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« Coin Trivia 25 March 2008 | Archive | Yes, Yesterday's Post Was »

United States Cent Abolished

United States Cent no longer minted

(Washington, D.C.) -- Edmund C. Moy, current Director of the United States Mint, announced today that the one cent piece will no longer be produced by the mint. Citing the increasing price of zinc and copper as the main impetus for the decision, Moy explained, "We have no intention of continuing to spend more than it's worth to mint the cent. The time has come to get rid of the cent and round consumer prices accordingly."

"It's about time. It's outlived its usefulness," says Tony Terranova, a New York City coin dealer who paid $437,000 for a 1792 penny prototype in what is believed to be the denomination's highest auction price.

"Most people find them annoying when they get them in change," he said. "I've seen people get pennies in change and actually throw them on the floor."

The idea of a penniless society began to gain currency in 1989 with a bill in Congress to round off purchases to the nearest nickel. It was dropped, but the General Accounting Office in a 1996 report acknowledged that some people consider the penny a "nuisance coin."

Mark Weller, Director of Americans for Common Cents, was displeased with the news. Wellers feels that "any time you have more accurate pricing, consumers benefit."

Not so says Robert M. Whaples of Wake Forest University. He analyzed 200,000 transactions across seven states and concluded that consumers will not actually suffer. Purchases at gas stations and convenience stores are just as likely to come to $7.02 as $6.98, so the rounding up and rounding down will cancel themselves out. On average, shoppers will lose nothing.

"It's part of their past, so it's natural they want to keep it in their future," said Dave Harper, editor of Numismatic News.

Wireless network Virgin Mobile USA, who launched a save-the-penny campaign, was not available for comment. One can only presume their penny truck that used to travel cross-country to gather pennies for charity will be parked for good.






Reader comments

I dont beleive it for a second. The cent will be around for at least 5 more years.

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I was reading through wiki's compiled list of April fool's jokes in '08 so far, when I came across this. I thought it was amazing--but I think it could have been executed better (specifically "ABOLISHED" and the huge no smoking symbol over the penny).
I think if they did that, maybe more people would believe it. Anyways, Happy April Fool's!

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Wise guy: I agree that it will be around for a while, and I have a feeling it may last much longer than 5 years.

Nicholas: Yeah, abolished is a bit much, but I thought the no smoking sign over the penny was a nice touch. (Hey, that rhymes :)

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Good April Fool's joke, however, just for the sake of arguement, if this could be true, Has anyone ever heard of any merchant that would round DOWN to the lower price?

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Susan: As I understand it, merchants would round both ways. $1.01 and $1.02 would go to $1.00 and $1.03 and $1.04 would go to $1.05. In the end, it wouldn't end up making much of a difference.

The US used to have 1/2, two and three cent pieces and we figured out how to deal with those going away. We'd figure it out pretty quickly, it's just a matter of the decision being made.

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Will be waiting for you to tell everyone that this was all in fun. Great joke!

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Garry: Your waiting was not in vain. See today's post.

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what about the nickel.seem to me its costing more to make than its worth too.since all the money has little or no value.why not go to cardboard or plastic.i remember seeing a paper token from years ago.it looked in good shape then.some states had plastic tokens for something.try that.
as for the vending machines,well lets let the high payed genius type people do something

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Beckenbach: That's a good point. I have a feeling if the value of the nickel remains higher, the composition may be changed to use cheaper metals.

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