Printing and minting money is one of the privileges that government has. In theory, this is a privilege because the face value of coins is more than they cost to make. The problem is that while we still have one-cent and five-cent coins here in the United States, those coins are worth less than they were decades ago when they were designed. Minting new ones costs taxpayers money. [More]
First of all, we’re not really friends with the U.S. Mint because it’s not a person and besides, we’ve never met it and thus have no idea if it would even laugh at all our jokes or if it likes a nice glass of wine. Everyone likes money though — unless that money looks funny. Say, a brown nickel? Would that throw you off, would you reject it as a currency? Because the Mint would like to know. [More]
The Benjamins are coming, the Benjamins are coming! And they’re all new, these fancy $100 bills that had been expected back in 2011. The Federal Reserve had to delay the new currency over creasing problems during the printing process, which left blank spaces on the bills. But now they’re on their way, finally. [More]
Back in 2010, with the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the horizon, Congress authorized the U.S. Mint to produce and sell a commemorative medal. But that didn’t stop one company from advertising imitation versions it called “exclusively authorized” 9/11 commemorative dollar coins. [More]
Here at The Consumerist, we have a long-standing anti-penny stance, but we’re somewhat in favor of the gold-colored dollar coins. They’re shiny! The Sacagawea ones have a woman on them! They save the government money! Except a new Government Accountability Office report mentions something interesting that we haven’t discussed here before. Just replacing more fragile dollar bills with durable coins doesn’t save any money at all. Minting and distributing all of those coins costs a lot. Instead, all of the cost savings would come from Americans throwing dollar coins in jars instead of circulating them.
If you really love $1 coins, you’re probably in the minority. The U.S. Mint announced their vaults are jammed so full of the things, they’re going to pull back on producing them. Not only do they have enough hanging around, the dang things keep coming back because people just don’t want them.
Money isn’t necessarily safe in the hands of those who mint it. A U.S. Mint employee pleaded guilty to theft of government property and tax evasion, admitting he swiped $2.4 million in coins with errors and sold them to a California coin distributor. The $1 presidential coins he admitted to stealing were missing lettering, and the convict knew he could get a premium for them because the errors gave them more value in the coin collecting market.
It’s cost taxpayers an unnecessary $300 million so far, and won’t end until 2016. It’s wildly unpopular with the American public, even though it saves the government money in the long run. It’s taking up comical amounts of space in secure federal government vaults. What is it? The United States Mint’s series of dollar coins featuring the faces of all 44 presidents. Congress meant well when authorizing the program in 2005, but failed to realize that the American public thinks that dollar coins are an icky Canadian affectation. One billion of the coins are currently in hibernation, and at least a billion more coins will be minted but destined for storage.
A printing error on the fancy new $100 bills means that nearly a billion are in storage until the government figures out how many to destroy. The paper got creased during printing, leaving a portion of Franklin’s face uninked. It’s a $110 billion boo-boo!
Caffeinated vlogger John Green of the Vlogbrothers outlines the case against pennies. Namely that it costs 1.6 cents to make one, and we could save taxpayers billions if we got rid of them but don’t because of sentimental clinging. He really loathes pennies, referring to the one-cent pieces as “disgusting bacteria-ridden disks of suck that fail to facilitate commerce.”
Here’s the new design for the back of the 2010 penny. Instead of the Lincoln Memorial there’s now a shield, or maybe a tiny badge that you can flash whenever you want to announce, “I have jurisdiction over your pocket change.” No, I’m pretty sure it’s a shield.
You may have seen the commercial where Montel Williams hawks some goofy collectible coins with President Obama’s face IN FULL COLOR OMG. If you were planning on ordering some, though, watch this video from KATU 2 TV in Portland, Oregon first.* A father and daughter bought the coins and discovered that they’re just regular money with color stickers applied. One of the news anchors even comments that she could see the face on the coin through the sticker when she looked at it from the side.
There’s a new story in Triple Canopy about The Liberty Dollar, an alternative American currency started by Bernard von NotHaus that experienced a grassroots backing among some shoppers and merchants, until the Feds shut it down. Unlike the “real” dollar, Liberty Dollars are in fact…
Man will be reimbursed after rats and birds ate his bag of $20 bills. Apparently, they were kind enough to leave the serial numbers intact. The man’s bank manager says that the U.S. Mint “officials instructed her to send the reassembled bills and the [rodent] feces and feathers to them in Washington, D.C.” [AP via Fark]