It is illegal (last time I checked) to melt money down, but under Gresham’s Law, bad (nominal) money chases out good money (market value of the metal coins above the nominal value).
COIN MELT VALUES
1946-1964 Roosevelt Dime (90% silver 10% copper) $2.3929
1932-1964 Washington Quarter (90% silver, 10% copper) $5.9824
1946-2012 Nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel) $0.0500377
1909-1982 Cent (95% copper, 5% zinc) $0.0232306
Silver dimes and quarters remain a great investment. But, don’t forget about nickels. In the early 1970s, silver dimes and quarters were circulating the way nickels are now—and look at the value of metal content in the silver coins now. In the next round of serious price inflation, the same type thing is likely to happen to nickels. Just like silver dimes were in the 1970s. Billionaire Kyle Bass has already stockpiled one million dollars worth of nickels. (Source www.economicpolicyjournal.com)