US Coins

House bill seeks study on cent production costs

A House version of the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings Act of 2017 seeks a Government Accountability Office study to investigate ways to lower the production costs of the Lincoln cent while maintaining the denomination’s viability.

H.R. 2299, introduced May 2, also seeks removal of $1 Federal Reserve notes from circulation and replacing them with dollar coins. The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services for consideration. A more comprehensive Senate version, S. 759, was introduced March 29.

Legitimate gold coin resistance from the U.S. MintGold coin resistance at U.S. Mint and a deceptive but detectable counterfeit Indian Head cent: Another column in the June 12 Coin World details the discovery of what seemed to be a rare 1917 French Indo-China 10-cent piece.

The Senate version recommends suspension of cent production for at least a three-year period and a concurrent GAO study to analyze the effects of the suspension. The GAO study would explore whether the production of the cent should be permanently suspended or be reinstated.

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Production costs for the Lincoln cent have exceeded its face value for more than a decade.

S. 759 also seeks to alter the alloy of the Jefferson 5-cent coin to a 80 percent copper and 20 percent nickel mix. The current alloy is a mix of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel. Like the Lincoln cent, production costs for the 5-cent denomination have exceeded face value for 11 straight years.

S. 759, which also seeks to replace the $1 note with dollar coins, was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

H.R. 2299 mandates that a GAO report on the cent be issued no later than six months after the legislation’s enactment.

The bill also stipulates that no more $1 Federal Reserve notes be issued through the Federal Reserve into circulation beginning two years after the act’s enactment. Sufficient dollar coins would have to be struck to support a substitution of coins for notes in circulation.

Collectible versions of $1 Federal Reserve notes would be permitted under H.R. 2299. 

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