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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 33, August 15, 2010, Article 21

BBC ARTICLE ON THE UNUSED U.S DOLLAR COINS

Alan Luedeking forwarded this article from the BBC News. It's about the unused dollar coins that are piling up in storage (I still say, "ship 'em to Zimbabwe!") E-Sylum regulars Tom DeLorey and Dave Lange are quoted. Someday the government will get the message - drop the paper dollar. Until then, these coins will only be wasted. -Editor

Dollar Coins In hidden vaults across the country, the US government is building a stockpile of $1 coins. The hoard has topped $1.1bn - imagine a stack of coins reaching almost seven times higher than the International Space Station - and the piles have grown so large the US Federal Reserve is running out of storage space.

Americans won't use the coins, preferring $1 notes. But the US keeps minting them anyway, and the Fed estimates it already has enough $1 coins to last the next 10 years.

And at the current rate, the inventory will grow to $2bn (1.3bn) by 2016, the Fed estimates.

The coins began to pile up in 2007 when a law went into effect creating a new series of $1 coins commemorating dead US presidents.

Congress passed the law creating the coins despite evidence that Americans never liked the $1 coin in the past.

Since the presidential coin programme began, the US government has spent an additional $30m to promote them but they still have not taken hold.

"We have tried every major idea that we can come up with, with limited success," US Mint Director Edmund Moy told a congressional panel last month.

And even some coin collectors dislike them.

"We've had any number of people over the years complain about receiving a dollar coin," says Tom DeLorey, a Chicago coin dealer.

Until the US phases out the $1 note or stops minting the coins, they will keep piling up in the vaults.

"People will grumble and [the coins] will be unpopular for a few months but then they'll get used to it," says David Lange, director of research for the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, a service for coin collectors.

"It's that simple."

Or, in the bureaucratic language of Congress' investigative arm: "The most substantial barrier is the current widespread use of the dollar bill in everyday transactions."

To read the complete article, see: Why the US keeps minting coins people hate and won't use (www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10783019)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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