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.
Gold 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.