US Coins

Bills seek end to dollar coins

Legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate July 19 that would effectively end production of Presidential dollar coins if enacted.

H.R. 2593, the Wasteful Presidential Coin Act of 2011, would restrict production of the coins, prohibiting minting and issuance of the Presidential dollars when the number of issued coins not in circulation outnumbers the number of pieces in circulation by more than 10 percent.

The measure was introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Cal. It has one co-sponsor. A companion bill, S. 1385, was introduced in the Senate the same day by Sen. David Vitter, R-La. It has two co-sponsors.

The legislation was introduced in response to the 2011 Annual Report to the Congress on the Presidential $1 Program, released recently by the Federal Reserve. The report states that the Fed’s inventory tops 1.2 billion Presidential dollars, with an expected inventory of more than 2 billion coins at the end of the program, expected to occur in 2016.

Before she introduced H.R. 2593, Rep. Speier circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter on Capitol Hill calling for production of the coins to be halted. She cited the Federal Reserve’s inventory of 1.252 billion Presidential dollar coins, stating that continued production of the coins would be “wasteful” and “cost taxpayers millions of dollars to create.”

The House and Senate bills have been referred to committee for consideration.

If either bill is enacted, it could mean an indeterminate period of stoppage of production until inventories fall to levels that would require production of new coins, which could take years based on past experience. The Mint struck Anthony dollars for circulation for only two years, in 1979 and 1980, and it was not until 1999 that inventories had fallen to levels that required new dollar coins to be struck. The Anthony dollar’s replacement, the Sacagawea dollar, was struck for circulation in 2000 and 2001 only before production was halted due to lack of demand. All production since has been for numismatic sales only, including the Sacagawea coin’s current Native American dollar form. ¦

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