Quick, Hide The Backyard Smelting Furnace
I was wondering when they were going to outlaw this, and they just did. The US mint has had trouble keeping ahead of inflation, and has been unable to lower the metal content of nickels and pennies fast enough to keep from losing money. Typically, when it punches up new nickels and pennies, the value of the metal in each is greater than the currency value of the coinage, sometimes by as much as 50%. So if you amassed a few tons of pennies in your back yard, built yourself a stone furnace and stoked it up good, you could make a fortune taking currency off the market. Fortunately, for our protection, the government has stepped in to put a stop to it. Oh, and sorry, you can't flee the country with more than $5 of either coin in your possession--the rest will be confiscated. Don't worry, the penalty is only a maximum of five years in prison or $10,000. A license to print money, really.
Sure glad I'm not a worry-wart, or I might try to make sense of why our government is saying a penny can only be worth a penny, even when it's worth more than a penny. Anyhoo, I've got a fire to tend, and if any of you know where to get a good 19th-century leg-operated forge bellows, let me know in the comments section.