Could the recent cyber attacks and growing severity of cybersecurity issues become the motivation for Congress to vote to reform United States currency?
According to Philip Diehl and Edmund Moy, former Directors of the U.S. Mint, the discussion as to remove the cent and paper dollar from circulation should be part of the current budget and tax overhaul debates.
The discussion is the same as it has been. The cost of zinc has risen causing the manufacturing costs of the Lincoln cent to climb above its face value. Even with operating efficiencies that have brought down the cost of manufacturing to its lowest levels in many years, the price of zinc keeps makes the materials cost more than the coin is worth.
As for the paper dollar, the Government Accountability Office has published several reports over the years that demonstrate the cost savings between using the paper dollar versus a coin dollar. The last GAO report (GAO-13-164T) concluded that using a dollar coin instead of the paper note “could potentially provide $4.4 billion in net benefits to the federal government over 30 years.”
This is not a new discussion. The only change is that this is being suggested by former Directors of the U.S. Mint from both sides of the aisle. Diehl was appointed by Bill Clinton and served from June 1994 through March 2000. Moy was appointed by George W. Bush and served from September 2006 through January 2011.
Earlier this year, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings Act of 2017 (COINS Act) (S. 759). McCain’s bill would require:
- Suspending the production of the one-cent coin for 10 years except for collectibles. After three years, the GAO would doe a study to determine whether production should remain suspended or should be reinstated. This would not demonetize the cent.
- Change the composition of the nickel to 80-percent copper and 20-percent nickel. This should bring down the cost of materials used in striking the five-cent coin to be on par with its value. Efficiencies in manufacturing could lower costs further.
- If the bill becomes law, two years after it is enacted, the Federal Reserve will begin removing $1 Federal Reserve Notes from circulation. This will probably be done by the banks who will take the notes on deposit and send them back to the Federal Reserve where they will be destroyed. Coins would take their place. The $1 FRN could still be produced for the collector market.
Sources report that the chances of McCain’s bill getting a hearing are minuscule. While having lunch with on congressional staffer, I was given three reasons why Congress will not address this issue:
- States with a large rural population primarily west of the Mississippi River represented by Republicans are unlikely to support the removal of the one-cent coin. Removal of the coin is viewed as a hidden tax against the people with fear mongering that suggest the government is keeping the extra money that would become on the rounding of prices.
- States with large poor populations, primarily in the south, and their advocates who believe that taking away the pennies are a way to separate more money from poor people who can least afford to lose the ability to pay in cents.
- Surveys show that most of the people older than Millenials are against removing the paper dollar. Since this population constitutes the majority of the voters and donors, the politicians are not about to make those people upset.
Another issue is that McCain is not popular amongst his fellow Republicans. If the issue is addressed, it is likely to be discussed as part of a bill that does not bear McCain’s sponsorship.
Given the partisan nature of politics and the perceptions of the members of Congress, there is a very little chance of the Coins Act or any similar legislation being enacted during this session of Congress.
British news outlets are reporting that millions of the old round pounds are still in circulation but that might not be bad news for many Britons. There are reports that many coin-operated systems have not been converted to take the new 12-sided £1 coin including supermarkets, where a £1 pound coin is necessary to “rent” a trolley, what the British call their shopping cart.
Two of the U.K.’s largest grocery store chains have announced they will continue to accept the round pound through the end of October because their trolley systems are not ready.
Charities are getting into the act by accepting the old round pound as donations. Many charities will continue to accept the coin through the final redemption period in March 2018 as donations. The charities are working with banks to deposit the coins.
It has been fascinating to read the news of how the U.K. has tried to adapt to the new coin. The biggest issue has been with the use of coin-operated equipment like trolley rentals and parking meters. It is a lesson to any active economy, such as her in the United States, as to what could happen should the composition of U.S. coins change.
Although there have been discussions as to whether to change the composition of United States coinage, it is not likely to happen for many reasons. What may be gaining support is dropping the $1 Federal Reserve Note in favor of a dollar coin. This would not require changes in coin-operated systems but a change in attitudes. Given how resilient Americans can be, it would be possible to end production of the $1 FRN and just endure the kvetching that will ensue. That will end when people get used the coin.
And now the news…
LeRoy Transfield A photo of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Native Contingent. Utah sculptor LeRoy Transfield had two uncles who served in the unit during World War I. → Read more at deseretnews.com
The discovery of gold rings and coins on a Swedish island sheds new light on the history of the area, and could give insight into the motives for a massacre which took place in the fifth century, archaeologists told The Local on Wednesday. → Read more at thelocal.se
Share → Read more at adweek.com
People buy gold in various forms like jewellery, coins etc. Here are 7 things to know if you are buying gold coins this Diwali. → Read more at economictimes.indiatimes.com
The Carl Brashear Foundation wants to bring its namesake’s legacy home to the veterans center that soon will bear his name. → Read more at thenewsenterprise.com
By Katie Lange Defense Media Activity → Read more at dodlive.mil
Shoppers have one day left to spend their old round £1 coins before they cease to become legal tender at midnight. Hundreds of millions of round pounds are yet to be handed in, as only hours remain before the coin drops out of general circulation. However, major banks and building societies have said they will continue to accept the old coins after the deadline on Sunday. They can also be deposited into any of the usual high street banks or through the Post Office. → Read more at independent.co.uk
Sunday, October 15, 2017 → Read more at jamaicaobserver.com
Currency modernization will help secure our financial futures and save billions of dollars for taxpayers. → Read more at cnbc.com
In an article that appeared in The Washington Post, it was reported that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has the department fly a special flag on top of the agency’s building in Washington, D.C. when he is in the office. On days Zinke is not in the office, a flag is raised for Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt.
Zinke, the former Montana congressman, is a former Navy SEAL commander and may have adopted this tradition from his time in the service.
Zinke also commissioned personalized challenge coins to give to staff and visitors.Challenge coins began as a military tradition during World War I when Ivy League students went to war and created these coins as an act of camaraderie. The challenge is that when a member draws his or her challenge coin and slaps it on the table, others must produce their challenge coin. If someone does not have their challenge coin, that person must buy a round of drinks for the group.
Typically, a challenge coin is a small medal, usually no larger than 2-inches in diameter, with the insignia or emblem of the organization. Two-sided challenge coins may have the emblem of the service on the front and the back has the emblem of the division or other representative services. Challenge coins are traditionally given by a commander in recognition of special achievement or can be exchanged as recognition for visiting an organization.
Receiving a challenge coin, especially from a high ranking official is supposed to be considered an honor.
Over the last 15 years, challenge coins became popular outside of the military as retired service members began to work in other areas of the government. The tradition has even been adopted by state and local governments and sometimes used to help raise money for municipal projects.
While most agencies have challenge coins, Zinke may be the only secretary to have one personalized. There was no report on the cost of the coins to taxpayers.
Although having a personalized challenge coin along with his flag ritual is unusual for a Cabinet-level official, there appears nothing wrong with him doing this. Zinke appears to have enthusiastically embraced his job at the Department of the Interior and if he uses the challenge coin to help reward department employees, then this is a good move on his part.
- Official portrait of Secretary Zinke courtesy of the Department of the Interior.
- Zinke Challenge Coin image courtesy of The Washington Post.
As the British are winding down the use of the Round Pound, stories are once again popping up about errors of the new 12-sided pound coin being sold for high prices on eBay.
Although the Royal Mint has admitted to manufacturing issues in trying to produce enough new pound coins to satisfy circulation requirements, their claim that the number of errors where the center are missing of the bi-metallic coins is likely post-minting errors.In other words, they are suggesting that people are removing the centers of the coin to claim they are errors.
To better understand why it is being claimed these are post-mint errors, I contacted a European-based dealer who has relationships with many of the continent’s mints. What follows is a summary of his explanation.
The Royal Mint coins money in a process similar to any other mint. Planchets are prepared, sent the coining press, stamped, dumped into a hopper, and sent down a conveyor where they are bagged. The bags are weight to a precise weight before the bags are accepted. Along the way, there are cameras and other sensors to detect errors.
All of the checks and sensors, including the weight of the coin, would be caught long before reaching the bagging section. Aside from the dimensions not being correct, the weight of the ring or center by themselves would not be up to the standard.
It is possible that the coins could separate in the bags during transport. However, these coins are transported to government authorized handlers. Some of them are similar to the companies that drive armored trucks here in the United States. They take the coins and prepare them for delivery to the banks.
The preparation process requires coins to be counted, rolled, and bagged. As part of the process, the coins are loaded into a system that transfers them to an automated line that brings the coins by conveyor to a machine that will either roll them or dump them in a bag. In both cases, the contents are limited by the amount they hold.
As part of the automated system, the coins are counted and check for size and weight so that if there are any coins that do not meet the Royal Mint’s standards are removed. The automated system would catch the ring and the center if they separated before the process.
Coins that are to be rolled are sent to a machine to roll them where they are counted and placed in rolls of £25 each. Those rolls are for bank and retail use and handled accordingly.
Bagged coins are used by bulk handlers such as the coin-op industry. Bags with £100 of coins are counted before being placed in the bag. If the coin cannot be verified before it is placed in the bag then the coin is rejected.
Is it possible for the coin to separate in the £100 pound bag prior to circulation? Of course, it is. However, there is one more check before the coins reach the consumer, and that is the coin-op machine itself.
Coin-op machines have mechanisms to try to prevent accepting counterfeit money and to ensure it is giving the proper change. Machines just do not eject any coin in its hopper. These checks include the weight, dimensions, and magnetic signature. The magnetic signature measures what happens after magnetic energy is flashed on the coin. Think about it as measuring how the coin would reflect light but use magnetism instead.
A pound coin that had separated would not pass the magnetic signature test and be rejected.
Although there are a number of points along the process that could fail, the number of checks between the Royal Mint and the consumer, it is highly unlikely that all of these separated pound coins exist.
It is possible that the coins being sold are from the reject bins of coin-op machines. However, the dealer I spoke with is suspicious of the number of coins being sold.This dealer told me that he will not buy 12-sided pound coins dated 2016 without their centers. Technically, they are not coins because they originally did not have the portrait of Queen Elizabeth on the front. Under British law, all legal tender coins must have the image of the monarch on the front. In 2016, the Royal Mint created about 2000 of these 12-sided test slugs for businesses to test coin-op systems ahead of the conversion. The dealer community has serious doubts that the test slugs had these errors and believes that people separated the centers from the rings.
My dealer contact said that nobody should pay more than “three-and-a-half quid” (£3.50 or $4.64 at the current exchange rate) for just a 12-sided pound outer ring. Even if it is not a legitimate Royal Mint error it is a nice conversation piece.
Examples of legitimate 12-sided £1 coin errors
The winning design was submitted by LeRoy Transfield, a sculptor from Orem, Utah.
In an interview that appeared in the Desert News, Transfield said that he had two uncles that served as members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force Native Contingent during World War I. This lead to his interest in learning about the history of the war.
For the obverse, Transfield titled it “Soldier’s Charge.” In the interview, Transfield said that he “didn’t want him to look like some model in an artist’s studio. I made his nose like it might’ve been broken. I wanted to give him a rugged looking face. … I wanted that feeling of combat”
Transfield said that the reverse was more difficult to for him to design. After several tried he came up with the “Poppies in the Wire”
Poppies are a fitting tribute since their use was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, a Canadian physician following the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier who died in battle. It was published in 1915 and first adopted by the American Legion to commemorate the American Soldiers killed in the war. It was later adopted by veterans groups within the British Empire including Canada.
Transfield is originally from New Zealand but moved to the United States to attend BYU-Hawaii. After graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, he moved with his wife to Orem where he operates a sculpting studio in his garage.
Based on the line drawing, it appears that this is going to be an excellent design when struck on a 40mm silver planchet. This is one time where it appears that the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts got it right in picking the design.
The World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin will be issued in 2018. According to the law (Public Law 113-212) , the U.S. Mint is limited to selling no more than 350,000 silver dollars. Each coin will have a $10 surcharge (a maximum of $3.5 million) will be paid to the U.S. Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars to assist the World War I Centennial Commission in commemorating the centenary of World War I.
Given the texture in the both the soldier on the front and the poppies on the reverse, it will be interesting to see if the U.S. Mint comes up with an enhanced uncirculated version. It could be extraordinary!
Could the recent cyber attacks and growing severity of cybersecurity issues become the motivation for Congress to vote to reform United States currency? According to Philip Diehl and Edmund Moy, former Directors of the U.S. Mint, the discussion as to remove the cent...read more
As you read this, the old round £1 coins have ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom. British news outlets are reporting that millions of the old round pounds are still in circulation but that might not be bad news for many Britons. There are reports that...read more
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As the British are winding down the use of the Round Pound, stories are once again popping up about errors of the new 12-sided pound coin being sold for high prices on eBay. Although the Royal Mint has admitted to manufacturing issues in trying to produce enough new...read more