$1 Billion in Dollar Coins Sitting In Fed VaultsJune 29th, 2011
In 2005, Congress, acting upon the success of the 50 state quarters program, decided to take specialized currency one step further with the authorization of the Presidential $1 coin. The idea would be to release four dollar coins a year for roughly ten years, which each one depicting a president. It was meant to be both a new, more practical type of coin as well as an “educational” tool. In reality, the only education that this coin brought with it was that dollar coins are nothing more than a waste of time and taxpayer dollars, and now they’re only purpose is to take up real estate in a Baltimore bank vault.
It was discovered that in a large vault, there are nearly 1 billion dollar coins that have not been circulated, roughly 40% of all the dollar coins the federal government has made since 2005. Although intended to be worth a dollar, the government spends 30 cents making them. Therefore, $300 million worth of time and effort went into making coins that will not see the light of day. Even worse, the government is obligated to mint these coins by act of law until the series has run its course, possibly 2016 or later, and the vault of coins could swell to nearly 2 billion uncirculated coins, costing taxpayers $600 million.
This isn’t the first time the government tried to get Americans to use money that they never wanted to use. Back in 2000, the US Mint rolled out the Sacagawea Dollar with a huge TV ad buy encouraging people to use the coins. Even though it made vending machines easier to use, nobody found an alternative use for them. Circulation dropped by nearly 90% in 2001, and by 2008, the Philadelphia Mint was minting 99% less coins than it did during its first year.
You would think such an experience would be a message to Washington that we don’t want to use noisy, heavy coins when we can use greenbacks that don’t make us sound like we have metal maracas in our pockets, but instead, they decide to not only make another batch of dollar coins, but remake the old Sacagaweas. Of course nobody is using the coins, and very few have actually seen the coins, because you usually need to get them from a bank or from the government itself.
When I was down in DC for a school trip three years ago, I saw signs in the subway tunnels that said “Save Your Country Money: Use the Dollar Coins” (I wish I was making this up). Dear Washington, if you really want to save money, stop making the dollar coins! We don’t want them, we don’t need them, and when we do get them from the occasional subway vending machine, they go in our change jars and sit there.
Rebel Zoe is famous for saying “Screw the Fed with their guns and their paper money”. Might want to add “worthless coins” to that mix.