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View Poll Results: Abolish the US Penny?
Get rid of the penny 32 62.75%
Save the penny 19 37.25%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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See a Penny, Pick it up... all the day you'll have good luck

Anti-penny push provokes passions
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Penniless America gaining currency or lacking common cents?

PLYMOUTH, Massachusetts (AP) -- In this village settled by thrifty Pilgrims, you can still buy penny candy for a penny, but tourist Alan Ferguson doubts he'll be able to dig any 1-cent pieces out of his pockets.

He rarely carries pennies because "they take up a lot of room for how much value they have." Instead, like so many other Americans, he dumps his pennies into a bucket back home in Sarasota, Florida.

Pity the poor penny!

It packs so little value that merry kids chuck pennies into the fountain near the candy store, just to watch them splash and sink. Stray pennies turn up everywhere: in streets, cars, sofas, beaches, even landfills with the rest of the garbage.

A penny bought a loaf of bread in early America, but it's a loafer of a coin in an age of inflation and affluence, slowly sliding into monetary obsolescence.

For the first time, the U.S. Mint has said pennies are costing more than 1 cent to make this year, thanks to higher metal prices.

"The penny is going to disappear soon unless something changes in the economics of commodities," says Robert Hoge, an expert on North American coins at The American Numismatic Society.

That very idea of spending 1.2 cents to put 1 cent into play strikes many people as "faintly ridiculous," says Jeff Gore, of Elkton, Maryland, founder of a little group called Citizens for Retiring the Penny.

And yet, while its profile of Abe Lincoln marks time in the bottom of drawers and ashtrays, the penny somehow carries a reassuring symbolism that Americans hesitate to forsake.

"It's part of their past, so they want to keep it in their future," says Dave Harper, editor of Numismatic News.

Gallup polling has shown that two-thirds of Americans want to keep the penny coin. There's even a pro-penny lobby called Americans for Common Cents.

The Mint's announcement is a milestone, though, because coins have historically cost less to produce than the face value paid by receiving banks. They are moneymakers for the government.

U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona wants to keep it that way. But when he asked Congress to phase out the penny five years ago he failed; he intends to try again this year. If he fails again, he joked recently, he may open a business melting down pennies to resell the metal.

The idea of a penniless society began to gain currency in 1989 with a bill in Congress to round off purchases to the nearest nickel. It was dropped, but the General Accounting Office in a 1996 report unceremoniously acknowledged that some people consider the penny a "nuisance coin."

'It's a joke'
In 2002, Gallup polling found that 58 percent of Americans stash pennies in piggy banks, jars, drawers and the like, instead of spending them like other coins. Some people eventually redeem them at banks or coin-counting machines, but 2 percent admit to just plain throwing pennies out.

"Today it's a joke. It's outlived its usefulness," says Tony Terranova, a New York City coin dealer who paid $437,000 for a 1792 penny prototype in what is believed to be the denomination's highest auction price.

"Most people find them annoying when they get them in change," he adds. "I've seen people get pennies in change and actually throw them on the floor."

Not Edmond Knowles, of Flomaton, Alabama.

No, he hoarded pennies for nearly four decades as a hobby. He ended up with more than 1.3 million of them -- 4.5 tons -- in several drums in his garage. His bank refused to take them all at once, but he finally found a coin-counting company, Coinstar, that wanted the publicity.

In the biggest known penny cash-in ever, they sent an armored truck last year, loaded his pennies, and then watched helplessly as it sank into the mud in his yard. They needed a tow truck to redeem it. "I still got a few ruts in the yard," says Knowles.

His years of collecting brought him about $1 a day -- $13,084.59 in all.

A penny saved was a penny earned for Knowles, but he took another lesson from the experience, too: "I don't save pennies anymore. It's too big a problem getting rid of them."

Another problem: deciding what to make the penny from. Copper, bronze and zinc have been used, even steel in 1943 when copper was desperately needed for the World War II effort. In 1982, zinc replaced most of the penny's copper to save money, but rising zinc prices are now bedeviling the penny again.

"I'm very surprised they haven't gone to plastic," muses Bill Johnson, a wheat-penny collector who owns the Plimoth Candy Co. (It uses an old spelling of Plymouth.)

Even in his shop where a penny still buys a Tootsie Roll, he leaves a few pennies scattered on top of the cash register for customers like Lindsay Taylor, of Westwood, who is buying $1.78 worth of candy.

She is carrying no pennies because her sons have taken them for their old-fashioned piggy banks, which automatically flip coins inside. Her 2-year-old, she says, "just loves pushing the button."

Others have their own reasons for valuing the humble coin, which borrowed its colloquial name from British currency. The "cent" -- meaning 1 percent of a dollar -- has been struck every year except 1815, when the United States ran out of British-made penny blanks in the wake of the War of 1812.

"It's part of the fabric of American culture," says David Early, a spokesman for the government's Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

New design
The penny took on the profile of President Lincoln, beloved as the Union's savior during the Civil War, on the centennial of his birth in 1909. The first ones carried ears of wheat on the tails side, but the Lincoln memorial has replaced those.

Four new tails designs with themes from Lincoln's life are planned for 2009, with a fifth permanent one afterward to summarize his legacy.

This redesign, the first major one since 1959, has heartened penny lovers.

Those who want to keep the penny coin include small merchants who prefer cash transactions, contractors who help supply pennies, and consumer advocates who fear rounding up of purchases.

"We think the penny is important as a hedge to inflation," says director Mark Weller of Americans for Common Cents. "Any time you have more accurate pricing, consumers benefit."

Joining with the lobby, the wireless network Virgin Mobile USA recently launched a save-the-penny campaign. Its penny truck will travel cross-country to gather pennies for charity.

Scores of charities esteem the penny, which many Americans donate without a second thought. Like shouts in a playground, pennies can multiply quickly.

"People don't like carrying them around, so we dump them into the nearest bowl," says Teddy Gross, who founded the Penny Harvest charity drive in New York City schools.

"By the end of any given year, most Americans have got a stash of capital which is practically useless, but it's within easy reach of a young person."

Last year, his children raked in 55 million pennies, which had to be redeemed with help from the Brink's security company. They also bagged about 200,000 spare nickels.

By the way, the Mint says nickels are also costing more to produce than they're worth. Pity the poor nickel?
What do you do with your pennies? Save them, spend them, let them collect dust at the bottom of your bag? Or just leave them?

Should the penny be abolished? I'm not sure that it serves a useful purpose, other than for nostaligia's sake...

I beleive other countries have already gotten rid of their penny coins, shouldn't we follow suit? Does it really serve a purpose?

I have a jar that sits by my front door that my change gets dumped into - every so often I will take the jar of change to a place where I can cash it in for real money, but those places are getting harder to find...
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think abolishing the penny is a dumb idea, and wouldn't happen. You simply have to have a .01 in the money system.

The problem is they are using expensive metal for the coin. The Japanese 1yen coin (worth less then the penny) is still around. They almost feel like they are made of plastic.

I say, redesign the penny so that it is a lighter and cheaper to make coin.
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I use debit or credit everywhere I go, and when I spend cash I almost never count out the change.

I'd be alright with tossing the penny.

All of mine end up going to Sul Ross. At A&M a former school president, Sul Ross, would tutor students for pennies and because of that around exam times people will go and leave pennies on Sul Ross's statue, so I have a few jars of pennies that go there come finals.

Edit - Why do we need the penny? It seems to me like it's only around thanks to 14.99 pricing instead of 15.00, and if you factor in taxes around 10% or so there wouldn't be a need for pennies, and when you're making big transactions you generally don't pay for it in physical cash, you wire the money via banks.
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincentt
I think abolishing the penny is a dumb idea, and wouldn't happen. You simply have to have a .01 in the money system.

The problem is they are using expensive metal for the coin. The Japanese 1yen coin (worth less then the penny) is still around. They almost feel like they are made of plastic.

I say, redesign the penny so that it is a lighter and cheaper to make coin.
if you redesign the penny with a "plastic" type material, would you have to redesign all the change receptacles and counting machinges to "read" the plastic material?
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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if you redesign the penny with a "plastic" type material, would you have to redesign all the change receptacles and counting machinges to "read" the plastic material?
Aren't those machines based on the weight of the coin?

I'm pretty sure the majority of machines out there are very computerised, so you wouldn't have to do much recalibration. When the bottle re-filling guy comes up it seems like it would just be a matter of updat ing some software and you'd be golden.
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorade Frost

Edit - Why do we need the penny? It seems to me like it's only around thanks to 14.99 pricing instead of 15.00, and if you factor in taxes around 10% or so there wouldn't be a need for pennies, and when you're making big transactions you generally don't pay for it in physical cash, you wire the money via banks.
in a lot of states, the sales tax isn't a 'round number', take the state of new jersey, where the sales tax is 7 percent... a 1 dollar item would be 1.07 - a 2 dollar item is 2.14 --so do you round up or round down - eventually it'd all even out - but i know a bunch of thrifty types who'd be peeved at continually losing that 1 penny on the round ups..
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah, I know, it's 8.625 where I love, but I'm pretty sure once you're rounding up to a dime there wouldn't be a long term difference between 8.625 and 10% sales tax. I guess at first it would be a problem, but it would basically just mean the dime is replacing the penny.
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I say get rid of all coins. I hate them. If I get change back from a store, more often than not, I just throw it on the ground. Quarters included. The sound of it in my pocket is annoying and I can't stand it flying everywhere in the car. Cards and bills are the way to go IMO.
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Old 07-03-2006, 08:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Just wait a few years and phase out cash all together. Debit cards are more popular than ever and are much neater/cleaner than carrying around cash. Of course, without cash, I'm not sure what I'd slip in the stripper's g strings. Maybe they'll have to have a swipe reader on sniffer's row.
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Of course, without cash, I'm not sure what I'd slip in the stripper's g strings. Maybe they'll have to have a swipe reader on sniffer's row.
I think it was australia, a place that didn't have singles... the strip clubs had vouchers you could buy - and you'd give the strippers the vouchers that they'd cashin at the end of the night

What about toll roads though? how do you pay a toll? not all toll roads have that pass thingie that stays in the front windshield...
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by maleficent
I think it was australia, a place that didn't have singles... the strip clubs had vouchers you could buy - and you'd give the strippers the vouchers that they'd cashin at the end of the night

What about toll roads though? how do you pay a toll? not all toll roads have that pass thingie that stays in the front windshield...
In Houston I know that in some places they've built tollroads that are purely toll-tags which is nice, but in other places you can run down to a gas station and buy coins for 75 cents or what ever and pay with those instead of with cash.
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I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."
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Old 07-03-2006, 11:17 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Rounding already happens. Federal fuel tax (at the pump) includes a 9/10 of a cent piece of tax (that get's rounded up). Also, state and city sales taxes get rounded up if they do not equal a penny amount. Frankly, I think the penny is a pain in the ass. Get it gone!
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Old 07-03-2006, 12:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I think they should wait until I cash in my pennies THEN get rid of them.

Wouldn't it suck if you had YEARS worth of pennies, but one day they decide to make them valueless?

You'd be stuck with a lot of worthless coins... of course you could always melt them for the metal, espcially since the real copper ones are worth more than the one cent itself!
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Old 07-03-2006, 12:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The penny denomination is fairly useless. I would stop production of new pennies and simply let the current circulation run its course until they eventually stop being used.
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Old 07-03-2006, 12:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Jason, not to fret. They would not stop being legal tender, they would simply stop making them and the federal reserve would begin to collect them from the banks, likely to meltdown and resell the metals.
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Old 07-03-2006, 01:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I dunno, some places don't accept 2 dollar bills.
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:31 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Well, technically they are required to. It clearly states, "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private". It's similar to stores that won't take over an $x bill. Frankly, it's bullshit. I've not seen a case where this was tried in court, but I'd like to. My understanding is that legal tender MUST BE TENDERED at a point of sale. If you pay for a 2006 Ford Escort with $1 bills, so be it. *shrug*

Also note that you still wouldn't "lose" the pennies... you can always take them to the bank (just like $2 bills or $1/$5 silver certificates)

Last edited by xepherys; 07-03-2006 at 02:32 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:49 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If the concern is over the waste of money associated with the one cent coin... why not save money elsewhere in the currency.

Get rid of the paper dollar once and for all. Replace them with long lasting coins. I can assure you it is not the end of the world.

Better yet, let's get rolling on that cashless society thing...
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:51 PM   #21 (permalink)
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.

Better yet, let's get rolling on that cashless society thing...
whatever would the tooth fairy bring? an amazon.com gift certificate?
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:54 PM   #22 (permalink)
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whatever would the tooth fairy bring? an amazon.com gift certificate?
Visa sells 'Credit Cards' that have money on them that can be used for however much is on the card at any store that accepts visa. It's like limited cash or a very broad gift card depending on how you want to look at it.
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Old 07-03-2006, 04:43 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Charlatan
If the concern is over the waste of money associated with the one cent coin... why not save money elsewhere in the currency.

Get rid of the paper dollar once and for all. Replace them with long lasting coins. I can assure you it is not the end of the world.

Better yet, let's get rolling on that cashless society thing...
Surely you jest...

The paper dollar does not cost more than US$1 to print. The problem with the penny is that it costs more than 1 cent to put a 1 cent piece into circulation. That has no bearing on your issue. In fact, printing $1 bills is cheaper than minting $1 coins. Coins are also not really less likely to be counterfeit, though $1 bills are not worth the time and effort for most criminals either. If they made $100 coins, people would make fake ones with ease. Even if they shoved RFIDs into them, that's easy to counterfeit.
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:36 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Well, technically they are required to. It clearly states, "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private". It's similar to stores that won't take over an $x bill. Frankly, it's bullshit. I've not seen a case where this was tried in court, but I'd like to. My understanding is that legal tender MUST BE TENDERED at a point of sale. If you pay for a 2006 Ford Escort with $1 bills, so be it. *shrug*

Also note that you still wouldn't "lose" the pennies... you can always take them to the bank (just like $2 bills or $1/$5 silver certificates)
There's something called Invitation to Treat(google it) that covers this. It's the reason stores can refuse to accept 100$ bills and nobody is going to take 1$ bills for that Ford Escort.

As for the OP, It depends on how much change I get back and where. I hate the smell of coins so I don't really carry them if I can get away with it. If it's a little bit of change I'll toss it in the "need a penny, take a penny" dish or a donation jar if there is one. Alot of change gets tossed in a drawer at home and gets turned in every few years.
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Old 07-04-2006, 07:29 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Surely you jest...

The paper dollar does not cost more than US$1 to print. The problem with the penny is that it costs more than 1 cent to put a 1 cent piece into circulation. That has no bearing on your issue. In fact, printing $1 bills is cheaper than minting $1 coins. Coins are also not really less likely to be counterfeit, though $1 bills are not worth the time and effort for most criminals either. If they made $100 coins, people would make fake ones with ease. Even if they shoved RFIDs into them, that's easy to counterfeit.
It may be cheaper to print a $1 bill that stamping a coin, but a coin last for many years and bill only for a few months, so coins are much cheaper in the long run.

Get rid of the penny, it's not that big of a deal.
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Old 07-04-2006, 07:36 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Exactly Splck... in the long run coins are much cheaper as they last longer.

Additionally, you weirdos should start using $2 currency... what the fuck is it with Americans and their fear of the $2 bill? I hate having a mittfull of singles...
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:52 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I like my pennies. They add up quickly. I find them on the ground often, discarded and neglected.

Maybe it's an obsessive-compulsive thing, but I make it a point to give exact change whenever I pay for something. Pennies are crucial to this habit.
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:56 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Exactly Splck... in the long run coins are much cheaper as they last longer.

Additionally, you weirdos should start using $2 currency... what the fuck is it with Americans and their fear of the $2 bill? I hate having a mittfull of singles...
because we'd have to learn how to count by 2's... and cash register drawers don't have a place for 2 dollar bills - wheni worked retail - I hated them..
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Old 07-04-2006, 09:03 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Personally I'd be worried that if they started circulating 2 dollar bills extensively that the price of a soda would go up to 2 dollars >_>
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Old 07-04-2006, 09:15 AM   #30 (permalink)
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I have a ton of pennies sitting in a tin on our dresser in the bedroom. I keep saying I'm going to roll them and take them to the bank, but haven't yet. Of course, I also have a box filled dimes and nickels too. I think pennies are a waste and since they cost more that one cent to make, they should be eliminated. Plus, with the elimination of pennies, I won't become the old lady searching through a huge change purse digging them out to pay for something as JJ says I'm going to grow up to be.

But I guess I should probably roll the pennies in case they are elminated and become obsolete. I'd hate to be out of some money that adds up even though it's worthless on it's own.
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Old 07-04-2006, 09:37 AM   #31 (permalink)
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But I guess I should probably roll the pennies in case they are elminated and become obsolete. I'd hate to be out of some money that adds up even though it's worthless on it's own.

I dunno, I was reading that 1.50 worth of pennies is ~1 lb, and 1 lb of copper is worth ~2.50
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Old 07-04-2006, 10:13 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I dunno, I was reading that 1.50 worth of pennies is ~1 lb, and 1 lb of copper is worth ~2.50
The penny is not copper. It is copper-plated zinc (after 1982), and before that it was an alloy of zinc and copper (other alloys, including bronze, precede that). The penny hasn't been pure copper since 1837.

Get rid of the penny and the one dollar bill. Introduce more dollar coins--$1 and $2 coins. Replace the $1 with a $2 bill if necessary, but otherwise I'd like to see more coins and less paper.
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:02 AM   #33 (permalink)
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the problem with coins though, is most people don't see it as real money and it just goes into a pocket, bottom of the purse, night stand... I surely don't want to carry around 1 and 2 dollar coins - it was annoying in the UK and australia - I hated the dollar coins we had... money is paper...

How much of the earth is being stripmined to make the coins that are already in circulation? How much environmental damage is being done melting down metal into coins...
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:42 AM   #34 (permalink)
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It seems like it would be a LOT more easily to lose 1 and 2 dollar coins. I mean, pennies, nickles and quarters can't get you much, but when you lose a handful of 1 and 2 dollar coins you'll be losing a bit of cash.
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Old 07-04-2006, 12:03 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorade Frost
It seems like it would be a LOT more easily to lose 1 and 2 dollar coins. I mean, pennies, nickles and quarters can't get you much, but when you lose a handful of 1 and 2 dollar coins you'll be losing a bit of cash.
Yeah, but when you clean out da's favorite chair five years down the line... you make some moolah.
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Old 07-04-2006, 12:03 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guccilvr
I say get rid of all coins. I hate them. If I get change back from a store, more often than not, I just throw it on the ground. Quarters included. The sound of it in my pocket is annoying and I can't stand it flying everywhere in the car. Cards and bills are the way to go IMO.
I don't have 4.5 tons of pennies around but I do have a few scatterd about with other change. I spend them if I have them and have the opportunity but for the most part they are in my glove box, in a kitchen drawer, or on my dresser. Mostly pennies end up in these heaps but there are other coins in there too.

I don't drop my hard earned cash on the ground. I would probably follow guccilvr's travels just to claim his spare cash! haha...

Drop the pennies from our currency....their time has come on gone just like the beta max VCR.
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Old 07-05-2006, 07:11 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I say get rid of it and the one and five dollar bills, dollar bill, which would be replaced with a coin.

In the Philippines, the standard unit is the peso, which is a coin about the size of a quarter, and is worth about $.02 American. They have smaller value coins, including a 5 centimo coin. A little calculation, and we find that it would take ten of these tiny coins--smaller in diameter than a dime, and with a hole in the middle, to equal our penny.

I think they have five peso coins, which when we went ther was the standard fare on a Jeepney, which is a kind of public transportation. A tricycle (a 50cc motorcycle with a cart builta round it that can hold three people) was three pesos, or about six cents. Their bills start at 10 pesos, or a little less than a quarter.

I have no point with that, I just found it interesting.

Gilda

Last edited by Gilda; 07-05-2006 at 10:10 PM..
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Old 07-05-2006, 09:37 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Australia's smallest legal tender is 5 cents. We had 1 and 2 cent coins, but they were dumped 10 years ago or so...

Also, $1 and $2 are coins, and all the other notes are plastic! That is the problem with US small bills - they are worn out so quickly that they have to be replaced really regularly. Plastic bank notes can easily survive the swimming pool or washing machine.

In terms of stores - if you pay by credit card / eftpos, you pay the exact amount of your purchases, but if you use cash, it is rounded (up or down) to the nearest 5 cents. You very quickly realise what a pain in the arse the small coins were. I say 'dump em'.


edit - I did a quick search as there was an old thread that actually had images of all the Oz notes, but, alas, I could not find it
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Last edited by spindles; 07-05-2006 at 09:46 PM..
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