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Friday, May 23, 2008

The Lincoln Cent

Greg Mankiw has been pushing to eliminate the penny, so he's pleased that Barack Obama might consider it:

Barack's Best Idea Yet, by Greg Mankiw: Reported by USA Today:

Barack Obama, the presidential candidate of "change," told a town hall meeting recently that he'd "seriously consider" eliminating the penny if Lincoln's face could be placed on another coin.

I kind of embarrassed to admit that in all my discussions of this topic, the social significance of removing Lincoln's image from coins in circulation never occurred to me. I only thought about the economics (I've been a bit more resistant to the idea than a lot of people, but I leave them in the trays at the counter too).

If we do eventually do this and move Lincoln's image to another coin, who would he replace? Does it bother anyone else that it would be the first step toward an eventual need to rebase and issue a new currency?

In any case, it doesn't sound like the mint is expecting the penny to go anywhere anytime soon:

A Penny Redesign…Coming in 2009!, US Mint: In 2009, the United States Mint will mint and issue four different one-cent coins in recognition of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the production of the Lincoln cent. While the obverse will continue to bear the likeness of President Lincoln currently on the penny, the reverse will change to bear four different designs, each representing a different aspect of the life of Abraham Lincoln. ...

A new design will be issued approximately every 3 months in 2009. The designs for the coins will be chosen by the Secretary of the Treasury after consultation with the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts, and after review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. ...

These coins will be issued for circulation in quantities to meet the needs of the United States—both for commerce and for collectors. In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury has the authority to mint and issue numismatic one-cent coins in 2009 with the exact metallic content as contained in the 1909 one-cent coin (95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc). These numismatic versions will be included in the United States Mint’s annual product offerings.

At the conclusion of the 2009 Lincoln One-cent Redesign Program, the 2010 (and beyond) one-cent coin will feature a reverse design that will be emblematic of President Lincoln's preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country.

Read more about the one-cent coin, which has been part of the United States circulating currency since 1793!

    Posted by on Friday, May 23, 2008 at 02:07 PM in Economics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (20)


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