Why U.S. Dollar Coins Are Not Circulating

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How many portraits of George Washington do you have sitting in your billfold?

If you’re like most Americans, you probably have plenty of one dollar bills in your wallet or purse. You likely haven’t put much thought into using any other form of money but the trusty dollar bill to pay for low-expense purchases.

But what about using dollar coins?

US dollar coins are not circulating. Why not? Here are some theories.

The U.S. Mint has been trying for decades now to get Americans to grow fond of using the dollar coin for everyday purchases for these reasons:

  • Coins last longer than paper money — by many decades.
  • Coins are easy to recycle.
  • Dollar coins are also easier to use with vending machines than dollar bills.

So why don’t more people use dollar coins instead of dollar bills?

Early U.S. Dollar Coins

Dollar coins have had circulation problems since the U.S. Mint started making them in 1794.

Dollar coins in several different designs. The U.S. public still doesn't use them in general circulation.

In the 1970s, Americans had good excuses not to use the dollar coin. Eisenhower dollars (1971-1978) were large and heavy — like the old silver dollars of the 19th and early 20th centuries.


Susan B. Anthony Dollar Troubles

In 1979, the U.S. Mint tried to take the weight off Americans’ backs by producing the smaller, lighter Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979-1981, 1999).

However, the U.S. Mint made a few mistakes when coming up with a revolutionary design for a dollar coin — as seen with the Susan B. Anthony Dollar.

Susan B. Anthony dollar coins are not circulating well in the United States.

The biggest problem with Susan B. Anthony dollars is that they are almost identical in size to the quarter.

Furthermore, because Susan B. Anthony dollars and quarters also are made with reeded edges (those ridges on the edge of some coins) and have the same copper-nickel metal composition, they were often mistaken for each other.

It’s no surprise that the Susan B. Anthony dollar was notoriously dubbed the “Carter Quarter.” (Jimmy Carter, U.S. President from 1977 to 1981, was in the White House during the time the Susan B. Anthony dollar was planned, struck, and later shunned by the public.)

In 1999, the need for dollar coins for vending machines resulted in the re-striking of Susan B. Anthony dollars almost 20 years after the coin was last previously struck.

But even then, the dollar coin still had not found its stride in widespread daily transactions.

Sacagawea Dollar Coins

The public was ecstatic when, in 2000, the U.S. Mint first released the Sacagawea dollar coin (aka the “golden dollar”).

Bearing an image of the Shoshone Native American Sacagawea, the Sacagawea dollar coin was supposed to fix all the problems that were left to fester with the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin.

The Sacagawea dollar coin and the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin

Though the same diameter and weight as the Susan B. Anthony dollar, the Sacagawea dollar is different in other ways:

The Sacagawea dollar coin has:

  • A golden color (it’s not really gold, by the way — it has a copper core with an outer coating of manganese brass.)
  • Smooth edges (unlike the quarter)
  • distinctive rim (which actually feels different in one’s hand than a quarter does, and helps the blind to distinguish the Sacagawea dollar coin from a quarter)

U.S. Dollar Coins Still Have Circulation Problems

So why doesn’t the U.S. dollar coin circulate well today?

The exciting Presidential dollar coin series (2007-2016) was expected to stir more public interest in using the dollar coin. However, the dollar coin barely qualifies as a circulating coin — in the actual sense.

3 U.S. dollar coins (left to right): the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, Sacagawea dollar coin, and Presidential dollar coin.

The situation has officials at the U.S. Mint (and plenty of other people) scratching their heads.

It could be that the public simply sees the dollar coin as a novelty.

Think about it… do you save a dollar coin if you happen to find one in circulation? Or do you spend it, just as you would an ordinary dollar bill?

Many people seem to think of dollar coins as something special. Therefore, most don’t like to spend them.

While the public is not used to seeing dollar coins, they really are nothing “special” or uncommon. Since the 1970s the U.S. Mint has been making hundreds of millions of dollar coins annually for most of the years that dollar coins have been struck for circulation.

Dollar Coins vs. Dollar Bills

It could just be that the most significant reason we do not use dollar coins is that we still have an alternative — the dollar bill — that we are already used to spending on a daily basis.

Should the nation stop producing dollar bills, if for nothing else than to force the public into using dollar coins? No doubt this would do the trick. But would it be a popular move?

That is just what the doctor ordered for our friendly neighbors to the north. In 1987, when the Canadian government first issued the gold-colored Loonie dollar coin (named for the Canadian Loon pictured on the coin), the Canadian dollar bill was removed.

The transition was smooth for Canadians. Now, the Canadians even use a Toonie 2 dollar coin. The use of both these coins was widespread and without controversy.

Here’s some info about collecting Canadian coins.

Will The Dollar Coin Survive?

The U.S. Mint is doing whatever it can to promote the usage of dollar coins in America.

For example, in 2008, the Mint launched a campaign in 4 U.S. cities (Austin, Texas; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; and Charlotte, North Carolina) to encourage the use of the dollar coin in everyday circulation.

In 2009, the U.S. Mint worked with Disney World to give dollar coins in change at their EPCOT and Magic Kingdom parks.

Disney dollar coins

What are the benefits of using dollar coins?

Since they last longer than dollar bills and are recyclable, the U.S. Mint estimates that dollar coins will save our country billions of dollars over time.

Will this campaign (or any others like it) actually work?

Those prospects are doubtful.

Our culture is used to the light, foldable, easy-to-carry dollar bill. Generations of Americans have used the dollar bill, and they have become as much a part of our culture as has the penny (another monetary item that may not have long to live).

Therefore, the only way our nation will ever truly wean itself from its paper dollar fix is to do as our northern neighbors did and rid itself of the dollar bill altogether. This move, though it may sound rash to some, is just what our nation needs to do to make the dollar coin a part of mainstream circulation.

The savings in cost of making those long-living dollar coins versus quick-to-degrade dollar bills just may help relieve some of that national debt we all keep hearing about, too!

Stacks of Sacagawea dollar coins.

More About U.S. Dollar Coins

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105 thoughts on “Why U.S. Dollar Coins Are Not Circulating”

    • Chances are it is not fake. No one fakes the $1 coin because they are uncommon and almost none of them are antiques. You probably have a newer $1 coin with one of those three unique images placed on the back. Search Wikipedia for “Sacagewea dollar” and it will provide you reliable information about the coin. I checked it and confirmed the information myself.

    • Chances are it is not fake. No one fakes the $1 coin because they are uncommon and almost none of them are antiques. You probably have a newer $1 coin with one of those three unique images placed on the back. Search Wikipedia for “Sacagewea dollar” and it will provide you reliable information about the coin. I checked it and confirmed the information myself.

  1. Take a stand. Just do it. For ten years now Ai have done just that. Go to your bank and demand dollar-coins, half-dollar-coins, and two-dollars-bills (pay for them, cent for cent/dollar for dollar, of course). Keep a stock of them at home and restock as needed so that you can use dollar-coins, half-dollar-coins, and two-dollars-federal-reserve-notes in your everyday, cash transactions. ALWAYS avoid dollar-bills; keep your wallet/pocket/purse stocked with adequate numbers and varieties of change. Change includes federal-reserve-notes! Coins are cash, too! Have back-up supplies of cash/change with you and available wherever you go. Don’t be squeemish about explaining to people why you choose to use dollar-coins in place of filthy, wasteful one-dollar-f.r.notes.

  2. I have read a few articles about this today. To say that Americans do not want the coins is bogus. One article I read said banks were sending “large amounts” of the $1 coins back to the feds. I would love to know what banks were doing that. I have accounts and 2 credit unions and 1 state bank in my town, and they have all given me the same song and dance for years. I’m sorry we don’t currently have the dollar coins available. One time they told me the purchase of the rolls was limited to 2 per customer per coin design, and I’m talking the ones that are suppose to be circulated. How does the Federal Government expect Americans to use the coins if we CANT GET ACCESS TO THEM. If they have billions is $1 coins laying around it’s not because Americans don’t wan’t to use them its because the banking system is reluctant and/or discouraging the use of the coins. 🙁

  3. I love dollar coins except for the SBA coins because of their almost exact look/feel to the quarter, but otherwise I use dollar coins in every transaction where it makes sense to use a dollar. I’m also a fan of the two dollar bill and use that just as regularly. Half-Dollars I use on occasion, but not often.

    The last picture in this article showing the three coins is great. I think those designs, obtuse and reverse (Apollo logo, soaring Bald Eagle, Statute of Liberty), of each coin should be the “dollar coin standard” in terms of design. It honors the legacy of the dollar coin and bridges generations that can appreciate at least one of the designs.

    I think pulling the current SBA from circulation should be done as so few use them. Reissue SBAs using the current golden dollar format, stop printing dollar bills, and as existing bills wear out, gradually pull them from circulation by replacing them with coins.

    Switching to coins has worked for many other countries, but America always seems to have an aversion to change…pun intended.

  4. I was hoping to purchase about 150 dollar coins for a wedding gift to be different and put it in a treasure chest but after going to the bank this morning, it appears impossible to even get 1. They don’t carry them and I can’t even order them, not even with a minimum. Any they get in the coin counter machine goes right to the armored cars when they are picked up so I can’t even buy regular coins in circulation. Is there any advice as to where I might find these coins without paying a “collector’s” premium?
    Thank you

    • Have you tried going to another bank or asking a friend if they can try doing so at theirs? Unfortunately it can be difficult to pick up either dollar coins or half dollars at banks, but persistence will pay off. Good luck!

    • How often do you carry dozens of $1 bills? And anyway, countries that have successfully introduced $1 coins also have widely-circulating $2 coins or bills. I’ve been to 7 of them and you never get the much-feared “fistful of dollar coins” in change. Merchants and banks hand you a $2 coin/bill instead of two $1 coins.

  5. Coins are minted by the mint. Bills are notes printed by the reserve. When the shit finally hits the fan, only the coins will be legal tender. Know the difference, and be ready.

    • Coins are shiny metal. Paper or shiny things, when shit hits the fan the only thing that’ll be worth anything are usable basic supplies – mostly food & clean water. If you’re close starving to death, do you prefer to have a gold bar or a pound of rice? It’s not insane to think in a desperate situation someone would make that trade.

  6. I just wish, if they MUST make $1 coins, that they would be made of Nickel, and/or Copper, something tangible and that has worth! A Copper dollar would be easily distinguishable, and maybe only worth let’s say .10 or .15 cents right now, but 20 years from now, it might be worth a dollar, see? 🙂

    • ??? $1 coins are already made of over 88% copper. The manganese-brass outer layer is to (a) make it easy to distinguish and (b) follow the centuries-old practice of making higher-value coins from a gold-colored metal. As the article noted, brass-colored $1 coins work seamlessly in Canada; it’s also the case in Australia.
      P.S. “.10 cents” is 1/10 of a cent.

  7. Place a “sale” on the dollar coins at banks. Sell them to the public at 95 cents on the dollar, but make the number you can buy limited to 500 and make it so banks only will take a maximum of 100 at a time. This attracts your average joe trying to save a buck into buying them for personal use, but deters your average joe from buying 10k of them and turning them back into a bank for a decent profit.

    • Sorry, but that’s stupid. “Let’s sell legal currency for 95% of its value, but put limits on it! No one will find a way around that!” Multiple bank accounts, different branches, you name it, there will be people running from bank to bank turning 10,000 into 10,500 every morning.

      You can’t limit how many banks can accept at a time. Legal currency has to be accepted no matter what. The kid at Starbucks might get pissed off if you pay in pennies, but it’s legal tender and he’s going to take it. An exception is for large bills if change is not available.

      Just stop making the dollar bill and we’ll be fine, it’s hardly worth anything as is – not to mention that almost everything is being done with credit/debit now anyway. The only people that will suffer are the ancients (You know, that one old lady you’re always behind at the grocery store who still insists that a check is a convenient form of payment).

  8. Thi article is idiotic…the question is why isnt the banks supplying the dollar coins to public ?
    I have been trying to get my hands on the dollar coins for months, I have repeatedly asked several banks near me , they dont have and they do not want to order them…
    Why does tHe mint make them and store them in warhouses ?

    • uh… unless they started making them again, the coins haven’t been stamped for circulation in about 4 years now. I think they pulled the plug for those in 2011 and instead went w/ the collectors only making process.

      Its got to be a local problem as far as you not finding them since I can find them w/ no trouble.

          • ha ha ha that is very specific answer…where is around here ??
            what city are you referring to ?? Around Houston I have tried to get few rolls from many banks and different branches but no luck..not interested in ordering them for me either..

          • Bank stocks will very by location. If you live where more people like using them the banks will keep them when they get them, else they’ll pay transit costs to exchange them with the reserve for bills because the bank looses money if hundreds of dollars sit idle in a drawer waiting for you when banks might go a month without anyone at all wanting them. The US mint used to sell them to anyone for their flat value, but people started using it as a free money option, collecting credit card “cash back” off the “purchase” so nowadays depending on how many you get at once it can cost somewhere 10-30% more then face value. Banks may or may not be willing to pay this cost if you request them. (OK, they might get a discount since it might just be shipping to them, what do I know?) In any case if folks regularly rake their cash withdraws in dollar coins, or if local businesses often request rolls of them to give as change then in turn the local banks will learn to keep a supply on hand to give. In short it has to do with the mindset you foster in your community more so then it does with location. I feel your pain though, I just went to my bank and found they only had $15 of dollar coins, not even a roll as I understand it. = In any case, hope this helps.

        • I have a boss who loves the dollar coins himself. I have had some luck at Frost Bank. You might call a nearby branch and see if they will order them for you.

      • Order them? Try going to a vending machine with some dollar bills. Insert them, and hit the “coin return” button. There’s a good chance you’ll get dollar coins back. All of the vending machines where I work make change using dollar coins if you’re owed that much change.

    • I got mine at a car wash change machine. I inserted 20 dollar bill and got a handful of dollar coins in return and Im hoarding them ! Kids dont even want to spend them. So yes they arent in circulation cause people are keeping them

  9. A very important word is missing in the article; seigniorage, and it explains why banks do not want dollar coins to circulate. The people and the government benefit from the seigniorage on coins; banks benefit from the seigniorage on paper currency.

    • Hello, Charles —

      There are multiple factors involved that aren’t touched on in this article principally due to space; another that also isn’t mentioned but could surely deserve its own post is the politics on Capitol Hill. A third factor has to do with the many (and perhaps “most”) in the general public refusing to give up their paper dollars for dollar coins.

      So, yes, true that seigniorage is a major factor, but there are many others also that, unfortunately, have dogged this issue for many years now.


  10. The only reason Americans don’t use the Dollar coin is because they keep printing the bills.

    Human’s are creatures of habit and we break one to create another. Just take the bills out of circulation. Simple really.

    • Dollar bills have a strong constituency in the form of Crane Paper, the company that makes the special “paper” they’re printed on. Almost half of all bills are Ones so Crane stands to lose a lot of business if the One is retired. Every time anyone submits legislation, Crane sends an army of lobbyists to Washington to defend their monopoly. Congress has even passed a law forbidding ANY change to the One.

  11. I was OK with the dollar coin — until they took the date and mint mark off of the face and moved them to the edge. Now, they’re just non-collectible “Chuck E Cheese” tokens as far as I’m concerned, and I have no interest in assisting the government’s promotion of these things as money.

    I wonder what “genius” decided to hide the date and mint mark.

    • Interestingly, the date and mintmark inscriptions, etc., were moved to the edge to provide more canvas space on the coin for designs. Many mints around the world have moved such inscriptions to the edge for this purpose, and in fact the U.S. Mint has inscribed mottos, denominations, and other inscriptions on the edge of some coins since 1793.

      • Yes, but the problem with that is that you now have to hunt for it…Stan is correct, it has turned the coinage into so much “token” money. While the mint has had inscriptions on the edges, they didn’t put the DATE on the edges until very recently…and the date and mintmark is what makes coins collectable.

        Make no mistake: while the official explanation has been the extra space, the real reason is to prevent these coins from being collected…and many mints, the US being one of them, have been openly hostile to collecting for many decades.

  12. The only thing I would disagree with in this article is that we will never use them because cash is so much lighter. Everybody uses credit cards and debit cards now. I don’t know anybody that walks around with more than about 5 dollars in cash and if they could make the coins smaller and lighter, I bet they would catch on. One thing that would help is to round everything up to the nearest nickle value at retail and eliminate the penny. It makes more sense to have paper penny notes for interest payments than it does to have paper ones, fives, and tens.

  13. In Canada we have a simple solution. If you wan’t to introduce a new currency, withdrawal the old currency at the same pace as you introduce new currency. Within a year or two , the old currency is out of general circulation. Or in the case of the use less penny, just get rid of it all together and round down for 2 cents or less and up for 3 cents to the nearest nickel.

    This will not work in the USA, as US politicians consider personal freedom and public opinion far greater than the public good, and you need a law pass in the USA for every trivial thing, that should be part of a department operations. If it cost less money, and the positive impacts outweighs any negative impacts, we just do it.

    It may all be a mute point someday, as we are heading towards a cashless society. We are practically there in Canada, and I was pleasantly surprised that my Canadian (PIN, no MC/Visa symbol) worked in a majority of places in the USA.

    PS: The same principles applies to US Metrication of the US Public.

    • Frcan,

      In the last 30 years, Canada has handled the penny problem, introduced a dollar coin, and changed the compositions of its other circulating coins. Clearly these are issues that can be solved, but there needs to be more supportive, efficient governmental action on the matter with an eye toward the greater good rather than constituents and lobbyists.


      • Very true, Josh. Crane Paper is the monopoly source for US banknote paper, and they send their lobbyists into overdrive any time there’s a proposal to phase out $1 bills. Savings from using $1 and $2 coins instead of bills would cover decades of severance payments for any Crane employees with hundreds of millions left over, but that’s not how the politicians see things.

    • Very true about metrication, too. The fact that the US is now the only officially non-metric country means we’re wasting something like US$75 billion a year in inefficiencies, lost exports, etc. The problem is that for many US residents it’s actually a point of pride to be using a system handed to us hundreds of years ago by the King.

      Yes, there would be some speed bumps during the conversion period but as shown by your country, New Zealand, Australia, and others it CAN be done successfully. After that, everything is smooth sailing.

      P.S. nitpick, but did you mean “moot” point?

    • Agreed, there is too much law in American politics on issues that simply should be politics of a democracy. I am flabbergasted by the fact that a simple judge can stop the elected president from implementing the politics he obviously was elected on.

      • Yes, but it’s part of our system of checks and balances. The Founders built a co-equal judiciary to counter the other two branches. That’s not to say there hasn’t been tons of judicial overreach too, but the judiciary has acted as a brake on many presidents, including some of our greatest, who pushed the limits of their power. Read up on FDR’s court-packing scheme, for example.

        Eventually these disputes work their way out, but it takes time and negotiations. That slow process is one of the genius attributes of the Constitution because it prevents huge swings of policy.

        • I disagree, in my opinion, your system counters democracy itself. A president is elected precisely because of the politics he or she promises to pursue. And when a lowly judge can freely override the politics of an elected president, that is nothing short of overriding democracy itself.

          • I too have a lot of problems with some aspects of our governmental system, but one of its strengths and weaknesses is the unusual extent to which the Constitution allows each of the three branches to constrain the others. It’s true that presidents and parties win on the basis of the policies they propose but those policies have to pass legal muster and can’t be implemented unilaterally. That’s why judges are empowered to say “hold on a minute” so that a questionable policy can be reviewed. Can it cause temporary uncertainty and even instability? Yes, but it also means neither the executive nor the legislative branch can act without review, nor can there be an uncontrolled “tyranny of the majority”. And regardless, these cases don’t stop with a lower-level judge; they work their way up through the government, sometimes resulting in formal legislation or a decision from the Supreme Court that accepts or reverses them.

            Granted these complexities can seem strange and quite possibly burdensome compared to how many other governmental systems work. However over time they’ve tended (not always, but often) to damp out some of the excesses that might otherwise have accompanied changes in administrations. At least till recently, the system of checks and balances has helped nudge governments a bit more to the political center than might otherwise be the case. It’s far from a perfect system but given current concerns over just how much power a president and legislature can exercise, many of us are cherishing John Adams’ concept of a “government based on laws, not on men”.

            And FWIW, I’m not sure how many low-level details of the US election process you’re familiar with, but the recent election turned on a number of non-Constitutional (as opposed to unconstitutional) conditions that gave power to a single party despite a nearly even vote split and two diametrically-opposed sets of electoral will. Unlike a parliamentary system there is no need for or even possibility of formal coalitions, so we end up with an effective winner-take-all result. Hence the need for a different “foot on the brake” in the form of judicial checks and balances.

            (My apologies for a somewhat dissertation-like and non-numismatic exposition, but my family includes a historian, a government major, and a political science major. Sometimes it feels as if I’ve bathed in this stuff!)

          • In my opinion, you should burn the entire declaration of independence because of the legal implications it represents to democracy.

            Again, I think it is appalling that a lowly judge can stop an elected president from fulfilling his elected politics.

          • The Declaration of Independence has no legal status in the US.

            “Democracy” is bad.

            But yes, I agree with you that it’s ridiculous that a single judge can override the President, especially on one of his specifically enumerated powers.

          • Thank you for correcting me. I thought the Declaration of Independence had a vital legal impact in the United States.That does not change my view on the legal treatment of the elected president, though.

          • The DOI doesn’t have any legal impact in the US. It’s the justification for why the colonies rebelled, but beyond that, it has no legal status. The Constitution is the document upon which our legal system is founded.

            On that note, the idea that the Supreme Court is the “final word” isn’t what the founders intended, either. The branches are supposed to be co-equal. One isn’t “the final word”, but, for political power, the SC has usurped that.

          • Hammond Ecks, I view that as a weakness of your system, as it hampers the politics of your system. In my opinion, politics should never be decided by a judge. And in my opinion, you should burn whatever it is that makes a lowly judge capable of overriding the politics of your elected president. On the other hand, though, that is just my opinion.

          • But I have to say again, the final decision on a law or policy in the US does NOT rest with any single lower-court judge. The Constitution, which is the foundation of our legal system (rather than the Declaration of Independence, which has no force of law) sets out a system where the actions of one branch can be appealed to the others with the ultimate decision being in the hands of the legislature and/or the Supreme Court, both of which require a majority of their members to make final policy.

            The Constitution’s framers had grown up under a powerful monarchy and saw what happens when one individual exercises almost complete control. They intentionally built in constraints on the powers of each branch – especially on the president – to prevent any single person from making policy. Yes, it creates a frustrating diffusion of power where it can be difficult to take broad actions quickly but it also prevents many excesses. We’ve had a lot of times where the “will of the people” ran counter to law or morality (slavery, restricted voting rights, internment of Americans of enemy descent during wartime, etc.). It sometimes took years to settle those debates but the eventual resolutions came down on the side of greater freedom, not less.

            Also, in the case of our most recent election, without trying to start a new thread it’s important to remember that Trump doesn’t represent a majority of the voting population. Only 25-26% of eligible citizens voted for him, he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million, and he was in effect selected by the Electoral College. There isn’t a true electoral mandate nor is it clear that popular opinion is behind him. I WILL strongly agree that the so-called “institution” of the EC should be eliminated because it runs counter to the fundamental principle of one person, one vote. However the EC is being protected by those who benefit from its existence, so for the foreseeable future we have to hope other checks and balances will counter its worst effects.

            Is our system flawed? Absolutely and even more so given the current level of polarization – but the alternative of an all-powerful chief executive would be even more unstable.

  14. Big reason I don’t prefer coins is they’re harder to carry around. I have a wallet with a place for paper currency and slots for credit cards, but nowhere to put coins. My husband carries coins loose in his pocket, but most women’s clothing does not have pockets. Last time we travelled in Canada I found the loonies very annoying for the reason of being inconvenient to carry around.

    • Hello, Gail —

      Yes, your comments reflect the sentiments of a very large percentage of the U.S. population. This is one reason we are still rather tied up on the issue and haven’t found a perfect solution for American consumers.


  15. Generally speaking, coins do not circulate in this country as much as bills. It’s not so much that people get a dollar coin and save it because it’s a novelty (although some do), it’s because Americans get coins in their change and throw them into jars when they get home, not to be seen in circulation again until such a time as the jar gets full, or the owner of the coins gets low enough on money to need to raid the change jar.

    Yes, we also have the dollar bills. I, personally, would prefer to see retailers stocking half dollars and $2 bills in their tills. Handing out multiple quarters is just silly, when we have a perfectly usable and still produced 50¢ coin. As is handing out multiple ones when twos are available.

    Replacing the $1 bill with a coin will probably lead to increased demand for the $2 bill, I suspect. That’s another thing; every country that has a successful $1 (or equivalent) coin also has a widely circulating $2 (or equivalent) denomination. But most retailers here refuse to stock them—darned if I know why, though.

      • To add to what I wrote yesterday. Why is the fate of American coinage to be stashed in a jug until it’s full enough to take to a bank? Why are people actually willing to pay companies like Coinstar a fee to count their money for them?

        I think a big part of the reason we let coins build up in jugs over time, instead of using them as part of our daily commercial transactions, is the fact that retailers in this country are allowed to lie about the price of goods and services. That bottle of Pepsi advertised at $1.89 actually rings up to $2.04 at the register here in Maine (because they add a 10¢ tax and 5¢ deposit at the till).

        Not knowing ahead of time what the exact price will be means you can’t get your coins ready ahead of time unless you know the tax rate, and either are good at mental arithmetic or have a calculator on hand. I think this is why people don’t spend the coins they get. The system is more conducive to overpaying and then getting change back than it is to paying the correct amount.

        Granted, this applies to cents more than it does to dollars, but I think it explains why coins sit idle so much more than bills do.

        • That is a good point. In Europe, the price tag always reflect what you actually have to pay at the register, taxes included. And they have big chains too, often spanning multiple countries with widely different tax schemes. Yet, they always manage to make the price tags, in a vast range of different tax jurisdictions, reflect what you actually have to pay at register. It is not really that hard to do either, as they obviously know exactly what taxes to add at the register.

    • Every country that has a successful $1 or equivalent coin has forced the public to accept it by removing the equivalent bill from circulation and/or stopped producing the paper version.

  16. I think the only way Americans will accept the elimination of dollar bills for dollar coins is if production of $2 bills is exponentially increased so they circulate as much as $5s, $10s, or $20s. That would eliminate the “pocket full of change” people dislike. I spend change I get, so that’s not a problem with me but I realize it’s annoying to many. After a few years, then I think a $2 coin should be produced to circulate along side the $2 bill before the $2 bill is eliminated. A smaller 50-cent coin would also be welcome. Traveling in Australia and Europe, I was never bothered by 1 & 2 dollar/euro coins. However, I didn’t like the Australian 50 cent coin, which is 12- or 15-sided and about as big as the US half dollar.

          • Exactly, Judy… As for why one coin catches on in one country and one of a similar denomination won’t in another, that involves everything from local culture and economic dynamics to the availability of other circulating pieces. For example, the dollar coin in the United States won’t stand a chance unless the government ends production of dollar bills. But those are just my two cents.

  17. I think a bigger issue is the penny.
    The penny costs more than 2.5 times it’s worth to make.
    may i suggest, change the stamp on them to 2.5 cents.
    keep circulating pennys, but only manufacture them on alternate years.

    • Pennies (rather than “pennys”) actually cost about 1.5 to 1.7 cents to make, rather than 2.5¢. Changing the value arbitrarily would create a fiscal nightmare given the oceans of pennies out there that were acquired at 1 cent each, and in any case we haven’t used fractional cents in over 150 years.

      Better to find a cheaper metal, or do what lots of other countries have successfully done and stop making the $%#! things. I’ve seen estimates of how many pennies sit in jars, bags, piggy banks, etc. If people still want to use the coins those stashes would be a good place to start looking.

      • They’re actually “cents.” The US has never made “pennies.”

        But yes, it’s time to stop making them. They have inflated their way out of usefulness. 2009 would have been a great year to end them, but alas…

        • I usually try to be careful but confess to giving in to popular usage, especially on comment boards where not everyone is a coin expert. The use of “penny” has hung around since the days of large cents, of course, because of the similarity in size and usage to the old British 1d coin they were (roughly) based on. It’s a bit like saying “dial” a telephone even though most phones haven’t had dials in 50 years or so.

          I too thought 2009 would be a good year to end the cent – 100 (OK, really 101) years of Lincoln corresponding to 100 cents in a dollar. But the way things are going our grandchildren will still be getting the useless little coins in change.

        • No. Just make less… then the old ones that people have in jars in their house will HAVE to recirculate. There, I solved it!

    • Hi, Mel —

      This is an issue that will still take more than a generation of dedicated effort to thoroughly resolve, but I think the social and political environment is the most conducive in history to seeing these changes continue, and I’m pretty positive they will!

      Best wishes,

    • Why? In the name of “diversity” or “equality”? Why not just honor people who have done great things for the nation, regardless of their gender?

      Putting more women on currency just because they are women is the flip side of the same discrimination of NOT putting them on because they are women. It’s still discrimination.

  18. The biggest problem is that the low end is too low…very few things cost less than $1 today…and the high end isn’t high enough. However, the US Gov’t is adamantly opposed to changing either. The “drug money!!” complaint about large bills is legitimate, but not enough to change the fact that higher than $100 denominations are now necessary because of inflation, and lower than a dollar coins aren’t *really* necessary.

  19. I knew it was a joke, too – that’s why I said I need to do some on-site investigation, ha! (Actually I had another idea about placing the coins but this is a family board)

  20. 10 one dollar bills in my wallet weigh virtually nothing. 10 one dollar coins in my pocket are heavy and distort the line of the pocket. When in Canada I dislike the dollar coins we are forced to use. Why not go to some kind of plastic polymer paper for one dollar bills — my understanding is that these will last longer.

  21. If they were willing to make a resized dollar coin, that would be acceptable. Make one the size of a nickel with the thickness of a dime and I’d be willing to use them. Sized bigger and heavier than a quarter it’s not practical to carry them around. They weigh and size 20 times that of the dollar bill.

    • No offense intended, but this is exactly why the U.S. just needs to remove the dollar bills from circulation, rather than trying to have a hundred million one-off negotiations with each person over what he or she finds objectionable.

      American currency is almost unique in the developed world in that our paper money is utterly indistinguishable to the visually impaired, and we roll with it. That we indulge the preferences of people to carry slightly less weight (since virtually no one is carrying piles of individual dollars around anyway) is a bit of pandering. The bills cost us a fortune to create and maintain. The coins would save a lot of money. That’s enough reason to just do it.

  22. I like to use the dollar coins. But banks in my area refuse to have them on hand. And when they do get them, they don’t recirculate them. Instead they package them and send them out somewhere .

  23. If you wondered where they all are, go to Ecuador. They use US currency, but the dollar bill is not accepted by merchants…they will only take dollar coins, and there seems to be millions of them down there.

  24. Another interesting topic is why the $2 bill has never caught on. I like to get them from the bank and get interesting looks when I spend them. By contrast, Canada had the $2 bill since well before the Toonie, and it was very popular and in wide circulation.

  25. I see that they are selling Hubble Telescope dollar coins, for more than a dollar a piece. Are these type of coins worth buying? Perhaps since Hubble will be going away will it make it worth it?

    • Hi, Helio —

      It’s challenging to speculate on the future values of coins; there are never any guarantees with how the market will swing down the pike. Involving tertiary factors, such as interest in a subject portrayed on a coin, makes it even more of a wild card. I wish you the best of luck!


  26. Would love to use the dollar coin for the transit buses and laundry. Called around to every bank in my area and none of them have any. Availability seems to be the issue.

    • Yes, and I’m surprised that they are made more available to the public so they can be spent!

      Hopefully that situation changes soon…

      Thank you for your note,


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