkway and park in a driveway, I might be able to pull myself together and get off to work. :D

    Here you go:

    THE SURPRISINGLY REASONABLE ANSWER TO THE AGE OLD QUESTION- WHY DO WE DRIVE ON PARKWAYS AND PARK ON DRIVEWAYS?

    https://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2016/10/why-do-we-drive-parkways-park-driveways/

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    braddickbraddick Posts: 23,115 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why is transportation by road called a "Shipment" but transportation by seaways called "Cargo"?

    peacockcoins

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