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Viewpoint: Copy Canadians and save money

By: William B. Tuttle

We all read in the Numismatic News that the government is going to discontinue the dollar coin and continue to produce paper bills. The government has gotten it all backwards.

A coin lasts far longer than any piece of paper. They should eliminate the paper dollar and release the dollar coins from all the vaults immediately.

Has anybody here in both houses of Congress really bothered to look north to Canada? Since 1987 the Canadian government has been issuing their dollar coin, the Loonie, (because the coin has a loon on the reverse of the coin) and retired their $1 bill. The act helped the Canadian government save millions of dollars. Then, later, in 1996, the Toonie ($2 bimetallic coin) was introduced as the corresponding paper bill was taken out of circulation.

I’m pretty sure there was some grousing about the Canadian government’s action, but eventually, the people got over it. As we travel across the border into Canada with our “convenient” dollar bill, I’m pretty sure our “northern cousins” are shaking their heads and saying to each other about us, “When will those Yanks learn, eh?”

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Each year the Canadian government saves money by minting only $1 and $2 coins. Since around the turn of the century, Canada has also reduced the cost of minting their coins (1 cent to $2) by plating a steel planchet with either copper (for the cent), copper-nickel (for the 5-50 cent coins) and the metals used for the Loonie and Toonie.

These plated 1-50 cent coins dated 2001-2006 are designated with a “P” under the Queen’s neck on the obverse. Using plated-steel planchets has further helped the Canadian government save money in their coin production at their mints.
Of course none of the U.S. coins, except for the 1943 cent, have ever been magnetic, as many of their Canadian counterparts (after 1967) are, but the U.S. vending machine companies can adjust should the U.S. government wake up and decide to start saving money using plated-steel planchets for all the coins; cent through dollar (or $2.50, the new American bimetallic quarter eagle?) and discontinuing both the $1 and $2 bill.

A little while ago, we changed our televisions from an analog system to a digital system, which is more efficient and less expensive to operate. Why can’t our government see the light and make our paper currency and coins more efficient and less costly? While they’re at it, put the Dead Presidents to bed and produce the new more efficient and less expensive coins with new designs depicting the American Ideal and/or traditional American symbols (Walking Liberty, the eagle, Statue of Liberty, the Freedom statue atop the Capitol dome, etc.).

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This Viewpoint was written by William B. Tuttle of Cleveland, Ohio. Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to david.harper@fwmedia.com.

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