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Viewpoint: Buy back cents to save money

After reading R.W. Barker’s letter to the editor and Bruce Remick’s “Viewpoint” in the April 30 issue, it got me thinking about the U.S. Mint’s cent production.
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By T. Nelson

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After reading R.W. Barker’s letter to the editor and Bruce Remick’s “Viewpoint” in the April 30 issue, it got me thinking about the U.S. Mint’s cent production.

I am personally getting very tired of people arguing whether to keep the cent or get rid of it. So the cent costs 2 cents to make and the nickel 7 cents or whatever the current costs are. Who cares? How much does it cost to make a dime, quarter, half or one of the dollar coins?

If the Mint is losing money on the cent and nickel, how much is it making on all the others? I heard a few years ago that it costs the Mint 12 cents to make a quarter. That’s 13 cents profit, so check to see how many quarters the Mint has produced over the last 15 to 20 years.

I think the Mint is making a very nice profit, but all you hear about is how much taxpayer money is being wasted on the production of the cent. If people are worried about tax money, there are a lot bigger fish to fry than to worry about the Mint.

I think they should keep working to find a cheaper alloy, but keep making the cent. I am a cent collector and I would like to see them continue. If some people find it is so repulsive to use them, they could toss them into a jar in their closet and a couple times a year they could give them to their kid, neighbor kid, church, Red Cross, Salvation Army, boy’s ranch or a thousand other organizations that would love to take them.

Another option is to have a buy-back program. If the Mint is producing around 1 billion cent coins per year, where are they all going? I think that most are being tossed into a jar in the closet and just sitting there. If the Mint and the banks could work together and pay a slight premium like 1.14 to 1.25 cents per coin, there wouldn’t be as great a need to make so many each year, which is going to lower the overall cost of cent production. The Mint could get by with only making 4 million to 5 million coins per year versus a billion. The banks would have an ample supply and the cost of shipping cents all over the country would be greatly reduced.

I personally see hundreds of cent coins per month but I only see two or three of the golden dollar coins per year. Getting rid of the dollar coins and making a $2 and $5 dollar coin would make more sense to me.

This “Viewpoint” was written by T. Nelson, a hobbyist from Moorhead, Minn.

“Viewpoint” is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. 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

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