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November 15, 2010

Why, Answer is Obvious
By Mike Sussman


We have a tradition in this country of doing some dumb things. Naturally, our government, which represents us, is one of the chief offenders. Take for example the case of the dollar. In its wisdom, the government, more specifically the Treasury Department that acts as a result of laws passed by Congress, decided in 1971 to order the Mint to design and issue the Eisenhower dollar coins. These coins, which were made for collectors in proof and mint condition in 40% silver, were a copper-nickel clad composition for circulation. Other than Los Vegas and Atlantic City, where they were used for slot machines, they did not circulate. Most people outside of numismatics think they are rarities because they have not seen them. The Eisenhower coins lasted until 1978 when they were replaced by an even worse idea, the Susan B. Anthony dollar. Now, don't get me wrong. I like S.B.A. as much as the next guy or gal, but to make a coin the size of a quarter with the value of a dollar made no sense. Of course they didn't circulate; they only caused confusion. They were used in the vending machine industry and for some toll roads. The 1979 and 1980 mintages were enough to last until 1999. Then, when the supply was depleted, even more were made. So three years worth of regular circulation coins lasted for over twenty years. At this point someone should have realized that dollar coins were a mistake.


What was the government's answer? Let's make Sacagawea dollars instead. So, from 2000 on, millions of golden colored Sacagawea dollars were and are being minted. To make matters worse, our government, in its wisdom, decided to mint the Presidential dollar series. Now, please don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against dead presidents or Native Americans, but let's be real. These coins do not circulate. To make matters even worse, for every four dead presidents, one Sacagawea must be minted. Political correctness sometimes gets in the way of good sense. Oh, yes, I read that in South America the Sacagaweas are popular especially in Ecuador or is it Colombia? And I also read that over a billion dollar coins, both presidential and Sacagaweas are in storage. Why? Because they don't circulate.


So, what is the answer? It's obvious. Stop making them! I know there was a law passed, but it can be changed. We can mint enough for collectors without bothering the general public. After all, what happened in 1981? SBA's were issued only in mint and proof sets. Well if that's not enough of an answer, and you want to really change things so people will use the stored dollar coins, stop printing dollar bills and make more two-dollar bills. Make the nice ones with the signing of the Declaration of Independence on it. What will happen then? People will carry a few dollar coins in their pockets and some two-dollar bills in their wallets. The dollar coins, presidents, Sacagaweas, SBA's, and even the old Ikes will circulate. And over a billion dollars will get out of storage and into the markets where it belongs. By the way, a dollar bill has a life expectancy of about one year in circulation. A dollar coin is expected to last for thirty years. This is a good change, and one that needs to be made. So what will happen? Probably nothing. As I said earlier, we have a tradition of being dumb.


By the way, a dollar bill has a life expectancy of about one year in circulation. A dollar coin is expected to last for thirty years. This is a good change, and one that needs to be made. So what will happen? Probably nothing. As I said earlier, we have a tradition of being dumb.

Mike Sussman


U.S. Rare Coin Investments


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