Changing the Contents of Currency Coins


Son of Liberty
Last night I was reading this article about how the Fed is looking to change the contents of American Coin Currency. Specifically the two smallest, the Nickle and Penny.

on the Penny:

Background: Introduced by colonists accustomed to the British penny, the penny is the oldest U.S. coin still in circulation. Composed chiefly of copper until 1981, it's now made of copper-plated zinc, a metal used to rustproof car parts. Spot prices of copper and zinc have fluctuated in excess of 100% in recent years, so the Treasury would like authority in the 2011 budget to investigate using a cheaper material for the penny, and its higher-value brethren.

Cost to make one: 1.62 cents

Composition: 2.5% copper, balance zinc

Weight: 2.5 g

Diameter: 0.750 in., or 19.05 mm
on the Nickle:
Background: The metal composition of the nickel was changed during World War II, when the silver content was increased temporarily because nickel was needed for armament production. The Treasury would like to change the nickel's current metal content, too, because nickel spot prices have swung wildly this decade, fluctuating by as much as 500%.

Cost to make one: 6.03 cents

Composition: 25% nickel, balance copper

Weight: 5 g

Diameter: 0.835 in., or 21.21 mm

Thickness: 1.95 mm
Heres the first two paragraphs of the article:

It costs the federal government up to nine cents to mint a nickel and almost two cents to make a penny. So, in addition to overhauling Big Finance, President Barack Obama wants to tinker with America's small change.

The president's plan to save money by making coins from cheaper stuff seems simple on its face. But history shows it would rekindle an emotional debate among Americans who fear changing the composition of their currency will hurt its value.

Feds Likely to Face Uproar if They Overhaul Pocket Change -
Another Important note from the Article:
"making coins from more cost-effective materials could save more than $100 million a year, which isn't just pocket change," says Dan Tangherlini, the Treasury Department's chief financial officer.
This is an interesting debate. One that even curtails that of the "Lets get rid of the Penny" argument that went on a while back. There are plenty of Pros and Cons of changing the contents of our American Pocket change....

So which side are you on? Keep it the same or change it for cheaper?


Registered Member
I heard about this a while back too. They should change the change. :D It wasn't too long ago people were melting pennies for the copper. That is a bad thing. I don't carry cash. Havent seen money in a long time. The dollar is what the penny use to be in the 19th and 20th century when you get down to it. Thats inflation and economics for you.

I'm not sure if it would make a difference to see the penny go away so I'm a flip flopper on this one......


Staff member
At its surface it seems to make a lot of sense to change it up if its going to save us a lot of money.

Personally, I dont use change all the much. The only I ever use it is if I'm in line for fast food and I want to give exact change. Otherwise I get it and throw it into something to save.

So hell, I say do it if it makes sense in the long run. I wont miss them.


Son of Liberty
See thats what I initially thought to. I personally like to think of myself as a very Amatuer coin Collector. By very Amateur I pretty much mean I keep a stash of coins that I feel is cool for no other reason aside from just looks. Real Coin Collectors get pretty nitty gritty on details and all that. But heres the thing; as an Amateur, my thoughts are "Ok if they discontinue certain coins like they have in the past that makes old coins worth even more now, So lets do it!".

But the article actually addresses this issue on the effects it might have that we might not recognize simply because we dont think we use coins all that often.

Mind you I'm going to cut and paste some parts of this article... skipping the parts that dont address the point I'm trying to make or are referring to something else (counterfeiting)

Laundromats and makers of vending machines and coin-counting machines are poised to weigh in, too. Their machines recognize the size, weight and alloy content of current U.S. coins, so any change could force costly retoolings or replacements.

"We're all taxpayers, and we're all in favor of being able to mint coins at a more reasonable cost," says Brian Wallace, president of the Coin Laundry Association. "But we want to make sure there aren't unintended consequences that could deeply impact the small-business owner during a recession."

Talk like that worries Americans for Common Cents, a group that has for years lobbied on behalf of the penny. "The penny is a hedge to inflation," says Mark Weller, executive director of the group, which is funded in part by the zinc industry. Without it, he argues, merchants would round up to the nearest nickel

Feds Likely to Face Uproar if They Overhaul Pocket Change -
This also brings to light the concept of the Dollar Coin. There are 2 in circulation right now;

The Sacajawea:

and the Presidential:
(there are a bunch of these)

Would you even carry a $1 coin if thats what Vending Machines were changed to?


Registered Member
In Roman times, when the idea of currency was first being introduced, coinage was worth only what its base material was worth; this was to keep merchants at ease, so that if the government were to fall, the merchants would still have the same value in silver. One of the early crises of the Roman Empire occurred when the Roman Emperor decided it'd be a smart thing to debase the Roman coin and make it from progressively less silver, to expand the wealth of Rome; unconfident merchants just increased their prices, making for the first instance of rapid economic inflation.

But that was a long time ago.

These days, money is a symbol; the government has no risk of falling, and even if it did, people are so used to the idea of currency, they might still even accept it for barter in a lot of places. What's important is only the number symbolically indicated, not the material the coinage is made of. As such, this change should be welcome, especially considering that the predominance of money these days exists in digital form, which is infinitely worthless in comparison. With all the economic doomsaying going on, I see no reason why this shouldn't move forward, beyond trying to sabotage the Obama administration.


Registered Member
I agree with you, money is nothing more than a symbol. Once Obama destroys this once great country and the banks that are helping him all fall, then we will need cash once again! Scarry thought, like I said I don't use cash but I do keep a stash of money and guns at home just in case.... We need to be prepared. If the banks do indeed fall or a major computer catastrophe occurs then what???? I certainly hope nothing like that happens but you never know....