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Knocked 'centsless'

It is foolish to say never when it comes to the question of abolishing the cent. However, it is still pretty clear that most hobbyists want to do everything possible to extend the life of the lowly coin even as they readily admit that it has little purchasing power.

But they won’t go to any lengths.

Some expedients they see as simply silly.

Last week’s poll question asked whether the cent’s size should be cut in half to keep it in production.

That’s not a possibility that is happily contemplated.

I know that any question about the cent is always guaranteed to generate a large response.

This one was no exception.

There is presently no serious suggestion about cutting the coin to half its present size, though just about everything else about the coin is still being studied, scrutinized and evaluated by the U.S. Mint.

Just how far are we willing to go to save the denomination as something we encounter in everyday change?

Reducing the size is not a popular choice.

Some are willing to contemplate a composition change, but others would rather subsidize production of the coin with additional tax dollars just to keep it as is.

Some collectors are tired of questions relating to the future of the cent, but it would appear this drama has years yet to run.

The Mint is in no hurry. The Congress is in no hurry.

Over the coming years we can probably ask whether the coins should be struck in triangular shapes or even plated blue like Mardi Gras tokens.

Just as nature abhors a vacuum, in the absence of official action, all sorts of cent straw men can be put up and knocked down. It may be senseless do this, but it will continue as long as we aren’t ‘centsless.”

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