From the March 30th Numismatic News E-Newsletter: Should the cent be kept regardless of cost because it represents monetary stability? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor, Dave Harper.
I’ll answer your question, about retaining the U.S. Cent as “a sign of monetary stability” with another question. Would you allow a faucet to run continually to prove you have access to clean drinking water?
In Australia, we recognized the same problem of production costs involved against actual trading value and we, sensibly dropped the manufacture of our bronze circulation coins decades ago. The habit of final rounding transaction totals to the nearest 5 cents has worked admirably.
The Royal Australian Mint still, occasionally, includes examples of our 1 and 2-cent bronze coins in their pretty commemorative packs. And we have even seen them produced in precious metals for special numismatic events.
Gone – but not altogether forgotten!
Graeme Petterwood, Vice President
Tasmanian Numismatist Society
In my humble opinion I think the cent has outlived its usefulness. I love collecting cents, but we have to face the reality that there’s just no sense keeping the cents (pun not intended). Rather than supporting monetary stability, I think it will improve it. Producing a useless coin that is worth much less than it costs to produce is economic insanity.
The U.S. should follow Canada’s lead in dropping the cent coin. We should have taken the lead by doing it first.
The penny is very important, but based on cost and that pennies are essentially worthless, they should stop being made. I also believe they are exported and melted. But make a 3-cent coin and that would be fine as that with the nickel provides tremendous change calculations.
The cent should be kept in uncirculated and proof sets only. I have expressed this point before for one reason only, saving expenses all around.
Granted this low denomination is a bit of Americana like hot dogs and baseball. There is a time to put a cap on it, and it should be now. Shipping fees for the banks would be saved. Cashiers in all facets of retail won’t have to continually count them (round up or down to the nickel).
By better productivity up and down the chain, can’t we all stand to save a few dollars in the long run? This makes “cents” to me, how about my fellow readers?
I’m thinking the penny has done its job. I know it’s an intersting thought to not have it. But I would just like to say how cool a gold or silver penny would be to honor it if it did go away. Same size so people can afford it in gold. Just a thought.
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
Once again, our neighbor to the north, Canada, trumps the United States. It announced that it would eliminate the Canadian penny coin in 2013 and round sales up or down accordingly. That after eliminating the paper $1 and $2 notes in favor of coins. Why can’t we do likewise? And how come they are always first with the ideas? Think it’s the beer, eh?
I wouldn’t mind seeing the penny going because of the cost to produce it. I would like to see the U.S. Mint sell it to collecters at a fair price, offering it in two types – one type copper cent business and proof and one type cent in zinc, also a business strike and proof.
James D. Santeufemio Sr.
The cent has been around since the beginning of the Mint and it has been the basis for starting collectors. Those reasons alone seem to be enough reason the keep the cent. However, when the cost of minting the cent is well over its face value then something must be done. If the Mint cannot come up with a suitable substitute for the copper in the cent, then it is time for the cent to go. I can see no commercial reason for keeping the cent. I think that the time has come for the Mint (government) to get its head out of the sand, look around, and see just how bad off this country is. It is time they quit playing politics and get down to the business of bringing this country back to what it was during WWII. Once the country gets back to a stable monetary condition then it will be time to start thinking about these petty things that are not really important to the survival of the country. There are many more important things that need to be addressed than the survival of the lowly cent.
John T. Tinney
Here’s an idea. Reduce the cent down to the size of the dime and the dime up to the present diameter of the cent, or up to what it was in the early 19th century. Would it work? I don’t know. But it is an idea.
New Columbia, Ky.
Should the cent be continued? Does it represent monetary stability?
Or, more telling, does its obsolescence indicate monetary instability?
The answer to the last question is a resounding “YES”! From the
minting of the first U.S. coins until 1913, there was no inflation.
Yes, there was variation in the relative value of gold and silver*,
but the purchasing power of our money actually rose. But, what passes
for money now, Federal Reserve Notes, are not only not Constitutional money, but they have no backing whatsoever. In other words, there is
nothing to prevent irresponsible or worse, thieving, government
officials from printing up (or changing bits in a computer, nowadays)
as much as they want, to directly benefit their friends. (And, circuitously, themselves.)
So, the value of a Federal Reserve Note is completely imaginary. A
prudent individual will spend them (pass them along to another sucker) as soon as possible.
I think the public is vaguely aware of this. Production of the 1 cent
coin has been continued for decades past its utility because the
powers that be, that benefit from the Federal Reserve System, fear the
cent’s discontinuation will be the first domino leading to the public’s rejection of Federal Reserve Notes.
As you can tell, I believe we should abide by the Constitution,
eliminate the Federal Reserve System, and return to real money. But,
in truth, it is too late for that. Innovation on the Internet is
already creating monetary alternatives which are truly international, non-political, and sound.
C. David Eagle
Yes, let’s keep the 1 cent.
I do not feel we need a penny.
But I think it would be nice to make a program of the penny like the Silver Eagles some way. Maybe using past dates in groups.
John E. Davidson
Yes, but consider making it a 2-cent piece instead.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the penny going because of the cost to produce it. I would like to see the U.S. Mint sell it to collecters at a fair price offering it in two types. One type copper cent business and proof and one type cent in zinc also a business strike and proof.
James D Santeufemio Sr.
We should ditch the cent. It costs more to make than it is worth. Nobody accuses Canada - which has just voted to ditch their cent - of being financially unstable.
If losing 1.5 times the amount it takes to produce your “monetary stability” How long before we lose so much money to “really “be stable?
Just one more reason the country is in the mess we are now. I mean here we have in black and white a money losing operation, at the rate of one and a half times its worth and there are discussions about what to do. What to do is you stop making pennies or you make them out of something that can be made for a penney or less. Is it really that hard to see? We use to be so much better than this. What has happened to this country?