Skip to main content

News of cent's fate

If you are impatient to know the future of the cent and the nickel as I am, you will be curious about a hearing that will be held by the House Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology at 2 p.m. Nov. 29 in Washington, D.C.

Even though this is two weeks prior to the Dec. 13 due date for the Mint’s report to Congress, Deputy Mint Director Richard A. Peterson will be present to give a statement.

Also testifying will be someone from the Royal Canadian Mint and a representative from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, who would usually be around to address topics like costs.

Subcommittee Chairman Ron Paul is retiring, so this might be his last hurrah as regards coinage matters.

What will he do or say?

Your guess is as good as mine.

The presence of the Royal Canadian Mint is particularly interesting.

Will the RCM representative be there as some sort of good example to hold up to the American public as an institution worth emulating?

That would be interesting since Canada is in the process of abolishing and withdrawing its cent coin from daily use.

Canada also has patented steel plating technology that might be a potential solution for coin compositions, not only for the cent but for all denominations.

The coloration and outward appearance of the coins with a steel core would be the same as they are for the current composition.

Conversely, the Canadians could later be used as something of a straw man by members of Congress to knock down with declarations that we want to save our cent and we don’t want to use steel.

Today I have questions.

I hope there will be some answers at the hearing.

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