The Strange Story of the Henning Counterfeit Nickels

This story may seem strange to you. You might not even believe it, but it is true. Counterfeit nickels were made in 1954 and the man who made them was quickly caught and sent to jail.

It’s actually not quite as strange as it sounds. A kid with a nickel in the fifties had fifty cents or more in terms of today’s purchasing power. I can tell you that from personal experience as I was a kid back then. Penny candy wasn’t just a name for inexpensive candy: the corner store had a whole display of candy where I could load up my pockets for a nickel.

Gasoline hadn’t yet reached 25 cents a gallon when these counterfeits were made. Bread was 15 cents a loaf. My father had bought a large three story, ten room house with a barn and a large plot of land near the center of town for $12,000 and the 1954 Studebaker in the driveway cost around $2,400. A nickel wasn’t insignificant.


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