The Nickel is a curious coin in that it began as an anomaly (much like the trime or the Two Cent Piece) but is the only minor denomination introduced well into the 19th century that has remained with us and is minted still today. The Nickel gets its name from the metal it was originally in part composed of - a metal that, in the early 1800s was considered exotic and scarce. Nickel was combined with Copper (in place of Silver) in some billon coins, but the U.S. Mint, especially under Mint Director James Pollock, was not at all welcoming of nickel in coinage. There were several drives to include it in minor denominations. The two key complaints about 100% copper coins was that they were over-large and messy. The very term Red-handed came from the telltale evidence of copper on the hands of thieves. Copper/Silver, Copper/Zinc and Copper/Tin alloys had all been tried and it was inevitable that nickel would also be tried in combination with dirty copper, but when it came to minting denominations greater than One Cent and less than Ten Cents nickel found preference over silver or copper, especially during hard times when demands on these other metals was high. The first Five Cent Piece minted was a billon composed of 75% Copper and 25% Nickel.