The fact that in circulated condition these coins are often covered in very unattractive dark toning may be one reason why these coins trade for under their silver value but another may be the content of silver in the coins. The war nickel was set to be a 50/50 mix of silver and copper to save nickel for the war effort of World War II but instead was produced in 56 percent copper, 35 percent silver and nine percent manganese. At just 35 percent silver, the war nickel has the lowest silver content of any United States' coin, right below 1965-1970 Kennedy Halves at 40 percent silver. Forty percent silver Kennedy Halves may trade at or above their silver value but they are a higher percentage of silver and a much larger coin. War nickels are much smaller with even less silver content making them not only unwanted to many collectors but also to investors in silver. Silver investors like to get the most bang for their buck and they would need almost 18 war nickels compared to three 90 percent half dollars or about seven 40 percent half dollars for an ounce of pure silver. The high amount of coins needed for virtually any silver content means these coins have very low demand from numismatists and silver investors alike.