Monday, March 19, 2012
What's on Your Mind? President coins to be minted for collectors
What's on Your Mind?
- Mountain Lake isn't only resort that can claim 'Dirty Dancing'
- Historical warehouse building to get new life
- A few popular Malcolm atlases still around
- Column archive
Previous What's On Your Mind columnists
Q: I am looking to find out where the gold president dollar coins come from. I have been collecting the coins for five years. Up until about a month ago, SunTrust Bank distributed them. About a month ago when I inquired about them, they said they would not be getting any more since they are not being made any more. Here I am with 20 gold coins and I need about 20 more to complete the set. I am saving these for my grandchildren. Please help!
A: Will America ever have its own, widely accepted dollar coin -- a coin to rival the euro, or the British pound? Apparently not. For this, Dorothy, is a subject fraught with frustration and failure. The U.S. government has repeatedly tried to introduce dollar coins, with an eye to replacing our paper dollars, which wear out quickly, but the public will have none of it. The president coin is only the latest in a line of dollar coin failures, including the Susan B. Anthony dollar of the 1970s and the Sacagawea coin of more recent vintage. Vice President Joe Biden announced the end of this latest attempt in December, as reported by USA Today and Reuters: "They make hundreds of millions of these coins every year. Forty percent of them end up being returned to the Federal Reserve because nobody wants them." Ending production of the unwanted president coins, Biden said, would save the government $50 million a year. "We shouldn't be wasting money on money," U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner chimed in.
The thing is, dollar coins could actually save money, if we would only use them. They cost little to make -- the president coins aren't really made of gold, of course, but an inexpensive alloy -- and they last for decades. And they're recyclable. The word is the government will continue to mint the president coins now and then as collectors' items -- coming this spring: Chester A. Arthur! -- but in small quantities, and you won't get them for a dollar anymore. Check usmint.gov for updates.
As for what to do with those coins you already have, Dorothy, I'm sure the grandkids will still appreciate them, even if the set is incomplete. Or you could just spend them, which is what the government was hoping you would do all along.
And then, if you really, really wanted to be generous to your grandkids, you could consider buying the popular 22-carat gold American eagle coin, also produced by the U.S. Mint, and inspired by the old Augustus Saint Gaudens-designed $20 gold pieces of a century ago. They're beautiful coins, and we all know what gold is worth these days. Eagles are typically retailed through coin dealers. The New Orleans-based Blanchard and Co. was selling them last time I checked for $1,702 apiece.
Have a question? An answer? Call Kevin Kittredge at 777-6476 or send an email to email@example.com. Don't forget to provide your full name, its proper spelling and your hometown.
Look for Kevin Kittredge's column on Mondays.