You are here

Will U.S. dollar coins build acceptance of monetary debasement?

Section: Daily Dispatches

1p ET Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

While replacing the U.S. dollar bill with dollar coins would be more efficient for the Treasury Department, and while there is plenty of precedent in other countries for it (in Canada and the European Union the smallest paper currency note is for five of the basic currency units), gold and silver sympathizers probably can't help wondering if there might not be more to it in the United States.

For as the numismatist quoted in the Newark Star-Ledger story appended here remarks about the new U.S. dollar coins, "If the new dollar coins are going to win, then dollar bills will have to lose." With dollar coins, won't U.S. citizens be more accepting of the debasement of their currency? For then five-dollar bills may come to seem like the old one-dollar bills; dollar coins may come to seem like the old quarters; quarters may come to seem like dimes; and dimes, nickels, and pennies may seem too petty to bother with anymore.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

* * *

Will Americans Use
New Dollar Coins?

By Joseph Bakes
The Star-Ledger, Newark, New Jersey
Sunday, February 18, 2007

The U.S. Mint put the first of its presidential dollars into circulation Thursday -- at least the government hopes the new George Washington coins will go into circulation and not join Sacagawea and Susan B. Anthony dollar coins in coffee cans, dresser drawers and storage warehouses.

The president of the Professional Numismatists Guild is skeptical that people will take to dollar coins unless the dollar bill is retired. While not advocating the discontinuation of the paper dollar, he cites past experience here and the experience of other Western nations in making his point.

"We would like to see the presidential dollars in circulation everywhere, but the Treasury Department is still printing more than 15 million $1 bills every day, so there's no compelling reason for the public to use the dollar coins in commerce," said Jeff C. Garrett, president of the PNG, a nonprofit organization that has among its members many experts on rare coins and paper money.

Garrett, who is president of Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries in Lexington, Ky., noted that other countries have replaced the equivalent of the paper dollar with a coin, such as Canada's "Loonie." The smallest denomination of bills in the European Union is five euros.

"If the new dollar coins are going to win, then dollar bills will have to lose," he said.

The stated intention of Congress and the Treasury Department is for the new coins to be used like quarters, dime and nickels -- to pay for goods and services across the counter and in vending machines. Why this would happen now when it hasn't happened with previous dollar coins remains a mystery.

Of course serious and casual collectors are excited about the new series of coins, which will be issued at the rate of four per year until all the deceased former presidents have been honored in the order in which they served. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison will follow in 2007. New Jersey-born Grover Cleveland will be on two coins, since he served non-consecutive terms in the White House.

The new coins will be slightly larger than the quarter, which also has Washington's image on the obverse, and will be "golden" like the Sacagawea dollar. The Statue of Liberty is on the reverse. For the first time since the 1930s, there will be inscriptions -- "E Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust" -- inscribed on the edge of the coins.

The new coins should be available immediately in banks. They can be purchased from the Mint in bags of 250 for $319.95 and rolls of 25 for $35.95.

The Mint has prepared a number of educational programs for use in conjunction with the new coins. For more information, go online at$1coin or call (800) USA-MINT.

* * *

Help Keep GATA Going

GATA is a civil rights and educational organization based in the United States and tax-exempt under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Its e-mail dispatches are free, and you can subscribe at GATA is grateful for financial contributions, which are federally tax-deductible in the United States.