By Alec Nevalainen
February 02, 2010


The Mint's primary cost driver is the price of metal, a factor over which it has no control. Daily spot prices of copper and zinc, the Mint's two main metallic materials, have fluctuated in excess of 100 percent, and the price of nickel by 500 percent in recent years.¹ This contributes to volatile and negative margins on both the penny and nickel: in recent years the penny has cost approximately 1.8 cents and the nickel approximately 9 cents to produce.² Costs have exceeded the value of these two coins by over $100 million in prior years. Through its gains on other coins, the Mint annually returns hundreds of millions of dollars to the Treasury General Fund (GF) and is funded by the Mint Public Enterprise Fund.
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