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Community Voice Responses (02/14/2012)

From the Jan. 13 Numismatic News E-Newsletter: Some now believe numismatics is only a rich man’s game. Do you agree? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor, Dave Harper.
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From the Jan. 19 Numismatic News E-Newsletter: it costs 2.41 cents to make a cent. Should government declare all cents worth 2 cents? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor, Dave Harper.

Enough already. The 1 cent piece needs to be eliminated. The cost to produce is prohibitive and it serves no useful purpose. Increasing its value will only prolong the agony of its ultimate removal. There are many ways the Mint can save money and make a profit. Trying to salvage the penny is not one of them.

Bryan Willis Los Lunas, N.M.

If it costs 2 cents, then shouldn’t they be worth a minimum of 3 cents?

Jon Kukk Naples, Fla.

Why not 2.5 cents, their true value? And while we are at it, quit making the half and the paper dollar.

Mike Metras Santa Fe, N.M.

The President should ask Americans to turn in their pennies – there are billions of them out them in pickle jars and sock drawers. We don’t need to mint any more. And the banks need to cooperate on processing the loose change.

Scott Cordry Dallas, Texas

With inflationary times, perhaps a 2-cent coin is possible. In truth, in the Netherlands, the 1 cent euro coin doesn’t circulate. Shop owners have already rose and lowered to the nearest 5-cent denomination. Even before the euro (on the guilder system), this has been a common practice. I have made several trips there and have found no inconvenience to this system. The cent for circulation can be eliminated to save our federal government thousands of dollars. This leaves the lowly cent for proof and uncirculated sets only. Remember, lower expenses could mean lower taxes for all. The savings to the banking system can possibly mean lower fees as well.

Gary Kess Escalon, Calif.

I have been saying all along, that the 1 cent should be made into a 2-cent piece.
It would be easy for the mint to do, all you need is a die with 2 cents on it.
Also, all the cash registers made these days can be changed over to calculate to the nearest 2 cents, instead of 1 cent. It is time for a new 2-cent piece in the U.S.

Dennis DeNolf Tucson, Ariz.

Although the cent is and has been a favorite with collectors, as a unit of value it is worthless. The government should discontinue minting it immediately and perhaps it would make room in cash registers for the dollar coin, which we could encourage by discontinuing the issuance of the one dollar bill. Total savings to the government, a bunch, with no negative effect on commerce.

Ken Ludovici Mason, Ohio

No, they need to do away with the cent.

Mary Madis Blacksburg, Va.

Rather than declare all cents worth 2 cents (still losing money at 2.4 cents to make a cent) can they make them cheaper by using aluminum or some other metal alloy? I’m not sure how much the labor cost per cent is.

Terry McComb Charlotte, N.C.

No. Stop minting the cent and 5-cent coins and stop printing $1 currency.

Wesley Ellis Portland, Ore.

How about to 2.5 cents? With a cost of $0.0241, a face value of $0.025 would show a profit for the Mint. Plus two of them would equal a 5-cent coin. Or four of them would equal the 10 cents they could put on the current nickel. Wouldn’t the automatic coin counters have fun counting change? All this is tongue in cheek. Changing the value on any existing size of coin would be a nightmare.

Ed Cline Ankeny, Iowa

Honestly, how can our government say a cent is worth 2 cents when our country’s currency is worthless and based on a false promise? If it did not have a metal in it, the coins would be truly worthless, just like our paper currency. That’s my 2 cents’ worth (no pun intended).

Richard Wajda Gettysburg, Pa.

It costs 2.41 cents to make a penny. Today’s penny is 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper. Zinc and copper mining cause the two worst polluting metal mining problems. I think the government needs to eliminate the penny to save money and the planet.

Mark Fairall Sun City West, Ariz.

My response is to eliminate the 1 cent and redesign the nickel with Jefferson on one side and Lincoln on the other side. Retailers and other business can adapt their pricing to reflect the change. You probably don’t want to drop the Jefferson or Lincoln image, so put them both on the nickel.

George Shoemaker Bradenton, Fla.

Interesting opener. When the cost of manufacturing exceeds the profit from selling, it is always a losing proposition. In the current economic climate, one must think of how to reduce the federal deficit. Producing products with a losing outcome must be evaluated and a new manufacturing process must be implemented to offset the cost of manufacturing. The cost of materials must also be evaluated.

John Paulonis Yonkers, N.Y.

As a user of coinage, I would find the additional calculation in my head at each cash purchase to be irksome.
As a government employee, I should prefer to stop manufacturing cents, and urge the commerce folk to price everything in 5 cent increments.
As an investor, the cent is important in every calculation of the value of my portfolio. I wouldn’t want any change that might affect it, and besides, it’s all on paper anyway, so don’t change the value of a cent.
Finally, as a collector, I don’t care.

Morry Secrest Washougal, Wash.

A coin of over a hundred years old and the question comes that it is too expensive to produce. Well, I have been culling any pennies before 1983 for future use because the copper was too expensive. I still cull out the pennies but it’s not for the same reason. I have to cull out the black, rotted, green, white fungus-covered ones because someone thought that minting pennies made of copper clad to zinc was a cheap and cost-effective way of minting coins cheaper. But they are rotting away. Go to a bank and pick up four to six rolls of used pennies and take a look.These copper/zinc pennies are messing up the good stuff.
I have been collecting now for over 50 years and once, one could build a fairly good collection with pocket change. Not so anymore and I imagine that a beginner could be repulsed at the sight of some of these pieces of history and wish to have nothing to do with coins.
Back in 1999, I bought a coin-operated laundromat. When bigger machines were added, a plastic pipe was placed to drain the larger units. Some time later, the pipe had to go and busting it out yielded about $50 in coins matted together. Out of those coins, the banks could not take better than $35 worth, due to the rotting that occurred. We had to just throw it away. Why? Because of politicians and just being plain cheap. If Germany can make a coin out of iron in 1917 and it would be still a nice coin today, what is wrong? I’ve seen nice pieces made from steel and brass plated metal.
If someone was smart, the Treasury would make 2- and 3-cent pieces. Except for the penny or the cent, the rest are covered and it would induce the younger generation to think more which akin to my father, I don’t think they do. If the Treasury did this, you would be surprised how many billions, if not trillions of pennies would be hoarded!
That iron pfennig of 1917 is in uncirculated shape but it is black. But the 10 pfennig of 1937 is bronze over steel and has good color. There seems to be that there is a bunch of fat somewhere in those mints but my vote goes to getting rid of the copper-zinc and the penny and going for the 2- and 3-cent pieces.

Paul A. Fisher Twin Falls, Idaho

I believe we need the penny as 1 cent. The composition doesn’t have to be copper. Use a cheaper metal or make it smaller.

Steve Janka Chicago, Ill.

In regards to the cent, manufacture it a shade smaller than the dime.

James Chiles Lumberton, Texas

It’s time for the Mint to just stop making cents.
The vast majority of transactions are done without currency today. Cash transactions can continue to use cents that are in circulation, or just round up or down.

Nick Rubino Burlington, Mass.

The 1 cent should stay 1 cent. Letting the U.S. government call in all the old cents and make melting or export of U.S. coinage a crime.
Like the voice calling out of the wilderness, time for a complete revision of our coinage, made similar to euro coinage: 1, 2- and 5-cent copper-plated steel coins, 10-, 25- and 50-cent copper-nickel coins and whatever for the $1 coin.

Chris Budesa West Orange, N.J.

The government cannot declare a 1 cent piece to be a 2-cent piece. It says “One Cent” on the coin. Why not go to paper or plastic? The Office of Price Administration had a paper token of cardboard. Many states had plastic tax tokens.

Andy Beckenbach Address withheld

I think 3 cents would be a better option.

Randy Crawford Petaluma, Calif.

A 2-cent cent? You have got to be kidding me. At 2.42 cents to make a cent, aren’t we still losing money? How about 3 cents a cent? Why don’t we consider making the copper (pre-1982) 5-6 cents each? I suggest omitting the cent altogether.Are there any better ideas? Haven’t other countries stopped the production of these for the same reasons?
How about making the nickel a dime? How about making the golden dollar coin the true and only dollar in lieu of the dollar bill? This I understand will save taxpayers $50 million a year.
Isn’t the Treasury sitting on and paying extra to warehouse over a billion of the presidential golden dollars? I now understand they have stopped production, go figure.

George Starkey Folsom, Calif.

I think pennies (and other coins) should be made of a hard plastic or ceramic and equipped with an RFID (radio frequency identification).
I also believe that $1, $2, $5 and $10 coins should replace the paper certificates. And maybe the Treasury should think of reintroducing a $200 and $500 bill.

Ralph Campbell Address withheld

That sounds like an interesting idea. But would it really solve anything? What does the Mint do when the price of copper goes even higher? Does it declare a cent then worth 3 cents? A cent’s composition is probably where the main changes need to occur, or even ceasing to mint the cent, which no collector wants to see.

Bryan New Columbia, Ky.

The government should cease all production of the cents. There are billions upon billions of the coin and its non-buying power out there. The government should go after the hoarders of the cents and confiscate the hoard, giving them either face value of the coins (bronze and/or copper-washed zinc) or fine them the melt value of the coins.
The government would still be losing money by declaring the cent worth 2 cents if it costs 2.41 cents to make the coin. Just stop production of the cent. If they would revalue the coin to 3 cents, then they would be back in the black for at least a little while. It would also be good for businesses charging $10.99 (or similar) for something. A customer could give the store however many dollars, 90 cents in copper-nickel coins and three 3-cent pieces (instead of nine pennies).

Bill Tuttle vvCleveland, Ohio