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The dollar bill is synonymous with American currency. It proudly displays our nation’s first president, and is used to purchase goods and services all across the country, every day. But, what if we replaced the dollar bill with an equally valued coin?

The Wall Street Journal indicates that such a move could save $147 million annually by changing the dollar bill to a $1 coin. And the U.S. would not be the first country to make this change, far from it in fact. Sweden and other European countries use coins for common denominations rather than paper notes. Changing to a $1 coin would also pave the way for getting rid of lower value coins, like the penny. Considering each penny costs 2.4 cents for the mint to produce, this seems like a logical idea.

Still, there is some opposition. While $147 million a year may seem like a tremendous amount of savings, in actuality, it is a miniscule amount for the U.S. Mint. It would also take several years before this financial benefit was felt at the mint. The reason is, coins are much more durable than paper notes, and would thus have a longer life. Over three decades, having these coins still in use by the public would net the Mint about $4.4 billion.

Paper suppliers, such as Crane & Co., which supplies the paper for U.S. currency, strongly oppose the notion, as it would tremendously affect the nature of their business. On the other hand, mining and metal companies are greatly in favor of the idea, as it creates a new and steady revenue stream. Other industries, such as vending machine manufacturers, support the change as well. It is difficult to say whether Congress will take action, as both sides of the debate have friends in Congress.

What is not apparent is what type of metal would be used to produce $1 coins. The U.S. has produced both gold and silver $1 coins in the past. However, recent efforts to introduce a $1 coin into the U.S. economy have failed due to the unpopularity of the coins from the public’s perspective. When was the last time you saw a silver dollar?

Stopping production on dollar bills in favor of $1 coins would not solve the nation’s economic issues, because the savings is small, and it would take decades for the Mint to see the money saved. However, a new line of $1 coins would certainly interest collectors and enthusiasts around the world.  For more current envents read our blog.