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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 43, October 25, 2009, Article 14

QUERY: COINS AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY

GloboNews logo Being a blogger is all is takes to turn someone into an expert. I was contacted Thursday by a television reporter seeking to interview me about coins and the American economy. The Washington, D.C. area being what it is, the reporter turns out to be the U.S. correspondent for GloboNews, a Brazilian station in Rio de Janeiro.

Reporter Raquel Krahenbuhl wrote:

"I am doing a story on the current condition of coins (penny, nickel, dime, quarter) currency in the United States, and the importance those coins for the American economy.

The story is getting attention in Brazil because coins are being used less and less in the marketplace due to usage of credit and debit cards. Now the Brazilian government is planning to launch a campaign to promote usage of coins."

She offered to come to my workplace for a 10-minute interview, so I agreed. Friday's scheduling didn't work out, but Raquel and her cameraman will show up Monday morning. That will be too late to many E-Sylum readers to help out, but if you have any thoughts or anecdotes to share I'd appreciate hearing them. And for our readers in Brasil (do we have any?), look for the interview this week on GloboNews. If it ends up on the web I'll post a link.

We've discussed some of these topics before. I'd say that there is a gradual trend toward less use of coinage, but I think the change is slower in the U.S. than in other parts of the world. In Asia you can use your cell phone to pay at vending machines, for example. Not here. Most parking meters take quarters, not ATM cards.

The economic downturn has led to a lower demand for coinage (and lower production from the U.S. Mint), but this will bounce back. I think coins will be with us in the U.S. for some time to come, although the lower denominations (cent, and even the five-cent) are endangered, with a worldwide trend toward the elimination of the smallest denominations due to inflation and rising metal prices.

Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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