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Community Voice Responses (05/15/2012)

From the April 20th Numismatic News E-Newsletter: Should dimes and quarters be changed to a steel composition to save money? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor, Dave Harper.
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From the April 20th Numismatic News E-Newsletter: Should dimes and quarters be changed to a steel composition to save money? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor, Dave Harper.

Yes, make all of them steel composition. One thing though, the U.S. Mint should make the original composition coins in the proof and uncirculated sets to at least maintain for the collectors. The collectors have been supporting the cost through the years with the higher cost for their purchases directly from the Mint.
Kevin Reinhard
Millbrae, Calif.
The composition on all coins needs to be reviewed and updated to reduce costs.
Most people could not tell you what the coins are made out of nor do they care what they are made of.
Continuing to produce coins that cost more than face value is completely stupid.
Chris McAlonis
Berea, Ohio

I suppose so, if it covers the cost of the losses from the cent and nickel.
George Starkey
Folsom Calif.

I think that dimes and quarters have to be changed to a cheaper and more affordable composition. They are necessary coins, in my opinion.
Alex Helzel
Greensburg, Pa.

Having saved a few of the original 1943 cents, it’s obvious that the zinc coating is quite unstable after a very few years, either oxidizing to reveal an ugly white residue or the steel base rusting out and erupting through the zinc surface coating or both.
As with copper and its war with verdigris, the disintegration usually results in obliteration of the legends, emblems and dates, not to mention the obverse and reverse overall design.
Is the use of nickel totally inefficient or uneconomical? The Canadian coinage seems to have held up over the years. It seems to have survived the environmental forces of disintegration, except for the cent, which has had same problems as we have with the copper element. Will nickel alloy with aluminum? Would manganese be out of the question? Would the alloying of manganese with nickel be cost-prohibitive?
Manganese turns dark it appears. If they could prevent steel from self-destructing, perhaps that is the answer. Stainless steel?
Kenyon Miers
Esperance, N.Y.

Don’t change the metal in these coins. I know the cents and nickels will be changing soon or be gone forever. The cost of these two coins don’t warrant the change of composition, yet.
Bobby Bange St.
Simons Island, Ga.

No, the 1943 cent was prone to rusting. Why wouldn’t the new ones?
Phil Moulder
Wetumpka, Ala.

No, the government should just stop inflating our money. They should be ashamed of themselves for robbing from the citizens in such a cowardly fashion, spending money they don’t have to (in most cases) get themselves re-elected.
Steve Barney
Ottawa, Ohio

I would prefer a steel cent over no cent coins, but what is more troubling is the idea of melting down circulating coins for a $2 billion profit for the Mint. That means current coinage will start to have a value and circulated collections for kids and beginners will be a memory of the past.
Any more good ideas that they can do to stop collectors, like end the Presidential coins and make the National Park quarters non-existent. I have yet to see one in my change!
Alan Hepler
Laytonsville, Md.

The steel pennies with the zinc plating didn’t work so well. I think the coins should be made out of stainless steel so they won’t rust or corrode.
Jerry Stuart
Keller, Texas

Quarter & dime should not be changed to steel composition. There are other ways for the government to save money.
Paula Kerbo
Address withheld

The savings from changing the composition of the dime and quarter would be chickenfeed. It would help if the commemorative reverses on the quarters were dropped.
For big savings, the government must force the circulation of dollar coins by stopping the printing and circulation of dollar bills. The $5 bill should probably also be replaced with a coin, not large, but distinctive in shape, perhaps seven-sided like the UK 50 pence piece.
Peter Gaspar
St. Louis, Mo.

I am still undecided about possible changes to the composition of U. S. coins. I feel I don’t have enough information. The burden of proof falls mainly on the proposed changes, though, as I know what we have with the current composition. My questions are:
How would any change affect the mint? Would the mint have to overhaul existing presses or install new one to handle the change? How would it affect die life? How much of the coin’s “cost” is the cost of raw materials?
How would a change affect the appearance of our coins? The 1943 cent had problems with corrosion. The copper plated pennies we now have can get ugly quickly if the surface is damaged. Would steel quarters look as good ion forty years as 1970s dated quarters do now? I haven’t seen any Canadian coins in decades, so I have no feel about how their changed composition is faring.
What about the de facto tax on vending machine operators and owners? It will cost a lot to retool them to accept coins with a different metallic signature, and complicate the process to avoiding non-U. S. coins. In this regard, we do have the experience from Canada’s conversion, and from the 1960s changeover to clad coins. Would a cheaper composition also make it cheaper to produce counterfeit coins or slugs?
I am reminded of an incident a few years ago when I was working with several others on a contract project at a local store. The manager offered to buy us all sodas, and gave each of us change for the vending machine. Several people complained that the machine wouldn’t accept the dimes. I checked my coins and discovered the problem. After a brief discussion, I purchased the offending coins and left with a pocketful of Mercury and silver Roosevelt dimes that the modern machines could not handle. I’m thinking that the current clad coins will remain in circulation much longer after the changeover than silver coins did.
Walter Fortner
Milwaukie, Ore.

The government just needs to get rid of the cent. If they change composition, all copper based cents will be kept by Americans, and billions of new composition cents would have to be made. This is bad economics. Unfortunately our congress can’t solve any problems now due to politics. How sad congress is!!!!!!!!!!
J. Marasia
Destin, Fla.

Make all of our coins from steel.
Might as well re-design entire range, 1 cent to $2, like the euro coinage system. Take people off and go back to symbolic figure of Liberty
Chris Budesa
West Orange, N.J.

See nothing wrong with steel coinage. It seems to work for other countries...should work for the U.S. too if the right presses are used.
Ralph Campbell
Address witheld

No, dimes and quarter metal make up should not be changed.
Dick Ammen
Address withheld

It would make more sense to make the current dime size value 25 cents, and the quarter size value 50 cents. And circulate the $1 coin. And don’t worry about rounding. Pricing adjustment will soon eliminate that problem. What can you buy for less than 25 cents? We need sensible coinage now. Storing coins in warehouses makes no sense. Get them out into commerce.
Donald Cantrell
Address withheld

No. I think the government should keep the coins the composition that they are and stop playing around with the figures.
Philip Jones
Address withheld

My recommendation would be to change the dimes and quarters to .900
silver. A dime from my birth year is currently worth around $2.20, in
any condition, just for the silver. What can one do with a dime, or a
quarter for that matter, these days. It seems to me that these coins
have become worthless, so, why not just do away with them? While we are
on the subject, why don’t we make some fancy bi-, or tri-metal $5, 10
and 20. It would probably be cheaper than banknotes, in the long run.
R. A. Blanning
Address withheld

No the sky is not falling. Our economy may be desperate, but it is certainly not destitute. So in the long run, all these proposed coin composition changes might cost us more to fully implement then they’re really worth. Our whole money system has been based on the ideals of confidence and trust. And closely regulated and depended on this trust is the distribution of tens of thousands of various types of coin-operated machines that play a major role in the distribution of its products by accepting dimes and quarters. Changes of this magnitude have to take into consideration how it will affect the economy of this market as well. It’s not just about how inexpensive we can make our money; consistency is also an important ingredient if we are to maintain a secure future monetarily. So no, I feel the dimes and quarters should not be changed to a steel composition just to save money.
Mercury R Williams
Seattle, Wash.