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Viewpoint: Rethinking Coin Designs

By Bill Tuttle

While on YouTube, I came across a channel whose author talked about his “Ten least favorite coin designs” and made some suggestions for better designs (in his opinion). That got me rethinking about what I’ve written in the past about changing the coin and currency of our money.

The Union Shield cent was one of the ugliest coins listed. Even though the author of the video suggested another design which would be better, I think the denomination should be eliminated totally. The Canadians and other “industrial” nations of the world have because the lowest denomination coin has little or no “purchasing power” as it had years ago. The cent should be relegated to cyberspace like the mil ($0.001).

Jefferson’s nickels should be made slightly smaller, and have a different composition, and design. If it costs over 2 cents to produce a cent, why not make the 5-cent piece the same size and composition as the current cent, which would be eliminated?Replace Jefferson with some other design like any number of “trail” designs that never made the cut but are “truly American.” Instead of calling the coin, “5 cents,” why not revert back to the denomination it was first called, “half dime?” (one dime = 10 cents; half dime = 5 cents.)

About 75 years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office and the U.S. promptly memorialized him with a 10 cent coin (dime). Perhaps it is time to replace the designs with someone/something else?

What’s so beautiful about the monochrome “America the Beautiful” quarters? Keep Washington on the obverse but change the reverse with a new and modern “Americana” design. They should print the America the Beautiful series on polymer fractional currency (25-cent notes) in living color.

This blogger feels the reason the half dollar is not popular is because of its size. From the late 18th century (the 1790s) to date, the “half” has nearly always been a large and hefty coin. Perhaps if it were reduced in size and weight, like that of a “small” dollar coin but kept in copper-nickel-clad composition, it might become a circulating coin again. There should be no confusion if the shape of the new half was 13-sided, honoring the “original 13 states.”

The “golden” (non-gold) dollar is not popular because its paper counterpart still circulates in the U.S. Years ago, Canada stopped printing paper dollars and started

minting dollar coins to save the country millions. The U.S. doomed its small-dollar coin by issuing the “SBA” coin in copper-nickel clad composition and continuing to print the $1 bill. Even when the denomination was issued in an alloy that turned it golden, the paper dollar remained. Today, the golden dollar is basically a transportation “token,” or an “investment” coin. The paper U.S. dollar should be demonetized and replaced with its metal counterpart, as many “industrial” world countries have done with their lowest denominated dollar.

Many countries of the world have gone past minting their dollar coins to higher denominations. The quarter eagle ($2.50) could become a bimetallic coin, similar to the Canadian $2 coin. A half eagle would also be bimetallic but have the reverse of the quarter eagle (copper-nickel “core” with a golden ring). The new eagle and double eagle coins would be reserved for circulating commemorative issues and the current sizes of the half dollar and “large” dollar, respectfully.

Also, they should change the name and denomination of the American silver eagle to “The $50 American Silver Union” but still have it be .9999 pure silver.

This “Viewpoint” was written by Bill Tuttle, a collector from Cleveland, Ohio.

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