Precious Metals

Legislation aims to prevent production of $1 trillion coin

The platinum American Eagle series is one of two that have coins in the highest U.S. coin denomination, $100 face value.

Images courtesy of the United States Mint.

For the third time in three years, legislation introduced in Congress seeks to restrict the face value of United States coins to no higher than $200.

The legislation is a response to a perennial proposal few take seriously — that the Treasury Department could use its existing authority to issue platinum coinage without congressional approval and create a $1 trillion coin that can be used to pay down government debt while the executive and legislative branches debate how to handle the current debt ceiling.

There has been no serious effort to amend Section 5112 of Title 31 of the United States Code dealing with Money and Finance to allow the Treasury secretary to authorize the U.S. Mint to strike a platinum coin with a significantly higher denomination beyond the current limit.

Currently, the highest U.S. coin denomination is $100, used on the 1-ounce .9995 fine platinum American Eagle coins and the 1-ounce .9999 fine gold American Liberty coins.

The latest Cancel the Coin Act bill, H.R. 440, introduced in the House Jan. 20 by Rep. William R. Timmons, R-S.C., was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

Two previous Cancel the Coin Act bills — S. 185 and H.R. 5472 — were introduced Feb. 2, 2021, and Sept. 20, 2021, respectively, by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Timmons, before referral to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and House Financial Services Committee.

Neither 2021 bill was reported out of the appropriate committees.

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