The United States mint started producing "nickels" in 1866 and are still being made today. The name change from Half Dime to Nickel came with the change in the material used to make the coin with. All nickels are .750 copper, .250 nickel except for a select few years. From 1942 to 1945, five-cent pieces bore the regular design but were minted from an alloy of copper, silver, and manganese. Coins from all three mints had very large mint marks above the dome of Monticello, and the letter "P" was used as a mint mark for the first time on a U. S. coin. The style has changed many times over the years and is a highly collectible coin. Nickels are a great collection for those just starting out, as many of them can be acquired very reasonably and even found through searching change!