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Coin of the realm


At a time when consumers pay for candy bars and cigarettes with debit cards, it might seem quaint to debate whether the dollar bill should be retired from U.S. currency. Yet debate there is, stimulated by the release of a commemorative Abraham Lincoln dollar coin on the 147th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

Like previous coins honoring Dwight D. Eisenhower, Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea, the new Lincoln dollar is likely to be handled mostly by numismatists. That might change if the dollar bill were abolished. Proponents of replacing the bill with the coin note that it costs about 16 cents to make a $1 coin, which lasts for 30 years. A $1 bill costs 7 cents to produce but lasts for 21 months.

Do the math, and the coin is obviously a better investment for the Treasury (not to mention an acknowledgment of years of inflation). Vending machines that now process $1 bills could be retrofitted to take $2 bills instead, which would become familiar in places other than racetracks. And the $2-for-$1 switch wouldn't require a new tray in cash registers.

Finally, dollar coins offer ample opportunities to commemorate political figures whose supporters have demanded that they be memorialized on paper money. For example, there is a move afoot among devotees of Ronald Reagan to quickly substitute his visage for Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill. Far better would be an early striking of the Reagan dollar that will be part of a collection featuring all of the presidents. At present that coin isn't scheduled until sometime after 2016.

Reagan, who disliked excessive spending, probably would prefer the dollar coin anyway.


Dishonoring the Medal of Honor

Not all royals are snobs, and not all snobs are royal

A cornucopia of incompetence, stupidity and inhumanity

-- Michael McGough

Photo: Four twenty-five-dollar rolls of the new presidential one-dollar coin with the image of Lincoln are held during an introduction event at President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home November 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. The United States Mint introduced the coin on the 147th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


Comments () | Archives (55)

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Reid Campbell

The Constutition also states that the Congress has the sole right to coin $. This would mean the treasury would be makeng the coins for the government, bypassing the privately owned Federal Reserve. This could be the start of something good for the people.

Steven Moshlak

Time is now to use silver, gold and other precious metal coins (currently being minted) by the US Treasury for exchange.

The value of the paper bill is obvious. A Morgan or Liberty silver dollar can purchase a tank of gas, whereas you'll only get a quart, if your lucky, with a dollar bill.

time to bring back $500's and $1,000 denominations. Put Ronald Reagan on the Thousand and Theodore Roosevelt on the Five-Hundred.

David Blum

Oh, La times. You used to be not totally moronic.


This is a good idea. I work at a restaurant and i hate those ripped soggy bills. And i don't think that we should be against anything that will help the US economy in any way even in the form of our own currency.

Nero's Fiddle

Why don't we get rid of pennies and nickels first?

Randall Moore / Boston

The reason the $1 dollar bill has hung in so long has been the effective home state protectionism provided by Ted Kennedy for the Crane Paper company in Dalton Massachusetts. Crane is the primary supplier of paper for US Currency.

Now that the old guard has changed (Scott Brown, R) perhaps we now have the opportunity to switch to a coin for good. Generally, the rest of the world has long figured out the value of making the lowest denomination a coin (see Euro, Pound, Yen)

Y.B. Pedantic

I like the dollar coins just fine. It's just a psychological thing, but I find that I don't spend a buck as quickly if it's a coin whereas paper money just seems to disappear in my my wallet. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite things about visiting Australia (over and above the omnipresence of Vegamite, of course!) is that they not only have $1 coins, but they've got $2 coins as well.

I do wonder if the brain trust at the Treasury Department has put any thought into the ramifications of switching from bills to coins on one of the most high-visibility industries in terms of $1 bill usage; this changeover could be a real burden on exotic dancers. Perhaps more research is needed...a pole should probably be taken to see how they feel about it.

Dave Irwin

How will my pockets carry all these coins? Seems like they just want us to get away from cash all together?


There are reasons the dollar coins don't catch on. First, they're much too easily confused with quarters because of their size. Second, they aren't at all useful; few coin vending machines or meters accept them (do Metro machines?). Also, machines which give them as change often spit many of them them out. I recall being unhappy receiving 15 coins back as change for $20. They're heavy and uncomfortable to carry in pockets.

One plus: they might be good for the economy. When I get them as change, I treat them like hot potatoes and get rid of them as fast as I can.


Richard's correct, these coins will remain a collector's item because they look too much like a quarter. Treasury should have patterned the $1 coin like the 2 Euro or the 10 Bhat coins from Thailand. They have a silver core with a bronze colored ring. They are easy to spot even in dim light. I hope Treasury's reading.

Sam Ward

Ronald Reagan disliked excessive spending? I've got a federal deficit that says differently.


When the euro coin came out the price of everything went up.

Don't do/use it or fall for this propaganda piece. They always try to do this, but nobody ever wants the coin. As soon as I get one I get rid of it ASAP, as does everyone else.

Nova yos Galen

Carrying around all those coins? Get rid of currency altogether and just swipe for all purchases. Yes, I know, security will have to be better than it is now.

Regarding Ronald Reagan, I know I'm probably in the minority but I believe history will reveal that he had a negative impact on the U.S. and the World. Supply-side economics? Papa Bush was right. It is voodoo economics, except for the ultra-rich for whom it works just fine. Meanwhile 12%+ people in California have priced themselves out of work because Rashid in India can do the job for $4 a day (or whatever), and the current corporate tax credits have had no impact in creating jobs. Chinese couples can now afford to fly to the U.S. to bear their children so that their children can be U.S. citizens and have all of the opportunities that come with that status. The global marketplace has hurt the vast majority of Americans (remember when most of us DID have pensions through our employers?), and benefited a very small rich elite who hold most of the world's wealth. I don't care where people are politically, but I am angered at how our standard of living is worse than that of my parents' generation. Wasn't one of the tenets of the American Dream that each generation improves the standard of living over the previous generation? That's not happening anymore. And RR's policies have a lot to do with that. How is that deserving of his face on a coin? Freedom and competitiveness are great, but not when rampant (as opposed to a more enlighted) Capitalism harms so many people.


I think this is a great idea! I got some of these coins from my bank and I try to use them for anything that costs less than $5. A lot of the beach parking lots accept these coins.
We need to move away from the paper bills to coins. It helps save the environment and the economy. win-win!

Rancho Park Resident

Let's put Reagan's face on a roll of toilet paper in honor of him flushing the country down the toilet


Canada switched to the dollar coin years ago and it works great. No more of those idiotic dollar bill acceptors on vending machines that are out of order 50% of the time. No more having to go to the bank to buy rolls of quarters just to do your laundry. I've lived in both countries so I know what I'm talking about. The only reason the dollar coins have not caught on in the US is that the US keeps printing the paper dollar. Canada stopped printing paper dollars and every vending machine in the country converted to the coins.


Reading this article about the $1 coins reminds me of why I canceled my Times subscription a couple of years ago and now only read occasionally online for free. The liberals who read ANY article or story in the Times feel compelled to rant and rave against capitalism, Reagan, conservatives, the rich, etc. regardless of that the original story was about.

I do agree that the $1 bill and the penny should be done away with. The nickle is still useful though and we definitely need a bill larger than the $100.



A horse is cheaper than a car, lets switch back to horses. Wood is cheaper than fiber glass, coal is cheaper than solar.

Get the point? Why move backwards?

If I have to weigh down my pockets with any more frickin' coins, I swear to God, I'm out of here this time. I'm going to defect to some country with lighter currency.

Forget abolishing the dollar bill. That's the stupidest thing I've read this week.
Let's get rid of pennies, nickels, and dimes, and replace them with e-change.

Welcome to the future.


Fool! When you make a dollar a 'coin', it becomes a quarter, spare change. The five-dollar bill then becomes the lowest paper currency, thus a dollar. So it goes from there...

This piece is begging for inflation...

Did you ever happen to visit Italy before the euro? Have you ever seen a 500 lira bill? Money can go from valuable to worthless in an instant, because it is all a fiction anyhow - a symbolic representation of 'real value', the calculation of which in our esteemed nation, is becoming increasingly dubious.

Rather than Reagan, better to emboss a line of the hungry and destitute on this coin.

logan street

nobody wanted dollar coins in the 80's. nobody wanted dollar coins in the 90's. nobody wanted dollar coins in the 2000's. nobody wants dollar coins now.


The idea of eliminating the $1 bill is absurd. Who wants a pocket or purse full of heavy coins? The fact that no one except collectors wants any of the $1 coins should tell you something! Coins get heavy, they fall out and roll away. Bills stay wherever you put them and are lightweight. Forget the coins: only collectors want those nuisances.


The Canadians, a famously practical people, got rid of their one and two-dollar bills years ago. Those denominations have been replaced by coins (the looney, and the tooney -- typical Canadian whimsy) and now the Canadian Mint makes a considerable profit with the stamping of each.

Because our dollar bill (anyone seen a two lately?) is destroyed so rapidly, they cost too much to print, and half way through their life cycles our vending machines start refusing them.

Every element of our government needs to cut costs. Dollar coins replacing dollar bills will save us a good deal of money. Let's do it.

Dottie Chang

For the person that asked, Metro machines do take and give dollar coins. It's the only place in my life where I encounter them. Instead of getting mad when I get $15 back in gold coins, I get over it and call them my "pirate doubloons."


Wait a minute. How do you stuff a dollar coin into a G-string? So much for lap dances going forward, I guess.


'Fall of the Republic' is a MUST Watch Video -- that will answer a few questions you may have, and then some.. www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU&feature=channel

Jim Townes

Why don't we get rid of the penny too!
I don't know if people have traveled internationally but most countries I've been to don't deal with coins that are as small as penny.

Steven Moshlak

logan street wrote: nobody wanted dollar coins in the 80's. nobody wanted dollar coins in the 90's. nobody wanted dollar coins in the 2000's. nobody wants dollar coins now.

As a young lad, who used to read CoinAge and a number of other coin periodicals, the return of the Ike dollar was welcomed, especially in Las Vegas. With the introduction of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, around 1979, the dollar had literally "shrunk" and they were nick-named "Carter quarters."

Since confusion, due to size, between the "Carter Quarter" and the US Quarter Dollar, it was around 1997 when the "Squ@w Buck" was introduced, with a gold-colored tone.

Neither the "Carter Quarter" or the "Squ@w Buck" was popular and a lot of these remain in vaults or shipped overseas to US bases, as a substitute for the dolar bill.

I say, bring back the .900 fine US Silver Dollar. We already have US Silver Eagles.

Andy K

There is a one dollar coin circulating that omits the "In God WE Trust" comment. Apparently the dude does not trust in God. If these coins omit the phrase they are doomed.

Rand Chomsky

Permanant inflation is an intergral part of our money system. Just look at movie ticket prices from 40 years ago. A fraction of the price now. Like everything else.

The switch to a dollar coin underscores how far the dollar has fallen in terms of what it can buy. The new owners of the LA Times apparently support this obfuscation of the shrinking value of currency which turning a dollar into a mere coin will only help further along.

Reagan was the biggest spender of all Presidents before him, most of his record deficit-spending going to Pentagon coffers for the "cold war on communism." It seems fitting then, albeit ironically, to put his face on money.

a baron

If anyone liked excessive spending, it was Reagan. Look what he did to his reckless spending in California, and then repeated it for the whole country.


What a looney idea! :)


I travel to Canada and Australia and I like both the $1 and $2 coins.

I think Reagan on a $1 coin would work. The failure of the SBA and Sacagawea coins is because the designs were too "PC" to catch on. Whether you agree with his politics or not, Reagan is a more marketable figure.

Tom M.

Ever walk around in Britain with 6 or 8 Pound coins in your pocket?? Heavy enough to make you limp....


Where was this article in 2007 when the first series of these coins went into circulation? George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Is it only because of Abraham Lincoln and historic anniversaries related to him that you now have "discovered" these coins?

Matt Owen

Most cash registers have a limited number of coin trays. I think that in order for the dollar coin to gain mass acceptance, the penny would need to be discontinued so that retailers could easily offer the dollar coin as change.


Dollar coins are a nice idea in theory, but cr*p in practice. they feel too much like quarters to be useful. If they were bigger, like the old cartwheel size Eisenhowers, or heavier, like the brass Pound coins in Britain, it would be different. As they stand now, they are just novelties.


How's an increase to 6$ per day for road tolls in & out of San Francisco using these new dollar coins only........what an simple taxing idea!



Gifts idea for the Holidays: something beautiful, something simple; YES!


Vegas' slots Yes!!


Yes, a coin honoring Ronald Reagan is a great idea. The $1 Reagan coin will only be worth 20 cents though, thanks to how Reagan tripled the national debt and blew our national inheritance on the military.

Oh, and as an added bonus, the Reagan coin won't have a denomination on it, to commemorate or Reagan was mentally absent the final three years of his presidency, if not before.


A question to all the nay-sayers: Are you the same ones who want a balanced budget without cutting any programs or raising taxes?

Change isn't a bad thing, pardon the pun. Eliminating the penny and switching to $1 coins will save us a lot of money...so why would people be so stubborn at a time when our government desperately needs to save money?

Mary Carter

No please, no dollar coin. Think, good people, for a minute: how many dollar bills do you normally carry in your wallet. Okay, now think of how many coins you would be carrying around. Heavy coins, many of them. You will not like it, I guarantee it.

Peter Wolfe

Overall this would be a step in the right direction for the U.S.A to go into. This is largely due to accessability for the blind like myself and with their ridges on the sides of th round or oval coin it could help in identification. It wouldn't be as easily damaged as the paper dollar like its Monopoly like hold on the market professes. Dollar bills are very inefficent like checks should alo be banned cause flaoting currency sholdn't be allowd in the modern day with our technology, etc. Purely debit and electronic purposes only please! Totally get rid of the old wrinkly dollar dbills as they annoy everrone and really just are a waste of time as well.


While we're at it, let's get rid of the penny, as well as the dollar bill. Other countries have done this, New Zealand, for example. The smallest currency is NZ $5. There are $1 and $2 coins. The smallest coin is 5 cents. Prices are rounded to the nearest nickel. It makes TOTAL SENSE!
The penny is the most expensive coin to produce and, let's face it, everyone HATES them!


Here's an idea...
How about a "dollar" that's worth a "dollar", not 6.5 cents???


For a country that's supposed to be the smartest, the US is pretty dumb :)
That we still use pennies which cost millions more to make than they are worth is testament to our stupidity. Most countries in the world have gone to polymer notes years ago and use coins for $1.
Most of my foreign friends jokingly say that the USA is the most advanced third world country they've ever visited ... unfortunately they maybe right or soon will be if we continue down our current path

Bob Taylor

If you are so worried about mistaking a dollar coin for a quarter, why aren't you at all worried with mixing a one hundred with a dollar bill? Maybe the one hundred or the twenty is a bad idea? no, you need to get real, the coin is a great idea.


Then if it is such a good deal to have a $ 1 bill as a coin then may be all the bills should be bills.


Merchants and individuals can order dollar coins in $250 increments directly from the U.S. Mint online, with no markup and free shipping. It is one way to encourage the circulation of dollar coins, but what really needs to happen is the complete elimination of the dollar bill.

Rance Durfee

Why doesn't the Treasury first eliminate redundant coinage? For example, you could easily remove the dime as any multiples of 10 (cents) could be handled by pennies, nickels, & quarters. Similarly the fifty cent piece could be eliminated. Remove the $2 bill...it isn't needed at all.

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