Proposed Legislation Would End Presidential Dollar Coins

by Darrin Lee Unser on July 22, 2011 · 41 comments

Ulysses S. Grant Presidential DollarThe Presidential $1 Coin Program would not run its full course if several members of the Senate and House get their way. Two separate pieces of legislation have been introduced in the U.S. Congress which would ultimately end the dollar coins series dedicated to the former Presidents of the United States.

This new legislation comes in response to recent media attention to a reported $1 billion plus worth of dollar coins held in storage by Federal Reserve Banks. (Check out the PDF of the Annual Report to the Congress on the Presidential $1 Coin Program from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.) The massive stash of coins has been building up over the years with a marked increase occurring since the introduction of Presidential dollars four years ago.

Most attribute the inventory of dollar coins to two major factors. First, the public’s resistance to the use of dollar coins for everyday circulation. Second, requirements pertaining to the dollar coins placed on both the US Mint and the Reserve Banks.

When Congress created the legislation for the Presidential series in 2005, undoubtedly one of main reasons behind it was to win the public over to the idea that dollar coins could be used for daily commerce transactions. If it had occurred, it may have led to an easy transition from the $1 banknote which ends up costing significantly more to produce over the long-term in comparison to a coin. Currently, $1 banknotes have an expected life of 42 months according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The United States Mint lists the life span of a coin at 25 years.

It is also not the first time Congress attempted to put dollar coins into meaningful circulation. In 1971, Eisenhower Dollars were first minted but proved unpopular with the public owing to their size. They were followed in 1979 by the Susan B. Anthony Dollar which also proved unpopular despite being much smaller. Finally, in 2000, the Sacagawea Dollar made its way to the public but never took traction when it came to commerce.

Then, in 2005, Congress passed the Presidential Coin Act of 2005. It sought to increase interest in the $1 coin by honoring the former Presidents of the United States on their obverse. The program debuted in 2007 and is scheduled to run through at least 2016 with four new dollar coins appearing per year honoring the Presidents in the order in which they served.

However, in passing that Act, Congress also placed certain demands on their production. For one, it initially required that at least 1/3 of the total number of dollar coins produced in a year still feature the Sacagawea design. (That percentage was later decreased to 20% of the total.) In addition, a mandatory introductory period was established which required Federal Reserve Banks to have sufficient supplies on hand of each of the new designs to insure broad public availability.

Together, the lack of interest in the coins and the mandated production and distribution meant that many more of the coins have been produced than are needed, which led to the build-up. However, if passed, the proposed legislation would remedy that problem.

H.R. 2593 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jackie Speier of California and is cosponsored by Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado. Entitled the Wasteful Presidential Coin Act of 2011, the proposed legislation would strike subsection (n) of Section 5112 of title 31 which authorized the Presidential $1 Coin Program. It would further limit the number of Sacagawea Coins produced by adding:

"no $1 coin may be minted or issued under this section during any period in which the number of $1 coins issued, but not in circulation, is more than 10 percent of the number of $1 coins in circulation" to Section 5112 of title 31.

A bill was also introduced in the United States Senate by Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and cosponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. S. 1385 , entitled A bill to terminate the $1 presidential coin program, would strike subsection (n) and replace it with "(n) [Reserved]." (Read one collector’s perspective on this bill at Coin Collectors Blog.)

Either legislation, if it became law, would see the end of the Presidential $1 Coin in its entirety. In addition, it would likely also affect the associated First Spouse Gold Coin Program which are issued in conjunction with the Presidential dollars coins.

For proposed coin legislation to become law, it must pass in both chambers of Congress and win the signature of the President of the United States.

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Mike
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Mike

The solution to thi is simple- STOP MAKING THE DOLLAR BILL!
At the very least, mint them for collectors and sold in proof and uncirculated sets.

George Glazener
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George Glazener

As an avid coin collector, I love the Presidential Dollar Coin series. I’ve ordered them from the US MINT via the Direct Ship Program and circulated them liberally. However, I wouldn’t want the dollar coins to replace the George Washington $1.00 FRN. The paper currency is simply much more convenient to store & use in everyday commerce. In addition, I’ve noticed a fair bit of resistance & reluctance among merchants to accept the dollar coins for the same reason, weight & storage issues. If there’s such a massive hoard of unused dollar coins at the various FR branches, why not try this: Rather than completely abolish the dollar coin program entirely, revise it to yield a much smaller annual mintage, say 5% of what is produced now, market it aggressively as a collector’s item, and melt down the existing hoards for your source material. Then you’d have something which collectors… Read more »

Ryan North
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Ryan North

That or just continue minting them but at way lower numbers then now.

Sean
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Sean

I think that the $1 FRN should just done away with. It should happen. Everything points to the dollar coin as the much wiser choice. The coin is cheaper and lasts longer. And since the federal government reserves the right to produce money, it doesn’t matter how the people feel. I use dollar coins all the time. I spent a month in Europe and used the 1 and 2 Euro coins. It wasn’t bad at all. After two days, you couldn’t even notice the difference. If the bill was eliminated and a full commitment was made to the dollar coin, people would forget about the dollar bill very quickly. If my taxes pay for this, I would rather make a better investment in a coin that is cheaper and lasts longer. People want to keep the bill because they don’t want to be inconvenienced by the change. The coins aren’t… Read more »

Derik
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Derik

Lowering the mintage on new issues would solve many problems. I like the presidential theme, but I don’t collect them because they are not made of silver or gold and they are very common. Low mintage issues will cost the govt. less in production and storage. Each coin would be a “key”, limited-edition collector’s piece which will drive up collector demand. Let’s face it, they will not circulate unless the paper dollar is eliminated… (see Canada).

thelittleboss
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thelittleboss

I think history tells all here. The dollar coin never has and never will work. The logistics behind it will never work until the dollar bills goes away. Who wants a pocket full of change just to keep a few bucks on hand, not me! The fact that they have 1,000,000,000 of them on hand speaks for itself and yet they keep on minting them. Most coin operated machines won’t even accept them. So what good are they really?

Mike
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Mike

If the government truly wants to save money, they would stop printing $1 bills. The coins in the long run are a cost savings as they last decades. Look at how many 1960s nickels, dimes and quarters still circulate. To continue to have a $1 bill just makes no sense. $1 today buys less than 25 cents did in 1970. Can you imagine 40 years ago having a paper bill instead of a 25 cent coin? It just makes no sense to cling a nearly worthless, archaic bill. As far as it being too close to a quarter in size, I say this is ridiculous. Compare a quarter to a nickel and then a quarter to a $1 coin. The difference between them is the same, it is just that people are used to the other 4 circulating coins. No one confuses a nickel with a quarter and in time… Read more »

Munze
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Munze

The “people won’t use them” argument was raised in Australia, the UK, Canada, and elsewhere. When those countries eliminated their lowest-denomination bills there was grumbling for a couple of months but the world didn’t end and pretty soon everyone went on about their business.

Similar objections have been raised about everything the elimination of alphabetic telephone exchanges and the new sort-of-colorful bills. One of the old coots in Congress was adamant in his opposition to the new bills because he claimed they’d “confuse senior citizens” – never happened. And yeah, BUtterfield 8 is just a movie now, but would it have made sense to monkeywrench the whole phone system so a few people could be nostalgic?

IMO $1 coins are no different. Kill the Bill NOW and get it over with!

RonnieBGood
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RonnieBGood

After the many attempts to entice us away from the paper dollar ($1) bill, the American public just prefers the paper to coin… Cash Registers do not have slots for them, heavy in pocket change, etc. It would help Collectors if the mintages were adjusted to Collector levels, however, there is no money to be made by the US Mint here. So the Presidential Dollar coins are destined to go the way of Susan B, Anthony (in both coin value and collectability). No matter how much sense the $1 coin makes (and there are many good points made above), it’s always “all about the money” (pun is intended).

THEBIGBOSS
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THEBIGBOSS

Some One, Somewhere was charging thousands of dollars of their airline creditcard. Correction…Many Many or too many of you Dishonest little coin collectors, with very little interest in collecting, but a lot of interest in flying in first class, many many times around the word, Tokio, India, England. No Problem Courtesy of the USMINT. Get 100,000 Dollar coins free shipping , and bring back to the bank in a very large wheelbarel, and there you go…2 free first class plaine tickets anywhere in the world, do that once a month, and you’ll be speaking mongolian in no time.
Shame on you Koink koink collectors, but dont worry , you done nothing agains the law. but from now on NO MORE , you’ll need a check, wire transfer or who knows what else.

I hated Paris anyways, Australians were very friendly

Ryan North
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Ryan North

Utilization of the $2 bill is key to helping the Dollar Coin, if the Bill was eliminated. I experimented at my McDonalds with this and it worked. When using a $2 bill it helps in getting only 1 DC back in change instead of 2,3, or 4 which would cause people to go crazy saying the change is weighing them down. Lower the mintages of the DC, get rid of the Bill, utilize the $2, it’s that simple. I no longer work at McD, but I go around the community trying to get businesses to utilize the Dollar Coin Pamphlets and Stickers as a way to market themselves in a new way as “Come here and get something different in change”. People always say that they hate DC and $2 bills, which is false because most people like them they just don’t see them enough because businesses are too afraid… Read more »

John
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John

People say they hate dollar coins, but if you ask them if they have ever seen one, how many of them could say they have? Not many I’m sure. I have met people who don’t even know they exist, so how can they hate them? They haven’t even tried them. The people are just afraid of making a change. As for having a bunch of heavy change, how scrawny are you? You can’t tell me you’re breaking your back from all those coins in your pocket. I’ve done it and let me tell you, you won’t even tell they’re there. If it saves money than do it. I would much rather use the coins than the bills. And the comment above about the $2 bills works as well. If you don’t want as much change, use a $2 bill. Besides if you went to an atm to get 20 bucks… Read more »

Vachon
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Vachon

@Mike : The reason so many coins from the 1960s can still be found is because coins don’t get used like they used to because their purchasing power is insignificant. If coins are only supposed to last 40 years in circulation, coins from the 1970s (and especially the 1960s) should all look like slicks now, but most only show light to moderate wear. Coins from the 1980s to present show little wear at all. Realistically, the quarter has the purchasing power a cent had about 100 years ago. That would make the dollar coin approximately a nickel. If neither the Fed nor Congress will mandate the restoration of our money’s value through a deflationary policy, then it must be accepted that coins below the quarter should be discontinued and paper currency below the $20 bill should be discontinued and replaced by coins to better approximate the purchasing power cents, nickels,… Read more »

Vachon
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Vachon

@Ryan North: I do the same thing at my job, but with half dollars and occasionally $2 bills. Dollar bills grow like weeds in my till so I can’t really go using dollar coins in their stead (though I did get our store’s vendors to accept dollar coins [but not the half dollar unfortunately] in the soda machines). I did it on a dare because my coworkers said people didn’t want the coins so I proved them wrong. But it’s a one-way street. Over the past eight years, I’ve given out over $5000 in halves in change and I have yet to receive any back nor have I seen evidence of other cashiers getting them. I imagine if the whole store did this, the local community would become saturated and they would start getting used in commerce, but I am but one man. The rejection rate’s about 2% which is… Read more »

Vachon
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Vachon

I’m surprised the Presidential Dollar mintages are still as high as they are. I would’ve thought they’d’ve dropped to the low millions or high hundred thousands per issue by now yet they’re still about 250 million a year.

Ryan North
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Ryan North

@Vachon What I used to do was take the Dollar Bills out and put them in my deposit. Ever since I started using the $2 bill as change my store never had to buy $1 bills from the bank ever again. For the Dollar Coins go to the Mint website and get you some “Free Material” to put up if given permission. They have: 3×3 stickers, 1×1 stickers that you can put on doors or registers to show you accept Dollar Coins. You can also order the Pamphlets and have them out for the customer to look at and see some of the benefits of the Dollar coin. All of which is free to obtain, along with free shipping.

Simon
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Simon

I DO NOT AGREE with the closure of the presidential dollar series at all. I have no problem with lower mintages but stopping a coin series in the middle is very simply pointless. Please let it run its course!

S.Portillo
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S.Portillo

IMO, just from everyday life it seems that presidential coins aren’t really used much and they should just minimize the coins production,like it was mentioned before make those few special presidential dollar sets. The only presidentialcoins that will ever carry value are the missing edge lettering variety, and the only presidential missing edge lettering coin to rise in value dramatically from here on out would be the MISSING EDGE LETTERING JOHN ADAMS PCGS MS 66, although very interesting views from everyone. smile

Boz
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Boz

If they mint had a half-price sale on them, they would get rid of them quick. As people above have pointed out, a dollar today is worth about 10 cents in 1965 purchasing power. The ten dollar bill is todays “new dollar bill.” Agreed, there is no need for the dollar bill anymore, nor for the cent piece for that matter. Just round up or down to the nearest nickel or dime, or for that matter round up to the nearest quarter. What can you get for less than a quarter these days anyway? Won’t be long there will be no need for bills or coinage at all, given the digital economy. Think about how little you actually pay cash for anymore now compared to 5-10 years ago?? Where do you get your 50 cent pieces and two dollar bills to give out to your customers? They aren’t available at… Read more »

Michael M
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Michael M

Merchants are partly responsible for the death of this coin. I don’t know of any merchants who stock the coin in their registers. any coin i give to a merchant most likely ends up quickly back at the bank.

me
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me

To us collectors of these coins, what will the coins be worth in the future that we already bought. These president coins value will drop to nothing for the public will have them. Also we paid good money for our collection of each coin, now they will only be worth a dollar. If congress votes the coins be released to the public then I hope every one nevers buys from the US MINT again for we can’t trust them. They will always release coins to the public if congress says too.

Ryan North
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Ryan North

@ Boz all you have to do is contact your bank about ordering you some and they should gladly do it. My banks do it all the time for me.

@ Michael M you are mostly correct sir as businesses should be stocking these coins, but most don’t know the benefit or are stuck in their own beliefs that the coins not worthy of using. Many people aren’t that openminded to think of marketing their business as the place that uses Dollar Coins, $2 bills, and/or Halves. I had it to where some people recognized my McDs as the place to go for the “Strange Change”, yeah it’s weird but it worked as getting noticed. Thats why I’m going around to business’s all over marketing these items for use.

Victor
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Victor

As long as enough are minted to satisfy the wants and demands of the collectors, I really don’t care how many are sitting around or where they are sitting. Maybe those clowns in D.C. will use their common sense, in the future and not have so many minted when there is no demand for them.Mint the coins that are needed for commerce, based on what is held in vaults and banks then cater to the collector.

Vachon
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Vachon

@Boz : I only bank at banks which have working inventories of 50¢, $1 coins, and $2 bills in the first place. It angered me that banks I used to use would tell me that they didn’t have these coins because “nobody wanted them” while here I was clearly “wanting them”. I know ultimately the value of my deposits make me a very small fish in a very large pond, but my money’s out. I only recommend my friends to the banks I do business with.

Though I honestly don’t know what your recourse is if no banks in your area actually offer them.

BOB
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BOB

With all that is going on today we need to get rid of the $1 and $2 bills. Many countries have reverted to this concept and replaced them with coins in similar denomitions (1 and 2 euros , canadian dollar and $2, Brits pound & 2 pound etc etc) They have saved over the long run as these coins will last much longer and cost less due to the signicant time that they will remain in circulation – easily 30 or more years as apposed to the dollars that have about a two to three year or less life expectancy. The fight is probably with those commercial vendors and their lobbyist to change. Yes and there are those people that think it is a nuisance to have coins in your pocket. I personally like to empty my pockets at the end of the day of change and drop it in… Read more »

Penny
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Penny

We need to stop minting the coins immediately, not months from now. This is another example of government waste. Why should anything in the budget be cut when we’re wasting money on such nonsense?

Munze
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Munze

Penny, the *real* waste is continued production of the $1 bill. Estimates of its excess costs run anywhere from 600 million to ONE BILLION dollars a year versus a $1 coin. That amount includes printing costs, putting bill acceptors on vending machines, hand-processing of bills by transit systems, disposal costs of worn-out bills, and on and on.

Almost 50 other countries have eliminated their lowest-denomination bill (or bills) over the last 20 years with no problems. The US remains alone in not having modernized its currency. People in all of those countries adjusted to their new coins just fine. Are you saying we’re different from everybody else and should continue being stubborn and inefficient?

James Smith
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James Smith

what we really need to do is eliminate the $1 bill, increase printing of $2 dollar bills AND issue $500 and $1000 bills. Under the excuse of “drug dealers and money launderers” the government refuses to acknowledge the inflation it has created in the past 40 years.

The European Union issues a 200 euro and 500 euro worth approximately $300 and $700 respectively. Switzerland issues a 1000 franc bill which is worth 1300 dollars!!!!!.

the issue is that government wants to eliminate cash transactions as they cant be tracked. Each time you swipe your debit or credit card, you provide a gold mine of information to the government regarding your purchases! think about it before you swipe!

Tom
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Tom

What we really need to do is, eliminate the penny, nickel and quarter, add a 20 cent coin (or a “fifth”), redesign the half dollar to be smaller and round to the nearest dime. As for paper currency, we need to replace the $1, $2 and $5 bills with coins. I was told in the late 1990s by the Coin Coailtion that a $2 and $5 coin should have been done by then. The Canadian $2 coin can be the prototype for our U.S. $2 coin. A bimetallic silver ring with golden center. And our $5 coin can be the prototype of the $5 coin Candada has been proposing from time to time, which was a bimetallic golden ring around a silver center. (Suprisingly Canada wants a $5 coin, and talked about introducing a $200 bill, but people opposed the $5 coin because of carrying too much change (sound familar?)… Read more »

Purdyfly
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Purdyfly

Hey, the dollar coins do suck to use. There’s no doubt about it. They dont fold in you pocket or wallet. You cant get 600 of them in an 858 cigar box. And you will lose them when riding a roller coaster. But, they are a great idea because they can both be used thus making the dollar bill last longer. They have also found out the FRN lasts longer then the originally thought. Plus they must have gazillions of the FRN’s in circulation. I say they are halfway through the program so why not keep making them. I they can store 1 billion of them then they can store 2 billion of they. when the program is over they will have 25 – 50 years to play with them. By having both the dollar coin and the FRN they both should last longer. I also explained this to the… Read more »

Kayla
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Kayla

The paper dollar bill has lost its value. It takes to much paper to print dollar bills and I was happy to see the $1 coins. The $1 coins were easy to use in snack machines, parking meters, and other various machines and I wish more of them was in circulation. I find it hilarious that they say people do not take no interest in them. I have taken great interest when they first came out and even as of today I ask the bank if they could make change with $1 coins and the answer I always get is they ran out or do not have anymore. Every now and then I try to get $10 worth and every once in a blue moon I can get a bank to give me about $3 or $6 worth because that is all they had. I had a person stand behind… Read more »

jim
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jim

I’m simply amazed. Almost NO ONE is asking what the public as a whole prefers, and almost everyone is missing the core of the problem. If we are to use cash, and Americans still like it because it = freedom, then bills make sense. For larger sums they are much easier to use, easier to transport and store, and easier to count. Americans have loved the greenback since Civil War times, and there is no GOOD reason to give up the $1 bill. The problem is the value of the dollar itself. If the dollar were still defined as so much silver in a coin of a certain size, we would not be in the mess we are today. We wouldn’t have the debt we live under, you could save a dollar that actually earned interest, and baseball players wouldn’t be making $10 million a year. The policy of inflating… Read more »

Stew
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Stew

This is crazy they always say to finish what you started. They started menting them and they need to finish. I agree with a lot of the comments I read here. One is melt down the stock pile. Making less coins makes them worth more. The paper dollar is easier to use but my tax dollars are going to waste. I would use coin dollars to save our tax dollars. What Jim said about them being counterfeit slugs has some truth as well. When I found out there is no gold I mean 0% and in fact it’s the mixture of metals used that makes the gold color. I was pretty disapointed. I don’t know what the real value in materials is but I would guess it to be around $0.25. but I still like them. and I want to get the rest to complete my set.

Dick
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Dick

I also have a complete set of the $1 coins. Receive them from “Processing Center” Canton Ohio. Really want to complete the collection. The Procesing Center wants to substitute some type of “Presidential Medal” in place of the coins. Not sure what to do.

Barbara
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Barbara

I personally love the dollar coins. I use them on buses, in vending machines and for other cash transactions. Feeding raggity edged paper into slots an be frustrating. They are often rejected because they cannot be feed in properly. Yes, eliminate the paper dollars and throw in the pennies as well. We’ll all get use to change very quickly and be better off for it.

David Hutson
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David Hutson

I have payed in advance for a complete set of 40 each P and D presidential coins with frames for my collection .I have the frames and half of the coins. I do not care what coins or bills are deleted from the public ,but I WOULD LIKE TO COMPLETE MY COLLECTION. let us look back to tons of gold being sold out of fort knox for 32 dollars an ounce and 2 months later it was 64 dollars.thats all I’M SAYING.

art
Guest
art

Save $50 million a year by halting the dollar coin program…or save $400 million a year by eliminating the paper dollar in favor of the coin. Gee, I wonder which approach our money savy government will adopt?

gordon swisher
Guest
gordon swisher

Reduce the amout struck. To those who want to stop the pres. dollars, if you were raising a child and about halfway the gov. said no you have to stop that!! I think you get the mess. Just reduce the amout struck!!! For those who vote to stop this, you need to pack your bags and move to Russia!!!!!!!!

andrew hughes
Guest

To whom it concerns: U,S,Mint,why don’t you make the Presidential coins out of silver and gold instead of the cheap materials that are being used as of today?If you did ,you would be selling every damn one of them in gold and silver as fast as you could produce them. We have over a 100 million coin collectors today who are willing to pay the right price because I do believe these people and myself knows what true value of something is today.In my expert opinion the government would not have to be building new storage houses to store the junk coins. Sincerely Andrew Hughes

Scott M. Gilman
Guest
Scott M. Gilman

Canada got it right. Stop printing $1 bills. The continued minting and availability to the public of $1 coins is cost effective. I hope the printing of $1 bills would be terminated.

Curtis Steinhour
Guest
Curtis Steinhour

I have traveled in Great Britain and noticed that all the vending machines accept all their coins. Why can’t we do that here? Then the dollar coin would be used more and if the 2$ bills would be accepted in vending machines this would give them an additional use.