From the December 7th Numismatic e-newsletter: Should the U.S. switch to a steel core for cents, nickels, dimes, quarters and halves? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.
Just some quick thoughts on the current coinage problem. I think what would really make the most sense would be to forego history a bit and just start over.
First, be logical about the coins we have. People have talked about getting rid of the cent, but I really doubt that will be on the table any time soon.
The dime is an historic relic whose size is due only to its history of being made of silver. Are there other countries whose smallest coin is not their smallest denomination? I don’t know, but it really doesn’t make sense.
So here’s my solution. I know realistically it has no chance of happening, but it might help with some of our issues.
First, drop the dime. It’s not needed. We could get by just fine without it, and the “space” between our coins would be more even, so to speak (5 cents to make a nickel, 5 nickels to make a quarter, 4 quarters to make a dollar). The biggest advantage would be that we could then make the cent smaller, as well as the nickel and the quarter.
Drop the half dollar. Unless it breaks even as a money maker for the Mint based on collector interest alone, there’s no reason to have them anymore. At one time in the very distant past, people actually used them, but not today.
Get rid of the paper dollar. Just do it. People would complain for a bit, but they’d get used to it. The dollar coin could be about the size it is now, and if we make the quarter smaller, it shouldn’t be confused with it. Maybe try printing more $2 bills at the same time to see if people would use them (and perhaps eventually make a $2 coin as well).
Of course, none of this addresses the coin composition question. Even with making the coins smaller, the price of metals might eventually go up to the point where the Mint is losing money on them as well. Honestly, if you could start from scratch as in this scenario, changing the metal (to a steel base, etc.) would probably be an easier sell than changing the size of the coins.
The biggest issue with all of this would probably be the transition period. Machine vendor makers and others who use a lot of coins would hate it.
But if you could get through the transition, you might actually have coinage that makes sense, at least for as long as people are actually using them.
If tax dollars be saved, by all means, yes!
My prior opinion on the cent still stands. By the end of October, 60 percent of all coins minted were of the cent. In theory wouldn’t 60 percent of the shipping be saved as well? In each of our own households that is a great savings. Shall these changes be done? To save money, why not?
Berkel en Rodenrijs
Why not switch to steel core? It isn’t like our money has any real value to it. Just look at the worthless paper they print.
It is a good idea if it saves money but they would have to use stainless steel to slow down rusting which would cost more than generic steel.
John R. Blair
Palm Beach, Fla.
The metal change should be done. The $1 bill must be replaced with the dollar coin. Two dollar bill and 50-cent piece eliminated and a $200 bill be added.
Since precious metals in coins have long been abandoned, the composition of a coin should hardly matter, as long as it is in line to reduce costs. As for the half dollar, does it really matter, since the mint only sells them in sets at inflated prices?
Lake Dallas Texas
Considering all the controversy and debates surrounding the would have, could have, should have, maybe this, maybe that and opinions galore on whether or not we should keep the cent and nickel or whether we should keep notes as currency or dollar coins instead and etc…etc…etc …well enough all ready. Let stop all the fuss and all the wasted time that goes with it and get done with what Calamity Howlers and Seesayer’s have been predicting since before the turn of the century. Let forget all together about the notion of using coins and notes as a means of exchange and just place the chip in my wrist, that is wired to a central a banking system and let me have at it. It’s going to happen eventually anyway, so why not spend the time determining the best way to introduce this form of currency distribution. Too pursue the quest towards anything else is simple a waste of time and money.
Mercury R. Williams