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Coinage System Needs Major Changes

by Tom Miller

Should Kennedy half dollars still be minted? Well, the whole system of coinage needs re-configuration.

Consider this; One hundred years ago one could buy a draft beer in a bar for five cents, and a penny bag of candy was enough to satisfy a child’s sugar craving. One could buy a complete steak dinner for two in New York City in 1899 for a quarter. These days the lowest price you can find anywhere to actually buy something is ten cents.

Realistically, to have the buying power of coins to match that of 100 years ago, we would also need 10 dollar and 25 dollar coins, and then eliminate those denominations in paper. Therefore, continuing to mint coins of lesser denominations is senseless, especially since it costs the mint more than two cents each to make a penny and more than five cents to mint a nickel.

Our currency is not only a utilitarian necessity, but also a way of celebrating our history and national heritage. For example, consider the buffalo nickel.  This is an ideal exemple of a national coinage, illustrating entirely unique American  themes which cannot be confused with images from other nations.

Please, let us end the issuance of new kinds of non-circulating, nonsense items such as silver quarters that weigh five ounces and exist only to provide the Treasury with another product to sell. It is not the role of the government to be the largest coin dealer in the world, but to provide the country with a medium of exchange of which we all can be proud. Using issues like the state and national park quarters, we should ensure coinage is an integral part of our everyday life, or our important numismatic connection with history and culture could wither away.

 

The United States should be using the following coin denominations:

1. 10 cents. This coin needs no changes.

2. 25 cents. This should be changed to the size of the current nickel.

3. 50 cents. This should be the size of the current quarter dollar.

4. 1 dollar. This should be same the size as the current dollar coins.

5. 5 dollars. This should be the size of the current half dollar.

 

Other changes should be ending the printing of one and five dollar bills and the resumption of printing $500.00 bills. The old design types could be reused on the new denominations. As with the SBA dollar, unless the Treasury ceases the issue of smaller denominations of paper, the public will resist the circulation of the new coin denominations.

 

This “Viewpoint” was written by Tom Miller, a collector with a special focus on ancient Greek coins.

To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to Editor, Numismatic News, 5225 Joerns Drive, Stevens Point WI, 54481. Email submissions can be sent to numismatics@fwmedia.com.

 

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One Response to Coinage System Needs Major Changes

  1. lbmrc says:

    Eliminate the one cent coin altogether, transition the 5 & 10 cent coins to copper-plated steel planchets and reverse their diameters. Develop the 25 cent (quarter dollar) and a new 50 cent (half dollar) circulation coin (smaller diameters) to correspond with the currently circulating Dollar coin which would leave the possibility to develop a $2 if necessary. In this era of electronic payments, a $5 would be wholly unnecessary and costly to develop with very limited use.
    Taking into consideration the increasing level of electronic payments, there is a window of opportunity to either restructure American coinage now where there may be another 20 – 25 years of use or, simply leave it all as it is.

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