Paper Dollar Versus $1 Coin, Fun Facts Comparison

by Mike Unser on June 10, 2008 · 10 comments

When paper dollars are squared up against $1 coins, who comes out the winner and why? Clearly, as the "fun facts" money table shows, the one dollar bill wins out as the currency of choice by a wide, wide margin.

$1 Bill versus $1 Coin: Which is the Winner Today?

$1 Bill and Coin Fun Facts
$1
Bills
$1
Coins
Comments
It takes 56 $1 coins to equal 1 pound (lb), or 455 $1 bills.
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$1 coins are much HEAVIER for consumers and businesses.
Paper money is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton. $1 coins are made mostly of manganese-brass (88.5%) and copper (6%).
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Paper money can be folded and shaped to fit nearly anywhere. It’s CONVENIENT.
A stack of dollar bills one mile high would contain over 14.5 million notes. It would take 804,672 dollar coins to reach a mile.
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$1 bills are LESS BULKY.
The BEP produced 4.147 billion $1 notes in FY 2007. The United States Mint produced 0.941 billion $1 coins in 2007.
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$1 bills are USED DAILY in transactions. Where are all those $1 coins?
It costs ~16 cents to make $1 coins, and each has a life span of about 30 years. It costs ~ 6.2 cents to make $1 bills, and they have a life span of about 21 months.
 
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$1 coins are much more ECONOMICAL.

 

Although the table lists individual advantages bills have over $1 coins, when taken in totality it’s much harder to picture a winning scenario for dollar coins outside of the collector market while paper dollars exist.

In recent news, it was announced that the United States Mint has enlisted the help of GolinHarris to create a campaign promoting the use of $1 coins. Wendy Love, Golin EVP, was quoted as saying,

 

"We really need a compelling reason for people to change their behavior towards the dollar coin in general.

This campaign is designed to focus on the fact that these coins are 100% recyclable and that they last for a long time, which saves natural resources and money.

The thing we are testing with this campaign is the idea that there is a different sort of benefit with using this coin."

 

Will a public relations push emphasizing the environmental and economic benefits of coins over paper money work?

Will consumers stop using $1 bills because marketing ads tell them coins make the world a better place to live?

If paper dollar bills are a terribly bad idea today, why doesn’t the government stop making them?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Koichi Ito June 10, 2008 at 3:10 am

$1 Coins are much more fun to collect than $1 Bills. But $1 Blls are much more easier to use.

JayKay January 2, 2009 at 9:11 pm

/* “Blls [sic] are much more easier [sic] to use.” */

Please tell me that after a vending machine has rejected the last 4 $1 bills you tried to use because they’re too wrinkled, the wrong side up, etc. etc. – or while you’re trying to get on a bus in the rain while the farebox keeps spitting back every bill fed into it.

Get rid of the $1 bill, make more $2 bills and a better-sized half dollar, or even make a $2 coin. England, Australia, Canada, and the EU have all done so and it works there. That’s almost a billion people who have no problems with using coins – are they somehow all wrong?

Tom Gambucci February 16, 2010 at 5:25 pm

If the Mint were really interested in a “campaign promoting the use of $1 coins”, they wouldn’t CHARGE citizens more than $1 to get their hands on “Dollar” coins. The Mint is treating these beautiful coins as collectors items, yet producing them as if people use them. I love these coins and would gladly be rid of filthy crinkly paper dollars, but it’s so hard to find any at local banks and credit unions.

MHess April 12, 2010 at 11:03 am

@Tom

It’s easy to procure $1 coins at face value directly from the mint. There’s an article about it here.

throcko April 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Dollar coins are so much more convenient for so many things. I use them to tip street musicians–dollar bills would just blow away. I wish that parking meters and laundry machines would take them so I wouldn’t have to carry so many d-mn quarters. I wish people would use them on the bus so I don’t have to stand there waiting while little old ladies feed in their crumpled bills.

The Mint needs to stop printing dollar bills. That’s the only solution.

Munze April 15, 2010 at 4:05 pm

/* “The Mint needs to stop printing dollar bills.” */

Uh, the Mint only makes coins. The BEP prints currency.

And remember that here, unlike most countries, decisions about coins and currency have to be approved by Congress where every one-term back-bencher gets to have their say. Whenever anyone makes a serious proposal to stop printing $1 bills, the lobbyists from Crane Paper and Save the Greenback go ballistic and the politicians play right along. The law that authorized the Presidential dollars had a clause inserted into it mandating continued production of dollar bills!

In fact meddling’s been going on for over a century, like when the Virginia delegation hamstrung Congress for weeks because they were afraid Jefferson’s image might be removed from the nickel during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, or the fulminations and grandstanding over whether the lettering for “In God We Trust” is sufficiently prominent … or the flap over the “obscene” Standing Liberty quarters in 1916, or whether Victor David Brenner should have put his initials on the cent in 1909 … the list goes on and on.

/* “That’s the only solution.” */

You’ve got my vote there!

S. Phillips July 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

Our government just needs to stop making paper dollars and only make coins. Maybe the federal reserve needs to tell the banks to use them … you should not have to ask for them.

A. D. November 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Canada does not use the paper dollar and only has 1 and 2 dollar coins. I had no problem with it. You have only one or two in your pocket at one time. I find that people have a hard time accepting change…and I don’t mean the change in your pocket. Get rid of the paper dollar.

James O. Morris February 15, 2012 at 9:08 am

We need to end the arguments against using the dollar coins, and start circulating them. Once they start circulating, people will use them.
When was the last time you got a dollar coin in change? Or a half dollar for that matter. If you are lucky ,maybe you will see one a year.
The Federal Reserve can force the use of the dollar coins, by requiring it’s customers to take one coin dollar for every paper dollar they receive. The banks would then be forced to do likewise. It is business that is primarily resisting the use of dollar coins, NOT so much the public.
It is time to set a target date to phase out the dollar bill, (two years is reasonable) and start using the millions of dollar coins in the vaults immediately. Not only would it save money, but it would educate people that have never even held one of the Native American dollar coins, or an SBA dollar coin in their hands. Even the Kennedy half dollar coin rarely circulates.
Eliminating the dollar bill would force the use of these coins. Millions of cash registers, money changing machines, and vending machines would have to be changed out or manufactured, which would require the hiring of more people.
Over-all it just makes sense. It saves money, and that would be good for the economy.

dustin January 7, 2013 at 8:01 am

Just do away with all paper and coins completely. I have not had the need for either in 10 years. Move everything to bank/credit card, all problems solved, even the drug dealers and counter-fitters lose.

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