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Have Americans turned against cent?

Is the U.S. public taking the process of abolishing the cent into its own hands?

That might seem to be a funny question to ask as the U.S. Mint announces that it has struck almost 4.8 billion cents in the first nine months of the calendar year 2012.

That’s a lot of cents.

But is it?

Demand for the cent is but a pale shadow of what it once was.

The culminating year of high cent demand from the 1990s economic boom was the year 2000 when 14.3 billion cents were struck.

Even if the average monthly production of 530 million cents continues until the end of the year, the annual production would reach a figure of 6.4 billion coins.

That is a 55 percent drop from the 2000 production level.

We all know Congress has been nibbling along the edges for years about the fate of the cent. It will do so again next year when it has a new Mint report in its hands relating to the coin’s future and potential compositions.

However, have the American people given up their emotional attachment to the cent in their day-to-day lives and are they simply stopping or reducing their use of it?

To be sure, all coin production is down from the year 2000, but no other denomination is under the twin threats of cost of production of 2.41 times face value and what could be a growing public indifference to its existence.

Even in our present difficult economic times, cent demand should be higher if the only factor influencing demand is economic conditions.

Hard times, you might think, would cause people to pinch every penny and make sure bills are settled to that last decimal point, but that does not seem to be what is going on if what I see in my day-to-day life is any guide.

So I repeat the question:

Are Americans getting ahead of the Congress and engaging in a process of abolishing the cent in their own lives?

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

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4 Responses to Have Americans turned against cent?

  1. hrlaser says:

    “Have you changed your mind about abolishing the cent” is badly worded..

    It either assumes one DID want the cent absolished and changed their mind to NOT wanting it absolished, or vice-versa.. so if I answer “Yes”, which am I saying “Yes” to?..

    The question should be re-worded to something like “If you were in favor of absolishing the cent, have you changed your mind”.. or something similar..

    At any rate, it’s my opinion that as long as Abe Lincoln is on the cent, and there is an Illinois Congressional delegation, the cent will NEVER be abolished, even if they have to make it out of compressed sawdust and glue..

  2. Tom Snyder says:

    Every time I go to the bank, I see people dumping their jars and sacks of coins into the self serve coin counter. It gives a receipt which can be taken to a teller. I also get a lot of cents in change some back to
    1962-4 which are lustrous nearly uncirculated. This turning in of household hoards certainly would
    diminish the demand for new cents.

  3. ercw2004 says:

    No I don’t think that Americans have turned against the cent. Were just using it more wisely, and only when we absolutely have to. I feel that the increase in online shopping and the frequent use of the credit cards to make cash payments is a major factor in the declining demand in the use of the cent. But you can be sure that for those times cash is used in a transaction, that the use of the cent is very instrumental in completing that process. So NO! I am not for abolishing the cent. So in this weeks poll, should I vote yes, no, or not at all???

  4. jeffjeffb1 says:

    People in Vt. have taken it into their own hands. A merchant in Burlington made the “Free Press”
    by doing this.

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