The Times reports in this article that you can now make an arbitrage profit off of all those pennies and nickels lying around… in theory that is. Increasing metals prices has driven the value of pennies and nickels to more than what you will get for them at the local washeteria. In fact, nickels can be worth up to 7 cents – that’s a 20% premium!
Unfortunately, it costs the U.S. Mint more than 70% over the value of these coins to manufacture them. Appropriately enough, the Mint has banned melting or exportation of 1 and 5 cent coins.
I think the Mint would have been better off NOT making an issue of this, as the number of people trying to make some arbitrage profits off of this would most definitely be smaller than every naive bob and Mary out there who is now seeing a light bulb turn on after hearing about the new ban.