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View Full Version : Why are there more dimes than nickels, yet less $10s than $5s?



JediTricks
01-24-2006, 07:33 PM
The title of the thread is the crux of this topic, but I'll restate it a little better:


Why is it that there are more dimes than nickels in circulation, yet you always have way more $5 bills than $10 bills?


I always find this to be the case, and everybody I've talked to says they have that same situation. I never have many nickels, even though they just released a series of new nickels, yet in the bill world I have way more fives than tens. Is it that in the real world, with change we focus on 100 cents, whereas with bills we focus more on twenty dollars? Or is it that there are more dimes than nickels in circulation yet the reverse for bills?

LusiferSam
01-25-2006, 12:07 PM
Why is it that there are more dimes than nickels in circulation, yet you always have way more $5 bills than $10 bills?
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To answer part of your question, it's because the US Mint mints close to twice as many dimes than it does nickels.


2003: 5 cents 824,880,000 10 cents 2,072,000,000

2004: 5 cents 1,445,040,000 10 cents 2,487,500,000

2005: 5 cents 1,741,200,000 10 cents 2,835,500,000

source US Mint

JediTricks
01-25-2006, 02:44 PM
That doesn't explain the "why" though, that was the key to the question, why is this the case?

Slicker
01-25-2006, 05:11 PM
That doesn't explain the "why" though, that was the key to the question, why is this the case?Because the next highest coin is the quarter and to make a quarter you need 2 dimes and a nickel. So if you have $.24 then you need 2 dimes and 4 pennies but to make $.9 you only need a single nickel and 4 pennies. I don't know if that makes sense but it shows that no matter what you do you'll never get more than one nickel back with change but you can easily get 2 dimes back thus necessitating the need for twice as many dimes.

timmae
01-25-2006, 09:00 PM
good theory slicker. i never have enough of any of them. please mail me all your extras. a special shout out to us collectors bestest buddy...visa.

LusiferSam
01-25-2006, 09:03 PM
That doesn't explain the "why" though, that was the key to the question, why is this the case?
The "why" your looking for is why are few nickels minted than dimes then. I think it has to do with two facts; one the price of stuff and two the quarter. Both go hand in hand. The fact there's a 25 piece and not a 20 (in circulation) means that the 5 piece are simply not needed as much as dimes. If the Mint started striking 20 pieces again (sometimes called double dimes) rather than quarters, you might see a jump in nickel production.

And like I said the price of stuff is also a factor. Look at your change. In places with sale tax it might be different, but I here's the brake down of my change. Pennies, quarters, dimes and nickels.

JediTricks
01-26-2006, 08:02 PM
Seems like a good theory Slicker, so your argument is the existance of 25 cent pieces in coins but only 20 dollar pieces in bills, I guess that would explain the coins, but what about the bills - $5s and $10s - part? And why even bother having a nickel then? Except for parking meters, pennies can do the job and you always have a lot more of those, and nobody has a problem shelling out 5 pennies in place of a nickel I bet, who the hell actually uses nickels anyway? Same thing with $10 bills, why have 'em at all when everybody just deals in $5s anyway?

El Chuxter
01-26-2006, 10:58 PM
Actually, the guys in the Treasury said, "Dude, if we make more dimes and less $10 bills, this dude on a Star Wars collecting website will be all confused."

LusiferSam
01-27-2006, 12:43 AM
I was thinking about this today, and I remembered that bills follow from coins. $20, $10 and $5 bills replaced the double Eagle, Eagle and half Eagle gold coins respectively. This explains why there are no $25 bills. And the same thing I with coins applies here, it's the price of stuff. But more importantly the price of stuff you'll going to use cash to buy. Personally I like to $10s and $20s when paying in cash. So I get mostly $5s and $1s back as change.

As for why have the nickel. Some was telling me a few months back the 4 of an item is the maximum number you can have in your hand and not fell the need to count. So you can grab four pennies and not think about it, but five would slow you down. So it's for easy of use.

UKWildcat
01-27-2006, 01:15 AM
As far as the $5s and $10s go, just look at the retail aspect of it. You can't break a $20 with more than one $10 bill but you have the flexibility with several $5s. It's much much better to have a cash drawer full of ones and fives. Without the $5 you would be giving out tons of $1 and that would be too tedious and time consuming. I've worked retail for years and you want to leave $5s and $1s in the drawer every night.

Simply put: You can give change for a $10 bill with $5s but you can not give change for a $5 bill with $10s. Therefore, you want more $5s than $10s.


So I get mostly $5s and $1s back as change.

Yup, that's the point. :)

Hopefully that made some sense. Btw, I can't stand retail. :D

JediTricks
01-27-2006, 07:34 PM
Then why have $10 bills at all?

Mad Slanted Powers
01-30-2006, 12:25 AM
Where I work, I count and balance the cash drawers every morning so I see how quickly we go through the various denominations. Nickels go really slow, dimes a bit faster. Pennies and quarters go the quickest. I don't worry about having $10's in the drawer if I got plenty of $1's and $5's.

Write down all the numbers from 1 to 99 and determine how much of each coin you would need to make that amount. Then add up the total of each coin and you will see how many more pennies and quarters you will need and how few nickels.

LusiferSam
01-30-2006, 11:46 AM
Then why have $10 bills at all?
How many more $5's do you normally have then $10's? Twice as many, thrice as many? When I counted this morning I had just over twice as many $5's. That means I had roughly equal amounts in $5's and $10's. So if I had $20, two in $5's and one $10, it would take four $5's if there were no $10. That doesn't sound like much, but if you scale that up it adds up rather quick and soon you need (or have) a hugh stack of $5's to make (or from getting) change. It becomes a matter of convenience.

JediTricks
01-30-2006, 03:44 PM
I haven't had a $10 bill in probably 6 months, and THAT was a rarity. When I worked in stores, my drawers had at most 3 $10s, at one point we weren't even using the slot for $10s, we put $10s in with the other oddballs like $50s and $100s.

Lord Malakite
01-31-2006, 06:28 PM
Bring back the $2 bill and 2 cent piece.:thumbsup:

LusiferSam
01-31-2006, 07:23 PM
Bring back the $2 bill and 2 cent piece.:thumbsup:
Personally I'd rather see the return of the trime.

JediTricks
02-02-2006, 06:58 PM
How about the hay-penny while you're at it? Everywhere I go, I have to whip out the utility shears and cut my pennies in half to pay for everything. :p


I love the $2 bill, I have a few including a silver-supply one, but every time I use them or dollar coins (any of 'em) the cashiers look at them like they're from an alien planet.

Mad Slanted Powers
02-03-2006, 06:19 PM
So I am balancing the cash drawers this morning and there was a $5400 order paid for in cash, $1000 of which was $10 bills.

JediTricks
02-03-2006, 07:52 PM
That's an odd one, I know some ATMs still give out $10s though. You know, most folks don't check to see if $10s are counterfeit, the thinking being that generally it's not worth it to the counterfeiter because it may end up costing them more than $10 just to make it, so the $10 has fewer security measures than the $20.

According to the Treasury dept, they transport dimes and quarters more securely than nickels and pennies, the dimes and quarters get armored vehicles while the nickels and pennies get just a tractor-trailer truck.

Did you know that there was not only a 2 cent coin but a 3 cent coin, a 20 cent coin, and a "half dime" which was so tiny that it was found too hard to easily handle so they changed the silver content to nickel and made it larger, thus producing the modern nickel?

LusiferSam
02-03-2006, 11:44 PM
Did you know that there was not only a 2 cent coin but a 3 cent coin, a 20 cent coin, and a "half dime" which was so tiny that it was found too hard to easily handle so they changed the silver content to nickel and made it larger, thus producing the modern nickel?
Absolutely. And how about they use to make a $1 gold coin? Or that there are three US coins that have been called 'nickels' and that the nickel is the only US coin that still has it's original metal content? I can't believe you'd leave half and large cents off your list, because those are pretty odd ball too.

Mad Slanted Powers
02-04-2006, 12:36 PM
That's an odd one Another odd one was a few weeks ago when someone paid with $123 in rolled up coins. 8 rolls of quarters, 7 rolls of dimes and 4 rolls of nickels. We actually came out ahead on the deal, because just about every roll had two extra coins in it (though one was a Canadian quarter).

JediTricks
02-05-2006, 09:28 PM
I can't believe you'd leave half and large cents off your list, because those are pretty odd ball too.They weren't common enough to garner my attention. :D



Another odd one was a few weeks ago when someone paid with $123 in rolled up coins. 8 rolls of quarters, 7 rolls of dimes and 4 rolls of nickels. We actually came out ahead on the deal, because just about every roll had two extra coins in it (though one was a Canadian quarter).That is an odd one, most businesses in my area wouldn't take payment in coins alone for anything even remotely that high (including banks, unless you are a customer). When I was a kid, I remember there was a TON of Canadian and Mexican coins floating around pretending to be our fine US currency.

LusiferSam
02-06-2006, 01:28 AM
They weren't common enough to garner my attention. :D
And yet 2, 3 and 20 cent pieces were :P



That is an odd one, most businesses in my area wouldn't take payment in coins alone for anything even remotely that high (including banks, unless you are a customer).
I agree that's very odd and I'll add very funny. I've always wanted to do something like that (but around $10), but could never bring myself to do. Although I do have a cute story about someone else doing this.

In high I was working in my parent's flower shop running delivers, when I was told I had a COD. The gal who took the order said it was a little girl ordering flowers for her mother's birthday. So I took the order out and the minute I pulled up to the house the little girl came bounding out of the house with a big envelope. Inside was about $9, but taped to outside was another $7 or so in change. I had to stop, count the change, and untape it before handing over the flowers. When I got back to the store I had to explain this everyone.

I know several stores have around here (mostly gas stations and fast food joins) have polities about money, like no $50's or $100's. But I'm not sure this polities are 100% legal because phrase "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private." I'm sure the same holds true for coins. Whether you really want to force your local gas station to take a $100 for $10 worth of gas is another story.

JediTricks
02-06-2006, 03:18 PM
And yet 2, 3 and 20 cent pieces were :PWell, those were interesting, there's nothing all that interesting about the gov't putting out oversized coins which are still in production and circulation, or minting gold coins that aren't distributed as legal tender - who do they think they are making collectibles that nobody can use, McFarlane Toys?

As for not accepting $50s and $100s, it's common around here too, the problem is that those bills are forgeries more often and cashiers aren't really clued in enough to know the difference, so a loss of $100 in change or merchandise can be very damaging to a small business. I think the legality of not accepting those bills is allowed under the notion of "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" thing.