Saturday, February 24, 2007

DoughNut Dollar

A Sacajawea dollar coin with a hole in the middle.The US Mint is once again trying to get the American people to accept a dollar coin. They plan to release a series of coins bearing the images of US Presidents starting with George Washington. The Mint may make a mint on the coins people collect and take out of circulation, but this will not convince the public to use these coins.

The first attempt at a new dollar coin was the Susan B. Anthony coin which was too similar in size and color to a Quarter. People rejected this coin for everyday use. The next attempt was the Sacajawea gold coin. This too was rejected. I think it is the same size and weight as the Susan B. Anthony, but it has a gold colored finish. I haven't seen the new President dollars, but unless they are radically different than the previous two attempts to make dollar coins, people won't use them for everyday commerce either.

I believe the problem has to do with size and identification, the reasons that the Susan B. Anthony coins were rejected. As a person who likes the idea of dollar coins and who tries to use them, I think I understand the problem. Put 10 one dollar bills in you pocket and you would never know they are there. Put 10 one dollar coins in you pocket and they start to get heavy and the coins are still too hard to distinguish from a Quarter. A worn Sacajawea coin looks gold colored only in the right light.

I suggest they create dollar coins with holes in the middle. I should note that the Mint considered this and rejected the idea. I can't remember why. Maybe it was because it is hard to put an image on a coin when the center is missing. Even if you kept the diameter of the dollar coin the same, with a hole in the middle it would be easy to recognize and lighter. You can't make the coin too light (for example, aluminum coins feel like play money), but you can make a pocket full less noticeable.

The President dollar coin program is supposed to last about 10 years (four new coins a year), so it will probably be about 15 years before the next new dollar coin attempt. Maybe by then the Mint will have some people who can think outside the box and inside the hole.

Technorati Tags:

No comments: