The stock market is booming.
Bitcoin is soaring.
Gold is merely up for the year, but up is better than down.
Even silver is slightly positive this year.
When the economy rocks on like this, defenders of the U.S. cent are most under threat.
When people generally are feeling better off, they often abandon thrifty, penny-pinching ways.
Many a family hoard of coins helped pay the bills after the financial crash hit in 2008.
But what’s a jar of pennies worth psychologically when Bitcoin is rising 10 percent or more each day?
This is when the U.S. cent is in the most danger.
The logic is there to abolish it.
It costs more than one cent to make.
The last available Mint annual report for fiscal year 2016 shows that it cost 1.5 cents to make each cent.
With the price of zinc soaring 40 percent or so this year, you can bet it doesn’t cost less now despite the best efforts to ramp up productivity.
In this environment of optimism and high rollers, what’s a cent? Let it go.
That’s the case against the denomination.
Holding the defensive line are most collectors, who still are emotionally attached to coins that caught their attention 50, 60 or 70 years ago.
But how long will they feel this way?
The current high-rolling economy is also getting people more comfortable without using coins at all.
It is a well documented fact that people who pay for things electronically spend more than if they had to take out a wallet and actually hand over physical cash.
When I took my elderly mother to her monthly visit to the credit union, I saw new notices of the various options customers could use to pay their bills using their cell phones.
This is the first time I have seen them posted there.
These would not be up for viewing if their customers were not pushing to use these forms of electronic payment.
So take your pick; whether the cent dies because so many Americans are feeling rich or because they have abandoned all forms of cash, the defenders of the one-cent coin need to be vigilant.
They have a lot to fend off right now.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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