World War II brought with it a bevy of changes on the home front, including the rationing and repurposing of metals needed for the war effort. One example of such repurposing was the diversion of the nickel that would have gone into the newly minted nickels of late 1942-45 from the Treasury to the military. In order to replace the requisitioned nickel, the U.S. Mint unveiled a new compositional alloy for nickels – 56 percent copper, 35 percent silver and 9 percent manganese – in October of 1942, and the Wartime Nickel was born.
Wartime Nickels are distinctive among collectors for several reasons, including their unusual color, the unprecedented size of their mintmarks, and their unique – at the time – use of a “P” mintmark for Philadelphia, but among investors they are prized mainly for their silver content. Each Wartime Nickel has a fineness of .35 and contains .05626 troy ounces of pure silver, offering the savvy investor an affordable, convenient, and easily divisible means of owning silver.
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