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Viewpoint: Compromise on Dollar, Cent Use
By Michael Reczkowski, Numismatic News
September 19, 2013

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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There has been much talk among the readers of Numismatic News about what to do with the cent, nickel, dollar coin and dollar bill. As each of these denominations has its own constituencies, I thought I would attempt a grand compromise in which all parties sacrifice something but no party loses entirely.

The Presidential dollar coin program will most likely end in 2016 with the issuance of the Reagan dollar, so let’s use that as a starting point.

I propose making 2016 the last year for both the cent and dollar bill. Starting in 2017, begin circulation of a new Lincoln dollar coin using the current Victor D. Brenner portrait of Abraham Lincoln.

The reverse of the coin may either be an appropriately modified continuation of the current Union Shield design from the cent or of a new device emblematic of the United States, but on a Lincoln dollar.

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I feel this should cover the bad politics, which normally accompanies calls for the elimination of the Lincoln cent. Although his cent will be gone, billions of dollar coins bearing Lincoln’s likeness will soon replace them annually.

The remaining cents need not be recalled. Banks may continue to circulate the coins and make them available for those who wish to use them while everyone else may round their transactions (or prices) down or up to the nearest five cents.

As for Jarden Zinc, manufacturer of the cent blanks and most likely to lobby to oppose the coin’s elimination, I would suggest an alteration to the 5-cent pice’s composition. The coin could be made using zinc cores sandwiched between think layers of the current curpronickel alloy. I’m hoping this will allow Jarden Zinc to retain enough business with the U.S. government to withdraw its objections in addition to creating a nickel that may cost less than 5 cents to produce and distribute.

The Crane Paper Company, the exclusive provider of U.S. currency paper, is a significant lobby against the elimination of the $1 bill. The issuance of a dollar coin, however, should bring about a resurrection of the $2 bill in commerce. By making them aware of the $2 bill’s likely increased presence, this might allow Crane, like Jarden, to retain enough business with the U.S. government to overcome their opposition to the idea.

As for the political consequences of losing Washington on the $1 bill, I would first suggest updating the $2 bill’s appearance to bring it in line with the large, off-center portraits used for the $5-$100 bills and then replacing Jefferson’s portrait with that of Washington’s.

On the back of the note, instead of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, use a depiction of Mount Rushmore. That way, Jefferson still remains prominent on the $2 bill, covering that lobby as well.

And for the people, they can now have wallets full of lightweight $2 bills rather than pockets laden with “heavy” dollar coins as no more than one dollar coin would ever be needed for change in any given transaction.

Is that fair enough to all? Should we be writing our representatives in Congress?

This “Viewpoint” was written by Michael Reczkowski of Lodi, N.J.

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On September 20, 2013 Coins and Moore said
I like that you are trying to make everybody happy, but I much prefer to do what is best for the people and not bow to lobby groups. I wish a law against lobbying in general would be passed and then maybe politicians would pay more attention to their constituents than to lobbyists. Zinc is a horrible metal to have in coins because it oxidizes so easily. How about coins made of stainless steel? They would be cheap enough to make and would last a very long time. Aluminum would hold up better than zinc and is not magnetic.
On September 20, 2013 Clifford Johnson said
There's far more politics in changing from dollar bills to coins than you report. Whenever the Treasury mints a $1 coin, it gains $1 minus the production cost--just as the Federal Reserve now garnishes $1 in assets for every $1 bill it issues, minus the printing cost.  The transfer of these face-value profits in issuing all $1 denominations, from the Federal Reserve to the Treasury, will result in gains VASTLY in excess of those reported by the GAO, which are taken as true by the proponents of S. 1105.  In other words, the case for the change to a $1 coin is FAR stronger than that which is being made by the bill's sponsors and advocates.  In particular, there will be prompt multi-billion dollar gains, rather than the predicted start-up losses.

The difference is the subject of a lawsuit seeking findings of misrepresentation against the Treasury and GAO, now pending in the Ninth Circuit.  See the articles "How The One Dollar Coin Can Cure The Economy" at, and "Federal Court Affirms Sweeping 'Bully Pulpit' Government Right to Lie," at
On September 21, 2013 Mercury said
IMHO this is an exceptional compromise. Write this up just as it reads and get the needed signatures or the backing of a Congressmen and I can?t see any problem with this plan being enacted upon by 2017. You?re a genius Michael; I wish I had thought of it.
On September 22, 2013 Frank said
One suggestion: instead of changing the reverse of two dollar bill, just replace Kennedy with Jefferson on the 50 cent coin. It is about time to retire a non founding father after half a century of worship.
On September 22, 2013 49thParallel said
On paper this works well.  But can we learn from history?

When Canada eliminated the $1.00 bill and went to coin - they already WERE actively using the $2.00 - and yet they replaced this also with a $2.00 coin.  

Canadians today wil tell you they veru much get tired of having so much change with them.  Most keep a jar at home/in the car.

The banks do not like to exchange large amounts of coin for bills b/c it costs banks so much more to ship metal coins in bulk to get larger bills.

Polymer $1 notes would solve all the problems except perceived "problems" of people WANTING dollar coins.

So make polymer notes AND some dollar coins.  This way the minority of people who want the dollar coin b/c they like it, can use it.  But their wishes need not be forced on all of us.

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