"Coins Are Only For Collectors"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, May 9, 2015

How much does it cost to make a penny? And, why do we still make pennies?

If there is a shortage of them? So what? They won’t buy anything unless you have a few pounds of them. If you really want to carry enough pennies to make a purchase with them, you’ll need a strong bag, maybe a canvas or leather pouch. Last year, we not only produced millions of pennies, we actually made four different designs. Why? Are we making them for numismatists? Perhaps in years to come the set of four will be more valuable than four of only one design. If you are a penny collector, all you need to do is look down as you walk along. Many people just throw them away.

Did you ever imagine people throwing money away just to avoid having to carry it? It is clear, and has been for a long time, pennies should no longer be made. If collectors want pennies, let them make their own.

It takes five pennies to equal one nickel in value but how often do you find anything that costs a nickel? We should probably stop making nickels also.

A dime equals two nickels in value or 10 pennies yet is smaller in size than one of either of them and takes less metal to produce. A dime is not only smaller, it is lighter in weight and therefore, although seldom called for, is less wear and tear on the pockets. If you consider and look around, there are few items that can be purchased for a dime. If you look closely, those items aren’t worth a penny, so why make dimes?

As I see it, we are wasting valuable metals and taxing costly equipment to manufacturer useless coins. Yes, there was a time when coins had a use, like buying penny candy or working a bubble gum machine. Pay phones, back in the day, used nickels and a nickel would buy a candy bar or tootsie pop. None of those transactions are taking place today, so why do we need the coins? We can’t fold them and carry them around with real money, and if we want them rolled most places charge to do it.

Quarters are usable occasionally but new style equipment uses dollar bills. Soda machines and pay phones used to take quarters. Pool tables, juke boxes and slot machines still do. I think some of the old casino parlors still have a few coin machines operating because folks like the sound of the coins dropping. More likely, they can’t afford to replace them.

You used to be able to get your newspaper from a machine that took quarters and some of them are still around, but you better have five quarters. Likewise, the laundromats that still use coin slots, bring a lot of quarters to use them.

I put six quarters in a vacuum machine at a car wash for five minutes of weak suction that barely cleaned my mats. On the newer ones, you use your credit card and I guess it calculates the cost and spits out a receipt when you are done. Remember when you could pull up to an air hose when you had a low tire? You could set the pressure needed and add air free.

That’s another item we can get rid of: use of the word “free,” but that’s another column’s worth of words.

There are a few more coins in circulation. The half-dollar is rarely called for and probably only minted for collectors. The dollar coin is rarely used for purchases and perhaps some older-style vending systems, but it is obviously minted for collectors.

The government gives the impression that there is a purpose other than serving a few by saying; “The United States is honoring our nation’s presidents by issuing $1 coins featuring their images in the order they served in office. The U.S. Mint issues four different $1 coins each year.”

They do have a gold finish which is attractive in the sealed condition they must be kept in. The current year’s issue are: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. On the reverse is a “striking rendition” of the Statue of Liberty and the mint year is incused in the edge.

The Native American $1 coin, also known as the “golden dollar” because of its bright copper core clad by manganese brass, was introduced in 2000 replacing the Susan B. Anthony coin. The coin features Sacagawea (a Shoshone guide for Lewis and Clark) on the front and the reverse changes yearly to depict different aspects of Native American cultures. Since 2012, they are minted just for collectors and some are worth $20 uncirculated.

Why do we have to support a small group of obviously wealthy collectors by continuing to produce such coins? But then, how else could we start a football game?


Return to Home Page of Tipsforboating.com


Copyright © Fred Davis. All rights reserved.