For many years I have supported the notion that the United States needed coins of higher value as inflation ate away the purchasing power of current coinage. But the American people have ignored the logic of higher value coins.
The Ike dollar came and went quickly. I obtained two at a bank in 1971 when they were issued, but even I, a collector, did not try to spend them. I was too busy going to high school and then to college and too short of funds anyway.
Ike’s last year was 1978.
We collectors watched the Susan B. Anthony dollar arrive in 1979. We were excited. Its production was suspended in 1981.
The Anthony passed into history, though it had an exciting end in 1999 when more dollar coins were actually needed by the banking system.
In the year 2000 the Sacagawea dollar came and then morphed into the collector-only Native American series. Advertisements to encourage its use were viewed not as a public service but as a government boondoggle – such was American resistance to the coin. Even collectors thought such ads were a waste of money.
Presidential dollars in 2007 put a new look on the denomination, but it was still no dice as far as wider use was concerned.
In 2011 production for circulation of all dollars was suspended. They are made now only for collectors.
How long will we collectors maintain our interest?
Collectors tend to focus on coins they are familiar with and have some experience using.
This is why many of us still fondly recall getting Buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters and Walking Liberty halves in change and have worked to collect them.
Our view of dollar coins is largely colored by our view of the Morgan dollar as an impressive coin that had a huge wow factor when we first encountered it.
But with so many failures to circulate, can even collectors maintain their interest in any new dollar coins in the future?
With the end of the Presidential series in sight there will be just the annual Native American coin to carry on.
This series might prove to be the gentle end of the denomination once and for all as flagging collector interest and advancing technology combine to close the door on the denomination in coin form once and for all.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."