Skip to main content

Dollar coin a token of lost youth?

In recent days Great Britain marked the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the one-pound coin that replaced its one-pound bank note.

At the same time, I guess the United States has marked decades of talking about a dollar coin. Depending on where you start counting, you could say this American dollar conversation began in 1969 when Dwight Eisenhower died and politicians were looking for a coin on which to place his image.

Only the dollar was a possibility then because nobody wanted to be stymied by vested interests relating to the portraits on the cent through half dollar.

You might begin counting the years of discussion from the Research Triangle Institute report of 1975, or the introduction of the Anthony dollar in 1979.

Certainly the pages of Numismatic News were alive with the pros and cons during this time.

Britain’s change in 1983 sparked another round of discussion. That isn’t surprising.

The challenging part for the United States was never introducing dollar coins. We keep doing that over and over and failing.

The challenge is abolishing the one dollar note so that the coin will be used.

We are stuck.

If the United States had abolished the one dollar bill in 1983 as Britain did its one pound note, would anybody remember today what the objections to this course of action were?

Probably not.

American memory is quickly wiped clean and we move on to other topics.

But in the case of the dollar coin, the topic comes up over and over again. I have no doubt some new dollar coin or coins will follow the Presidential dollar series.

Congratulations to Great Britain on having made a decision and gotten on with life.

For American coin collectors, the dollar coin versus dollar bill discussion is like watching our own reruns of That ’70s Show.

Perhaps like the television program, the dollar discussion reminds us of when we were young.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."