US Mint Wants Opinions on Factors to Consider in Metallic Coin Materials Research

March 13, 2011

in Coin Production

Lincoln Cent

The United States Mint on Monday, March 7, 2011, requested help from any interested parties or persons on factors to consider in the research of using different metallic materials to produce circulating coins.

The US Mint was given the authority to research alternative coin compositions with the passage of the Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010, which became Public Law 111-302 when President Obama penned his signature to the legislation in December 2010.

The rising price of copper in the last several years prompted the new law. The Lincoln cent and Jefferson nickel have been more expensive to produce than their face values for some time. The cost of to strike each penny was 1.79 cent while the minting cost of each nickel was 9.22 cents, according to the Mint’s annual report for fiscal year 2010.

Although the US Mint can research less expensive metallic coin materials and techniques in producing American coinage, it does not have the authority to implement any composition changes to circulating coins without a thumbs up from Congress. As such, the US Mint must provide a biennial report:

    "To the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate analyzing production costs for each circulating coin, cost trends for such production, and possible new metallic materials or technologies for the production of circulating coins," states Public Law 111-30.

Congress can then act on US Mint recommendations for coin materials changes, if it so desires.

The following coin news and articles provide further perspectives on the topic:

US Mint Seeks Public Comment on Metallic Coin Composition Factors and Modernization

Darrin Lee Unser |

The US Mint is constrained in its final recommendations to Congress by several terms outlined in the previously mentioned Coin Modernization Act. This includes the consideration of how a change would impact current US Mint metal suppliers as well as how coinage containing a different metallic content would be introduced and accepted for use in everyday commerce, including vending …

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U.S. Mint Weighs the Dollars and Sense of the Penny

Michelle Macaluso |

Most people don’t bother to bend over and pick up a penny on the ground. But the U.S. Mint isn’t ignoring pennies these days. In fact, it’s considering giving them an overhaul. The government agency just announced it is seeking public opinion from anyone who has ideas on what’d they’d want in coins made from cheaper metals …

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US Mint Wants Input on Possible New Coin Compositions

Staff |

The United States Mint is not soliciting suggestions or recommendations on specific metallic coinage materials, and any such suggestions or recommendations will not be considered at this time. The United States Mint seeks public comment only on the factors to be considered in the research and evaluation of potential new metallic coinage materials …

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Mint wants suggestions, or does it?

Dave Harper | Buzz with Dave Harper

The zinc industry doesn’t want that metal removed from use because it might cause a drop in profits in the mining industry — although with prices generally soaring, this is probably the only time when eliminating zinc from coinage would have the least impact on that industry …

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