Friday, December 15, 2006

Nickels and Pennies

Well, here's an argument for getting rid of smaller coins, if I ever heard one. With the current market for metals, a penny is actually worth about 1.12 cents of materials, and a nickel is worth about 6.99 cents. They're worth more as melted ingots than as coins.

As a result
U.S. Mint officials said Wednesday they were putting into place rules prohibiting the melting down of 1-cent and 5-cent coins, with a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for people convicted of violating the rule.

I have a feeling that's not going to stop anyone, and how would they know that any specific metal ingot of zinc or nickel or copper came from melted coins? And I'm rather stuck on a simple question: why not make all coins from some cheapo metal (aluminum?) so that they don't have to worry about the value of the metal in the coin being related to the face value.

Coins are just placeholders for "real" currency, anyways -- like dollar bills represent a specific value. Bills are just paper, why can't coins be just metal? They may have at one time been actual currency amounts, but perhaps it's time we dispense with that particular charade.

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