Posts Tagged ‘dollar’

Dollar Coin Shortage?

December 21, 2011

Recently the mint was told to cease production of the gold colored dollar coins.  Due to the continued printing of the dollar bill, dollar coins have not been circulating. That is to say they have only been circulating in one direction. Dollar coin enthusiasts get rolls of  brass bucks from their preferred financial institution and spend them in their daily lives.  These coind however are not given out as change, but for the most part end up back at a bank.  Then , according to many articles, they are returned to the mint for storage until the end of time.

Many banks only ever receive new coins from the mint, such as the recently interrupted presidential series. When asked, my bank did not affirmatively say that I would be able to get rolls of dollar coins from them when they run out of their presidential dollars. Luckily, I believe I have secured a source of rolls of circulated coins from another local bank. These will likely have that nice patina of use instead of being always shiny and new, a plus!

But I really prefer the original Sacagawea dollars as they were minted between AD 2000 and AD 2008. They look like money, not a token. In my opinion removing much of the writing from the face of the coins and inscribing it on the edge was a big mistake. Likewise with the presidential coins, where the letters are so small that I cannot read them without a magnifier!

So, for those who enjoy spending dollar coins, and other odd money such as $2 bills and Eisenhower cartwheels, I’ve designed several shirts on CafePress.  What’s important though is that you SPEND DOLLAR COINS.

It’s Money, Spend It! (dollar coins generally)

Classic Sackies are the Best (sackies shirt)

I Like Ikes (Eisenhower Dollars)

It’s Money Spend it ($2 bills)


A Tale Told By NPR Full of Fury Signifying Nothing

July 19, 2011

This is a re-post from Coin Collector’s Blog

A Tale Told By NPR Full of Fury Signifying Nothing

According to the website at National Public Radio, “The mission of NPR is to work in partnership with member stations to create a more informed public – one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.” Unfortunately, it looks like NPR drowned in the shallow end when it published its story “$1 Billion That Nobody Wants.”

While the Federal Reserve is holding about $1 billion in dollar coins in its coin vaults, its assertion that, “Some 2.4 billion dollar coins have been minted since the start of the program in 2007, costing taxpayers about $720 million,” is false. To quote myself:


The U.S. Mint can strike trillions of coins that will sit in the Federal Reserve’s vaults, but none of the money used to strike the coins comes from taxpayer dollars. For our friends at NPR, money used by the U.S. Mint is withdrawn from the United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund (PEF). The PEF is the account where the seigniorage, the profit from selling the coins, is deposited. As sales are deposited in the PEF, the law requires that the U.S. Mint use the money in the PEF for budgetary reasons like to manufacture coins, maintain facilities, pay employees, etc. No tax money is deposited in the Public Enterprise Fund.

While the NPR story says, “The government has made about $680 million in profit by selling some 1.4 billion dollar coins to the public since the program began,” they failed to mention that this profit comes from the money paid by the Federal Reserve to buy the coins. Excess profit over and above the U.S. Mint’s operations funds are returned to the Treasury general fund.

Wait! Did you say that the program actually made a profit?

Yes, I did and so did the NPR story. And it did not cost the taxpayer anything to make that profit. Not one red cent!

But what about the $1 billion in the Federal Reserve’s vaults?

Those coins were not purchased from the U.S. Mint using taxpayer money. Each and every dollar coin in those vaults were paid for by the Federal Reserve at face value. Since it costs the U.S. Mint about 30-cents to strike one dollar coin, the U.S. Mint made a profit (seigniorage) of 70-cents per coin. The money was paid by the Federal Reserve and NOT taxpayer money.

Think about it: the U.S. Mint is generating 70-percent profit for striking $1 coins with most of that money will eventually make its way to the Treasury general fund.

If it is not taxpayer money, then whose money is it?

It is the money earned by the Federal Reserve through its banking operations as the United States central banking infrastructure. Deposits made to the Federal Reserve are made by member banks. Fees are paid by those banks for cash services, check clearing, and transfer services. The Federal Reserve also earns its money from making loans made to member banks. Some Federal Reserve branches make money on other services. For example, the New York Fed stores gold for foreign countries and sells currency overseas.

But it’s our money, right?

Yes, it is the money that is the heart of the economy of the United States. It is not classified as taxpayer money because no tax dollars were collected in order to fill its coffers.

You don’t make it sound like a problem. Why did the story go viral?

Actually, the $1 billion in coins sitting in the Federal Reserve’s vaults is a problem. It represents $1 billion of working capital that is not circulating in the economy. It is money that cannot be invested by loaning it to other banks or be used in other banking operations. In a tight economy, it is not a good idea to have $1 billion sitting idle. Unfortunately, the NPR story and subsequent follow-ups by various news outlets made it sound like it was $1 billion of taxpayer money being wasted by the government. On the contrary, the federal government earned $680 million!

If those dollar coins sitting in the Fed’s vaults is a problem, what can be done about it?

Stop printing $1 paper notes! The United States is the only “first world” country still producing its unit currency in paper. Two currencies whose value has stood up against the dollar during the current economic crisis, the British Pound and Euro, use coins for their unit currency and not paper. In fact, European Union use coins for the 1 Euro and 5 Euro denominations.

I know that “public sentiment” says to keep the $1 note. But when is governing about bowing to public sentiment. I thought government was supposed to do what is in the nation’s best interest. If it will save money in the long term, then let’s drop the paper for coins. American’s are resilient, they will get used to it.

Cool as a 2 Dollar Bill

June 25, 2010

Many users of the Dollar Coin use the seldom seen two dollar bill to prevent the necessity of handing over more than a few dollar coins at a time. I myself do not use two dollar bills, or Toms as they are sometimes called because I figure I’m asking for enough Ire using dollar coins.  However, since many cashiers apparently do not realize that two dollar bills are still incirculation, I’ve created a shirt just for users of this not-so-rare bank note.

If you would like to buy a similar shirt, it’s available on CafePress.  Using THIS LINK will save you about $5 over the usual CafePress Marketplace price (that’s two toms and a dollar coin.)

Spend Dollar Coins!

June 24, 2010

OK, I’m getting more behind this idea. When I get my check cashed, I’m going to request three dollar coins instead of the 3 singles I usually get.  My wife and I are going to keep dollar coins on us when shopping to avoid getting singles back in change. I’ve also designed the shirt below and I just received the one I ordered for myself.

Spend it shirtIf you want one, I’ve placed it on CafePress.  Following THIS LINK will save you about $5 off the CafePress Marketplace Price. There’s a lot of different styles of shirt to choose from.

[Edit] I also forgot to mention this interesting blog The Van Buren Experiment documenting the use of dollar coins by three people along with reactions to the coin.

Betwixt and Between

January 19, 2010

Sometimes I feel that I choose my hobbies poorly. They seem to contradict each other. I like to register my paper money on, but I also strive not to have singles (Georges) because I try to use dollar coins wherever possible. Also, I occasionally stamp an ‘ad’ for dollar coins on the reverse of my singles in the hope it will spur someone on to asking their bank for dollar coins (and then hoping they will use them, thus getting them into circulation a bit more.)

I’m also an Esperantist and a Lutheran (Missouri Synod). Esperantists tend to be left leaning folks. Lutherans (Missouri Synod) tend to be right of center on many things. This puts me at odds (in my mind) with those who speak Esperanto. (One of my fellow Esperantists was ranting away one on politics and indirectly called me a fascist.  (He didn’t know my political leanings at the time.))

This of course puts me about where I’ve always been, on the outside of the group. I’m even on the fringe of my railroad buddies because I specialize in the railroad stations, not on the locomotives.  Ah well, Jen la vivo.

I Found ‘George’

January 6, 2010

Today I went to our local Weis supermarket to pick up some supplies: bread, milk, tissues. I received as change from the self-checkout a 5 dollar bill marked for ‘Where’s George’ This is the first one I’ve seen since I became a ‘Georger’. With anticipation I drove home, put the groceries away and came down to the computer. This bill is rather folded and wrinkled, where could it have traveled in its life?

I entered the denomination, series date and serial number into ‘Where’‘ and lo and behold, a hit.  This bill started in the state of Delaware. That’s it. Darn.

On the other hand, so far I’ve never casually met an Esperantist while out and about, so perhaps this hobby isn’t quite as obscure as Esperanto.

Numismatists will Hate Me.

January 3, 2010

Occasionally I buy a roll of dollar coins from our bank for spending. The roll is deceptively small looking as the coins are all stacked neatly in a roll. When one opens the roll, however, the coins come out in a pile which can barely be kept in your hand.  There’s only 25 in a roll, but it seems like so many!

Because these rolls are uncirculated, straight from the mint, they are brand new.  They look it, all shiny and bright. Even though they are a gold color, they don’t look real at first glance because they are so very bright and clean. I’ve been trying to find a way to age some of my coins, to get them that ‘circulated patina’.

A civil war re-enactors group member said that some of the ‘guys’ use uric acid (urine) to age their brass buttons. The composition of the dollar coins is basically brass, so that would undoubtedly work. I’ve found 2 other methods which are a)cleaner, and b) faster.

The first is simply to put them in the center of your stove’s gas burner. They come out darker, almost too dark. A bit of a polishing with Brasso will bring them back a bit. (Don’t go too far, or you’ll be back to shiny newness.) The second way is to put a pool chlorine tablet in some water, day a cup and put the coins in the water. This will ‘age’ them so severe;y in just a few hours that they will look like part of a pirate treasure that spend years on the ocean floor.

Dollar Coin Shirt

December 26, 2009

I was trying to think of how one could let any prospective cashier know that it’s OK to give dollar coins as change. This could be done by repeatedly saying so at every transaction, but I think it might get tiring and make one sound like a crank.

I’ve come up with an alternative. A way that you only have to look like a crank. I’ve put a design up on CafePress for shirts, magnets, and a few other items sporting the reverse of the Presidential dollar (likely the most likely to be seen over the Sacagawea, since the sackie’s reverse now changes every year.) The words ‘I Accept Dollar Coins as Change’ accompany the image.  You can buy them from my CafePress shop here.

The items will be cheaper buying them from my link above as CafePress charges more if you buy from their ‘Market Place’ I.E. just searching for ‘dollar coin’ for example.

More Obscure than Esperanto

December 18, 2009

I think I’ve found a group more obscure than Esperantists. They call themselves ‘Georgers’ and the track paper money. Once again, I forget how I first encountered this phenomenon. I do remember at one point in my life, possibly when I worked at the UPS Store finding a dollar bill marked in red:  ‘Trace this Bill

Somehow I encountered this recently and checked it out.  It’s based on a website and looks like a fun, yet possibly unfulfilling hobby. I’ve entered in about $500 worth of bills in the last month or so and have zero hits to my name. (I had to scavenge about the house and look for the Christmas money in my wife’s drawer.)

The idea is that you go to the website: and input your zip code, the bills denomination, series # and serial number. If you sign up for a free account, you can be notified if any of your bills receives a hit, ie someone else, somewhere enters it on the website.

As I said though, the folks who are hardcore about this call themselves ‘Georgers’. They even have gatherings from time to time.

Unlike Esperantists, who can pretty well hide when not actively speaking Esperanto, to be a Georger, one has to go out and spend dollar bills with red marking on them.  At times, these markings are noticed and met with derision from cashiers, (perhaps more derision than those of us who spend dollar coins.) The fun side is when you get a hit on one of your bills and you can see how far it’s traveled. Try it, you may like it.

No Space for a Dollar Coin?

December 17, 2009

One of the ‘anti’ statements about using the dollar coin is that “most cash registers don’t got no place to put them in the drawer” This is most certainly UNtrue. The first thing I did was to Google ‘cash drawer’ I discovered that if you really want to, there are available a very few cash drawers with only 4 spots for coins and bills. The rest of them have at least 5 places for coins, some of them have 8.

Then I reached back into my memory of my 5 months working in the UPS Store. That register had 5 spots for coins, the 5th place being used for rolls of coins.

So then this past week, my family took our allotment of Christmas cash and set out to trade it for presents to be given to each other. In every store I made purchases the drawer had 5 slots and the 5th slot was always bare empty. The slots then could be used for these denominations of coins: $.01, $.05, $.10, $.25, $1.00. I don’t see a problem.  Plus, after elimination of the dollar bill, there’d be another slot open to keep rolled coins.

As an addendum, one other argument is that no one can carry that many dollar coins around; they’re just too heavy. To that I say: you only need to carry 4 of them around if you manage your cash correctly. Or you could throw them in a jar every night like (apparently) many Canadians do. (Canada has a circulating 1 and 2 dollar coin called the Loonie and Twoonie.)

The only person I can imagine who needs to carry around large amounts of dollar coins is a street vendor who routinely makes change to his customers.

What I’m saying is that using a $1 coin in the US would not be the end of the world.