With the furor over the large number of dollar coins sitting in the Federal Reserve vaults, estimated to be over $1.4 million by a Federal Reserve report, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner exercised his his authority to “mint and issue such number of $1 coins of each design selected under this subsection in uncirculated and proof qualities as the Secretary determines to be appropriate,” (31 U.S.C. § 5112(n)) and will cease to strike dollar coins for circulation. Dollar coins necessary to meet circulation demand will be drawn from existing inventory. The U.S. Mint will strike dollar coins to meet numismatic demands.
Announced as part of a blog post on the Treasury website by Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal S. Wolin, those wishing to purchase future Presidential $1 Coins will be able to purchase them directly from the U.S. Mint starting with the Chester A. Arthur dollar in Spring 2012. Prices and shipping costs will be announced in the near future.
Although this may be seen as a significant move, there is precedent for reducing striking of coins to primarily meet numismatic demand. Using a current example, the last time the U.S. Mint struck the Kennedy Half-Dollar for circulation was in 2001. In 2001, only Denver struck coins were delivered to the Federal Reserve.
Touted as part of President Obama’s executive order that established the executive branch’s Campaign to Cut Government Waste, Treasury estimates that this measure will save at least $50 million annually. Wollin wrote that this is, “the right decision for taxpayers. And going forward, we’ll continue our work to identify additional opportunities to support President Obama’s critical objective to cut waste and improve efficiency across government.”