Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dollar Coins

Why is it that the USA can't quite get with the program when it comes to dollar coins? Other countries have embraced the equivalent of $1 and even $2 coins-- why can't we? How often do you ever use one? Would you recognize a counterfeit one?If I didn't sometimes have to buy stamps, I doubt I'd ever see a dollar coin.
I was thinking about it because I had to buy stamps yesterday. This is a rarity, as I pay almost all my bills online and rarely send anyone a paper letter any more, but this time, I happened to need a stamp. The machine that takes credit cards had a long line. The humans at the counter had a long line. So I had to use the stamp machine. But I only had a couple of dollar bills, and twenties. If I only bought one booklet of stamps, I'd have a pound of dollar coins weighing me down, so I bought two booklets, thereby only getting $4.40 back in coins.
So then of course I wanted to dump the dollar coins right away, but I kept wondering how. I guess it was a little paranoid of me, but I really thought no one would want to take them! I always think they look fake, so I thought they would be regarded with a lot of suspicion... but I used 3 of them to buy lunch, without any problem, and later used the last one in a dollar store, appropriately enough, again without anyone batting an eye.
So here are a few fun facts about the "Golden Dollar," which replaced the Susan B. Anthony dollar. It features Sacajawea, famous for helping Lewis & Clark make their way across the country. It's not actually made of gold-- it's mostly copper, or technically a copper alloy known as manganese brass. (It's more copper than the penny, which is just copper-plated zinc.) It weighs 8.1 grams, is 26.5mm in diameter and 2mm thick. It was introduced into circulation on Jan. 27, 2000. Only about 5 million Golden Dollars were produced in 2005, compared to 7.7 billion pennies, and 3 billion quarters. I guess you could say they're not exactly catching on.


Melissa said...

I moved from the US to Canada and I really like the dollar and two dollar coins. I don't understand why they are not more frequently used.

Asset gatherer said...

I know exactly what you mean! I'm always afraid that I won't be able to spend them. I was in NYC over the weekend, and I mistook a dollar coin in my purse for a quarter. The lady could have very well not brought that to my attention, but she did.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy dollar coins have not caught on! I love how light dollar bills are. My wallet seems to collect them. If I had that many coins it would feel like I was carrying around a lead weight!

Anonymous said...

I moved from Canada to US. I miss the coins and all the Canadian Currency for that matter. Money should have multi colors and raised numeric values. Why other countries have adopted easier than the US? The government din't back down beacuse people did not like it. When the Lonnie was introduced they stopped printing the dollar bill. Same with the twoonie. People started requesting more $2 bills so when they introduced the coin they stopped making the bill.
It also was easier to adopt becuase the Loonie has 12 sides instead of being round like a quarter and is larger in diameter.
I heard people here in the USA had trouble differentiating the Susan B Anthony from a quarter.
Its comes down if the US Mint and US government wanted everyone to use the coin instaed of the bill. They just need to STOP PRINTING THE BILL. Hostipals use metric why can't the rest of the US.

Anonymous said...

I suspect America will embrace dollar coins around the same time it embraces the metric system.

Anonymous said...

Like Scott said, until they stop printing dollar bills, the coin won't catch on no matter what. Speaking of bills, I've heard the treasury is actually printing more $2 bills for some reason. Curious because I never see them anymore.

Anonymous said...

I like using dollar coins for transit - I get them as change for buying stamps or train tickets from the machines, and save them to use when I take busses.

Adam Nash said...

I don't think the dollar coin and the dollar bill can coexist. People will use the bill whenever possible, especially men who carry wallets that can't really handle change.

I used to use them for tolls, but FasTrak eliminated that need. I do keep about 10-15 in my car, just in case I'm low on cash and need it for parking in the city.

Interestingly, the US Mint is launching a cool new Presidential $1 Dollar Program in 2007 - 4 presidents every year for the next 10 years. You can read more about it on my blog,

Anonymous said...

i love the dollar coins! i love the color and that finally another female is on currency.
i tend to collect them more than use them. i like them as objects i guess.
i actually miss the 50 cent piece! rarely does one see them anymore (kennedy is on them).


Anonymous said...

I like the dollar coins. They're fun for tips, garage sales, etc.

Anonymous said...

i have lived in the usa for two decades but cannot recall ever having seen a dollar coin!

- s.b.

South County Girl said...

i think just to be abnormal, i'm going to ask for dollar coins and 2 dollar bills... and colored money

i like it.

and i like the metric system... but i like the US system too

Anonymous said...

I used a dollar coin in a middle-of-nowhere college town Walmart years ago when I was an international student and the racist (I'm sorry, but seriously, most people in the town were when I was there) cashier looked at me smugly and said "We only take American currency".


Anonymous said...

Has anyone been using the new dollar coins since they came out?