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USA circulating coin study to begin (again)


mgk920
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It sounds like the USMint has hired an organization from Johnstown, PA (Concurrent Technologies Corporation http://www.ctc.com ) to study the USA's circulating coins, including dimensions, compositions, what denominations should exist, etc, and report back sometime in 2013.

 

http://www.numismaster.com/ta/numis/Article.jsp?ad=article&ArticleId=23111

 

I like the line at the end regarding the Congressional directive that whatever changes are made are to have as minimal an impact as possible on the vending machine guys - "That might be hard to do".

 

Mike

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The Fed already knows what's in use regularly. Studies like this are just a means to provide a "bonus" income to folks that are owed favors.

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I like the line at the end regarding the Congressional directive that whatever changes are made are to have as minimal an impact as possible on the vending machine guys - "That might be hard to do".

 

I dislike the idea that adjusting the way we do pocket change should be limited by private concerns rather than public need. If we need to re-size or re-formulate the penny and nickel and add $2 and $5 coins, vending machine manufacturers will adjust. In fact, they'll race to be first on the market, because he who adjusts first is for a while the only one to get contracts to upgrade machines. For my money -- and that's what government money is, after all -- it's more important to me to fix the negative seigniorage on pennies and nickels than it is to avoid "inconveniencing" private industry.

 

Personally, I'd like to see a wholescale rethinking of our money. One, two, five, ten, twenty and fifty cent pieces, and one, two and five dollar coins, with the paper money for those being withdrawn. Considering a coin lasts decades while a bill lasts a couple years, it makes sense in the long run. And enough with presidents on coins -- return Lady Liberty. And commemoratives should circulate: if it's worth commemorating, it's worth commemorating publicly, not just by collectors and speculators.

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Great ideas but it should be noted that the history of money is generally rather conservative, especially in the US where the dollar bill is immovable (so far at least). At least 3 attempts to introduce a coin has failed, in the late 70s, the early 00s and the Presidential series. It should be noted that the $1 coin has never really been all that popular in the states (as a whole), the silver dollars were too big and cumbersome, the gold dollars were too fiddly and small.

 

The only way to move forward with a dollar coin is to axe the bill at the same time. We did it in England back in the 1980s when the £1 coin arrived, and you know what? People hated the coins at first, there was apparently some resistance to loosing the 'treasured' pound note, nearly thirty years on of course the story has reversed, the £1 is quite popular and the £1 note just seems weird to those who haven't lived through it. In essence therefore, it's not really the practicality that is at debate, it's change that's the problem, most people simply dislike change.

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After spending three years as a cashier and handling cash on a daily basis, I can truthfully say that our current denominations make perfect mathematical sense, although the half dollar's usefulness is largely ignored on account of its size.

 

In the latter half of the 19th century (and in part until 1933), there were cons of the 2, 3, and 20 cent denominations, and of course the slew of gold coins available for circulation. They were cancelled because they were confusing, unpopular, or simply not needed.

 

As for re-sizing the coins, this will lead to catastrophic problems as both humans and machines adjust to the new sizes. Overall, simply a waste of money uncle sam doesn't have.

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This will probably come up with some recommendations on composition changes that could happen, but then they'll jump the shark and say we need to axe the cent and bring in $2 and $5 coins, and then the whole thing will die a quiet death. You see, unlike us coin collectors, the average American is just fine with 4 denominations of coins and dollar bills. And part of the resistance is historical, since we never really liked dollar coins from the beginning, even in 1795 the half dollar was the workhorse of commerce, the silver dollar hardly mattered. Besides, most Americans are concernes about the impact of having that much money in change lying around. Heck, in my jar at home where I keep my foreign coins from various trips, and I have about 20 Swiss francs in about 15 or so coins, and that's like $30! Imagine how much things would cost if you had coins that were worth $7 or $8 in circulation like the Swiss 5-franc!

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The only way to move forward with a dollar coin is to axe the bill at the same time. We did it in England back in the 1980s when the £1 coin arrived, and you know what? People hated the coins at first, there was apparently some resistance to loosing the 'treasured' pound note, nearly thirty years on of course the story has reversed, the £1 is quite popular and the £1 note just seems weird to those who haven't lived through it. In essence therefore, it's not really the practicality that is at debate, it's change that's the problem, most people simply dislike change.

Yeah, getting rid of the paper money at the same time is a given, or it will never happen.

 

Of course, the UK has more experience with changing money -- within the last 40 years, well within living memory, you've had decimalization, resized the 5p and 10p, and demonetized the 1/2p. We've only really changed dollar sizes -- the change from silver to clad in 1965 didn't involve a size or denomination change, and the change from bronze to copper washed zinc in our cents in 1982 was not really discernable to the eye. we haven't effectively added or removed a denomination since gold coins were removed in 1933 -- almost 80 years ago. Silver coins haven't changed since the 1800s with the failed 20c experiment, half-dimes and 3c silver pieces.

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After spending three years as a cashier and handling cash on a daily basis, I can truthfully say that our current denominations make perfect mathematical sense, although the half dollar's usefulness is largely ignored on account of its size.

 

In the latter half of the 19th century (and in part until 1933), there were cons of the 2, 3, and 20 cent denominations, and of course the slew of gold coins available for circulation. They were cancelled because they were confusing, unpopular, or simply not needed.

 

As for re-sizing the coins, this will lead to catastrophic problems as both humans and machines adjust to the new sizes. Overall, simply a waste of money uncle sam doesn't have.

Oh, I don't realistically expect my ideas to ever happen. But I disagree that the problems would be catastrophic. Size them for the current dime, nickel and quarter -- just about every vending machine in existence can handle those sizes. And they'd be in sizes that are already familiar.

 

Most of all, I'd like to see historical people struck from coins -- at least until a potential subject has been dead for 100 years. I'd love to see Liberty back on the coins -- maybe the Seated or Walking designs, or a mix of designs like we had in the 1910s-1930s.

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Oh, I don't realistically expect my ideas to ever happen. But I disagree that the problems would be catastrophic. Size them for the current dime, nickel and quarter -- just about every vending machine in existence can handle those sizes. And they'd be in sizes that are already familiar.

 

Most of all, I'd like to see historical people struck from coins -- at least until a potential subject has been dead for 100 years. I'd love to see Liberty back on the coins -- maybe the Seated or Walking designs, or a mix of designs like we had in the 1910s-1930s.

Assuming that the USA Dollar doesn't hyper-inflate to nothing over the next few years, I would:

 

-Drop the 1¢. I have considered it the be nothing more than monetary lint ever since the Zincolns were first turned loose in 1982. Their only purpose in life is the fine-account for state and local sales taxes. No 1¢ coin? Either set the sales tax rate cards to round the tax up or down to the nearest even 5¢ of go back to using sales tax tokens.

 

-Replace the current 5¢ with a cupro-nickel 'clad' Half-Dime. The denomination should changed to read "5 CENTS".

 

-10¢, 25¢ and 50¢ - No changes other than to replace the words "ONE DIME", "QUARTER DOLLAR" and "HALF DOLLAR" with "10 CENTS", "25 CENTS" and "50 CENTS", respectively (see below).

 

-$1 - keep the same composition and dimensions, and

a - Allow the current 'Presidential' series to run its course, then in the future issue a new one in the second calendar year following the passing of a president, just like how the Post Office issues a commemorative postage stamp in the first year following such passings;

b - Continue the current 'Sac' commemorative series;

c - Mate the SoL from the Presidential series (obverse) with the eagle from the original Sacs (reverse), with the mottoes and inscriptions moved around as necessary, as the design for future 'regular issue' $1 coins;

d - For all of these, move all mottoes, inscriptions, dates and mintmarks to flat sides, with the edge to have stars only. The denomination should read "1 DOLLAR". Dates and mintmarks belong on the flat sides of coins, NOT on the edge;

e - Drop the $1 banknote.

 

-Replace the $2 and $5 banknotes with coins. Mottoes and stars can be used on the edges of these coins to make them more distinctive and counterfeit-resistant. Consider using 'ringed-bimetallic' compositions.

 

-Use only images of Liberty, eagles and shields for the main design elements of all 'regular issue' coins. Also, ALL commemorative coins issued by the USMint MUST have business-strike versions released into regular circulation (for example, I would love to see Olympic commemoratives in circulation).

 

Mike

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Assuming that the USA Dollar doesn't hyper-inflate to nothing over the next few years, I would:

 

(many sensible suggestions)

Sure, I'm on board with most of that.

 

I also wonder how much could be saved by switching to a simpler solid planchet rather than the clad sandwich. It hardly matters what the metal content is since the coin value is not intrinsic--it only needs to be durable yet workable. Does any other modern coinage use a clad sandwich, or is it pretty much just us?

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Sure, I'm on board with most of that.

 

I also wonder how much could be saved by switching to a simpler solid planchet rather than the clad sandwich. It hardly matters what the metal content is since the coin value is not intrinsic--it only needs to be durable yet workable. Does any other modern coinage use a clad sandwich, or is it pretty much just us?

The center core of the €1 is a sandwich-clad composition with outer layers of 75%Cu/25%Ni bonded to a core of 100% Ni. The center core of the €2 is also a sandwich-clad composition with outer layers of 75%Cu/20%Zn/5%Ni bonded to a core of 100%Ni. These are for electro-magnetic signature purposes in automatic sorters/counters and vending machines.

 

Otherwise, USA coins are very unique in that regard.

 

Mike

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Sensible suggestions--however, I'd change the dollar coin to be smaller and also ringed bi-metallic. The rationale being that non-fractional coinage would be uniform (at least when looking face on) and fractional coinage would be ringed. The reason to make the dollar smaller is so that larger denominations can be physically larger. I think people would resist anything of larger diameter than the fifty cent piece, so I'd have the dollar start out about the diameter of today's "nickel". That way when we introduce 2 and 5 dollar pieces we won't find ourselves making them smaller than the 1 dollar coin. I wonder if we could have a more golden color for the center, though, than that ugly dull brass the Europeans and Russians use? could it be made out of solid whatever-they-wash-the-SACs-with?

 

The real reform I'd like to see is to ditch fiat entirely but that ain't happening until after a hyperinflationary disaster teaches us a lesson.

 

(Edit: clarified my rationale for suggesting a smaller $1 coin)

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I think a one dollar and two dollar coin that are usable would be a great idea. Of course, the gradual removal of the one dollar note would help usage along significantly. When the SACs were introduced and then the presidential dollars the stress was on getting this coins used in the US and not just South America. Vending machine companies were supplied specs and such to adjust/modify their machines. Part of the legislation required that anyone doing business with the Federal Govt including vending machines at all US facilities accept and provide the dollar coins in change. Within a short period of this law becoming effective:

 

1) The US Post Office announced they were removing all of their vending machines -- by the way the major source of circulating $1 coins in my area.

 

2) An exemption was granted to all vendors having machines at US Military Installation.

 

Don't know what has ever really happened to this law and the results but the start did not look too good. If the gov't won't cooperate any future such efforts are probably doomed as well.

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Sure, I'm on board with most of that.

 

I also wonder how much could be saved by switching to a simpler solid planchet rather than the clad sandwich. It hardly matters what the metal content is since the coin value is not intrinsic--it only needs to be durable yet workable. Does any other modern coinage use a clad sandwich, or is it pretty much just us?

 

Panama's coinage uses US planchets, so their 1/10, 1/4 and 1/2 balboas are same as the US dime, quarter, and halves.

 

Thailand 5 baht is also c/n clad copper.

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