The U.S. Mint today unveiled a new design for the penny, leading to a nationwide shrug and water-cooler debate over why we still have them.
We've had the penny since 1793. Adjusted for inflation, a penny then would be worth 12 cents now.
1. To make my change jar look more impressive.
2. Dimes are to small and nickels are to big to be placed in ones nose properly.
3. People still get excited about wheat pennies.
4. All of the $x.99 signs that fill retail stores would have to be scrapped.
5. Abe Lincoln was guaranteed 2 pieces of currency in his contract.
6. Everybody would feel real old if they had to start recollectin the days when they still had pennies.
7. You still need to have a base price for T-Wolves tickets.
8. The Masons
9. Propping up the copper market.
10. Kids like to make noise when they throw a little something in the collection plate.
Why do we still have the penny? Maybe it's the same reason we still have paper dollars. A paper dollar now is just as silly as a paper quarter would have been back in the days of my youth.
Some people go appopleptic about even the appearance of their money changing, for some reason. For reasons I will never quite get, it's a sensitive issue with some.
I think that the only way a dollar coin will ever catch on is if it's the only option. The only way pennies will go away is if they just fly in the face of all the whining and stop producing them. Al this requires an ounce of political courage, so don't hold your breath.
Hey Matt, nice list. I do want to point out however that Penny's have very little copper anymore, it's just a covering. Here's a little trick. Put a penny in your garbage disposer for 3 seconds. Take it out and you will see how little "copper" penny is made out of.
I can tell you this, if they were to get rid of the penny it would be a boon for the software industry, think Y2K times ten.
I heard once that the reason they keep the penny around has something to do with inflation, everything would get rounded up to a nickel. Sound reasonable, but I'm skeptical.
I learned from my wine expert wife a few years ago that putting a penny in a glass of wine can really smooth it out.
The penny or the wine?
As I read Matt's list I had the same thought as Dean. So I when and checked the U.S. Mint Coin Specifications page. According to the mint you have only 2.5% of the penny (weight 2.5g) that is copper. The remainder is zinc. So with a little math the total amount of copper in a penny is 62.5 milligrams, if I did my unit conversions correctly. Where as a dime (the smallest and lightest of the "silver" coins) is just over 2g of copper. (All but 8.33% according to the spec. The remainder is Nickel.) Quarters and the of maligned Half Dollar coin use the same metal as the dime and are heavier so contain more copper.
When I lived on U.S. Army bases in West Germany in the early '80s, they phased out our pennies (rounding at the PX, commissary, and Stars & Stripes bookstore to the nearest nickel), and then released a flood of Susan B. Anthony dollar coins. There was some confusion for a couple months, but we eventually adjusted. Of course, in the insular economy of overseas military bases, you can get away with weird experiments that would be very difficult to pull off on a national scale.
When my daughter was in Germany (husband in Iraq), we went for a two week visit. I was amazed at the convenience of 1 and 2 Euro coins. I was also amazed that bank ATM’s dispensed any denomination of paper currency in any combination requested, with no fee and the best exchange rate available.
I would imagine we have the penny because the U.S. Mint still turns a profit by manufacturing them.