Legislation to change the metal composition of nickels is on the table. If it goes through (which in all likelihood it will) nickels produced before the change will begin to disappear just like silver coins did.
Coin Composition Change Included In Obama's 2011 Budget
By Alec Nevalainen
February 02, 2010
This section appears in the Terminations, Reductions, and Savings portion of the budget. This document can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/trs.pdf
One omission from the proposed composition change is the Presidential and Native American Dollars. Either they are satisfied with the current composition or they were left out inadvertently (which I can understand, the Presidential dollar program is easily forgettable).
Full text from page 100:
OTHER SAVINGS: COINAGE MATERIAL
Department of the Treasury
The Budget proposes to provide the U.S. Mint with greater flexibility in the material composition of coins to reduce its losses on some coins and the production costs associated with volatile metal prices.
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. ... Stash away your nickels now.