A Conversation for Change for a US Dollar for Dummies: Higher Lower Mathematics

It's long past time to cull some of our (US) coins and paper currency

Post 1

Baron Grim

One of my pet soap-box issues is the mess our currency and coinage is in these days. Inflation has made most of our smaller coins worth less than the metals they're stamped on. (Also note, none are made from even semiprecious metals these days but rather cheap alloys and they still are worth more in scrap than in denomination.) We're also long overdue to stop printing $1 bills. Paper bills have short useful lifespans with the $1 bill being the shortest. (I've found estimates of 6-18 months. I just don't believe the Federal Reserves own website estimate of 6.6 years. That must be under pretty unique conditions. I once knew a bank teller who was responsible for culling bills and her estimates were much shorter.) The simple truth is the US Reserve spends a LOT of money replacing money. Coins have useful lifespans of decades rather than years, of course.

I would prefer we end the printing of paper $1 bills, and also end stamping 1¢ pennies and 5¢ nickels. They're really of no useful value anymore. I argued with one fellow about who hated my ideas. He said he didn't want to carry so much loose change in his pocket as he thought spending $1 coins would be unwieldy. He was nearly my age, so I asked him how he felt about buying candy with a quarter (25¢) when he was a kid and getting change back. Now a $1 bill will likely not cover even a candy bar (which itself has probably shrunk since then). The dollars of the '70s are worth less than the quarters of today. (A quarter in 1977, when Star Wars hit the theaters, is worth $1.10 today.)

And yet almost no one uses our new dollar coins today (other than Vegas, toll roads, and the US Post Office).

Also, I really wish they had made the new dollar coins a different size. When the Susan B. Anthony dollar was first circulated, it caused a backlash because it was so similar to the quarter in size and feel. The new Sacagawea are the exact same size but only a different color and lack the milling (ridges) around the edge. The lack of milling does help a bit, but people still hate using them as they fear confusing them for quarters. I like how the pound coin is a much different thickness than other UK coins, no confusion. Until the US Mint stops printing paper dollars, folks won't start using the coins.

I know it's a futile wish. USAians are a stubborn lot, but not very practical in such matters.


It's long past time to cull some of our (US) coins and paper currency

Post 2

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

Those are all great ideas. smiley - smiley Thank you for that cogent summary. smiley - ok

As someone who's used a variety of currencies, I'd say yes, we're past due for an overhaul. Perhaps if people realised the coins and bills they take for granted weren't always like that, they'd change their tune?

I wonder: would you be up for writing an entry on some aspect of the history of US currency?


It's long past time to cull some of our (US) coins and paper currency

Post 3

Baron Grim

Yeah, the US had a half cent until 1857. Also, "In God We Trust" is a fairly recent addition to our currency. And many bills were issued by regional banks, like the silver and gold certificates issued by the Bank of Houston a couple of colorful old Czechs pulled out of their pockets to show us at their deer lease in New Ulm, Texas back in the '80s.

I don't know about writing an article, but I might contribute to one.


It's long past time to cull some of our (US) coins and paper currency

Post 4

Bluebottle

Back well over a decade ago when I worked in a bank and handled foreign currency, I'm afraid the US currency was always among the least interesting – though not the worst offender it seemed cheaply made and flimsy compared with other countries' coins and the paper money very monochrome. Mind you, that was in the days when Australia was leading the way with its polymer banknotes – it took well over a decade for the UK to catch up.

<BB<


It's long past time to cull some of our (US) coins and paper currency

Post 5

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

I'm not a currency specialist, and I've always dreaded tackling the subject because of the magic words 'national bank'. You know, as in Andrew Jackson...smiley - headhurts...but a group effort could be rewarding. smiley - huh

If Florida Sailor's around, maybe we could pool efforts? smiley - bigeyes




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