Skip to main content

Does the cent have a future?

There is a lively debate going on among Numismatic News readers about abolishing the cent and rounding prices.

They are avidly submitting their thoughts for the Letters pages and the Viewpoint space.

Why not join in?

It costs twice face value for the U.S. Mint to produce the one-cent coin and each year the Mint loses money making them.

Some say so what? The Mint can make up the losses in other ways. At least one of the other ways is higher prices for collector coins.

As long as individuals are more attached to the cent than to saving money, the cent will win.

On the other hand, individuals who support abolishing the cent insist that it will have no impact on costs to people in everyday life because prices that end in 1, 2, 6 and 7 cents will round down and prices that end in 3, 4, 8 or 9 will round up.

Through a year’s worth of transactions, individuals should break even as half of transactions will round down and the other half will round up. This is according to mathematics and probability.

Other readers aren’t buying that.

A recent writer said that every transaction where he paid cash in Canada on a recent trip was rounded higher – just as readers who suspect the rounding method won’t be used fairly fear.

Now I know reader views will not ultimately be the deciding factor in any decision relating to the fate of the cent, but I do know that the parties that have influence in the decision-making process do read Numismatic News.

Send in your views also knowing that other readers like to see them and react to them.

Perhaps your view will be the one that wins the day.

Email me at

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."