How Many Nickels Make A Dollar?

Nickels are part of the US currency.

Despite its name, nickels are made from a combination of copper and nickel with 75% of the build-up being made from copper and only 25% being made from nickel.

They have been in circulation within US currency since 1857, and are small coins.

In this guide, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about nickels and how many nickels go into a dollar as well as some fun facts that are worth knowing.

You’ll be showing off your knowledge and history of this US currency with your family and friends in no time!

How Many Nickels Are In A Dollar?

So, how many nickels actually make a dollar? There are 20 nickels in a dollar as a nickel is equivalent to five cents or $0.05.

This means that to get to a dollar, you would need 20 of them in total, 

You can use a dollar calculator online to calculate how much your nickels are worth if you find that have too many to count.

Whether you have 20 nickels or 2000 nickels, you can easily figure out how much you have in dollars.  

History Of Nickels

Nickel is an element that is known by its symbol Ni and atomic number 28.

It is a metal that has a silver-white color with a golden tinge and has been found within metallic artifacts for over 2,000 years. 

Although nickel has been found in various materials for such a long time, it wasn’t formally discovered until 1751 when Swedish chemist, Axel Cronstedt managed to isolate and identify the element.

Following on from the discovery, nickel became more commonplace during the 19th century as it was incorporated into alloys and plating where it would commonly be alloyed with zinc and copper. 

Nickel’s name has its origins in Saxon culture as it is taken from the Saxon term ‘Kupfernickel’, which is known as Devils’ Copper.

The name was given by German miners who believed that they were mining a brown-red ore that looked like copper.

However, when they realized that they couldn’t extract copper from the ore, it was evident that they were dealing with a completely different element altogether.

When it comes to nickels being used in US currency, nickels first appeared in 1857 and were alloyed with copper, just like they are today.

The US nickel has never been made from pure nickel, although in 1881, there were pure nickels that were used as currency in Switzerland. 

Combining copper with nickel gives it a high level of corrosion resistance while also proving to be capable of resisting extreme weather conditions.

It also means that they can handle chemical plants and the minting process, especially as the demand for nickels has only grown over the last century.  

How Many Nickels Make A Dollar (1)

Although they may not be worth much, there is a high demand for nickels that shows no signs of slowing down, meaning that nickels will continue to play a huge role in US currency.

It plays a crucial part in many technologies and is even credited as allowing for the first practical realization of the jet engine to boot. 

Facts About Nickels

If you are interested in the history of nickels and want to learn more about them, we’ll be delving into an array of interesting facts in this section.

Here are some facts that you should know about nickels:

  • While older nickels may vary slightly in their weight, a modern nickel weighs 5 grams exactly which is equivalent to approximately 0.17637 ounces. 
  • Again, older nickels may vary when it comes to thickness, but a modern nickel is 1.95 mm thick which is equivalent to approximately 0.07677 inches.
  • Nickels are not actually made solely from nickel, but a combination of different metals and elements that make up the structure. Sometimes nickel wasn’t even included at all. For example, from 1942 to 1945, nickels were composed of 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese. However, modern nicks are made from 75% copper and 25% nickel meaning that it is primarily a copper coin rather than nickel.
  • In a single roll of modern nickels, you will find approximately 150 grams of copper and 50 grams of nickel, which works in the ratio of the nickel build-up. The equivalent of this is 5.29 ounces of copper and 1.76 ounces of nickel. 
  • One of the few elements that haven’t changed in the nickel’s history is that it is still worth 5 cents even to this day. 
  • Although they are made using a copper-nickel alloy, nickels are not actually magnetic. This is because the nickel content needs to be higher than 56% in order to be magnetic, but the nickel content is only 25%, meaning that you don’t have to worry about your nickels sticking to each other. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Money Is A Nickel?

Nickels are US coins that are worth five cents each. Since there are 100 cents in a dollar, this means that there are 20 nickels in a dollar.

Nickels can be written either as 5¢ or $0.05 and are made from a combination of nickel and copper alloy, meaning that it is a mix of metals.

In fact, the build-up of nickel is made from 75% copper and 25% nickel. 

Why Is It Called A Nickel?

For those interested in the history of nickel, it actually gets its name from the Saxon term ‘Kupfernickel’, otherwise known as Devils’ Copper, and was first discovered in the 15th century when German miners found a brown-red ore that they thought contained copper.

However, they were unable to retrieve any copper from the ore, giving it the aforementioned name.

The US first establish nickel and copper alloy coins in 1857. 

Can You Sell Nickels For Scrap?

Nickels can be sold for scrap as they are made from a combination of copper and nickel.

This means that you can get approximately seven cents per coin which is actually worth more than what the nickel is worth. 


In conclusion, nickels are equivalent to 5 cents each and there are 100 cents per dollar.

By this calculation, that means that there are 20 nickels per dollar. 

Nick Spieth

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