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Viewpoint: Add another fan of keeping the cent

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By Robert Matitia

It has been interesting to read about the almost exhausting debate that has been featured in the pages of many numismatic periodicals, including Numismatic News, regarding the conundrum of whether “to abolish the cent or not to abolish the cent… that is the question!”

What does the future hold for the one cent coin?

What does the future hold for the one cent coin?

Until now, I have not noticed any “official” opinions regarding this matter. Even the most recent September 2014 Biennual Report of the U.S. Department of the Treasury to Congress did not include a study nor recommendation to abolish the cent, despite its cost of production, rather the study was with regards to the “metal composition” and, after careful study, the Treasury Department recommended to maintain the current composition of one-cent coins.

Interestingly, and as reported in Numismatic News in the Jan. 26 edition, is that the former Mint director, Philip Diehl stated in an CNBC interview that his opinion is that “no more cents should be struck.”

I am glad to see that Mark Weller of Americans for Common Cents stated that he was against that idea. As I, for one, love the cent coin. Always have, whether its collecting the laden with history large copper cents, or the flying eagle, Indian cents, wheaties, uncirculated memorials and proofs, the elusive in circulation beautiful Lincoln Bicentennial issues and even the recent Shields.

I enjoy checking my change to see what penny might turn up. Yes that’s right, if the cent is abolished, like the penny was in Canada (which I always like to get in change, since it is an obsolete coin!), what will become of all of the wonderful and popular quotes and sayings that we have been using in conversation for over a century?

I remember when a Penny Whistle actually cost a penny (well, maybe close to a penny like a dime). Jewelers use penny weights as a unit of measurement. Who will know what “pinching your pennies” will mean if pennies are all gone? In home economics classes how will they describe a “penny pincher” clipping coupons? When someone reuses their paper cups to save money, yet just blew thousands of dollars gambling, can you call him “penny wise but pound foolish” if there are no more cents?

I think that for one children’s book where Henny Penny, the little chicken that thought the sky was falling down, can be re-written to the tune of and with the wave of Zombie Apocalyptic Preppers, so maybe no one will know who Henny Penny is! The Penny Savers ads will have to hire new artists to create Nickel or Quarter Savers ads. By the way, the plot in “Superman 3” where Lex Luthor became the wealthiest man in the world by writing a computer program that deposited the “rounding errors of fractional cents” into his bank account just may come to fruition if we abolish the cent and round up or down on transactions.

So you might as well add me then to the list of never ending articles on this silly debate.

Oh, and by the way, can I have a penny for your thoughts?

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

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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