US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for July 5, 2021: Coins still have value

Despite the increasing use of noncash payments, there remains a substantial need for traditional forms of money, the coins and paper money that are the foundation of our hobby.

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint.

Despite the increasing use of noncash payments — credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, as examples — there remains a substantial need for traditional forms of money, the coins and paper money that are the foundation of our hobby.

As Paul Gilkes reports this week, a circulating coin shortage that began in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 continues to grip some regions of the country. The problem is not primarily a shortage of coinage in circulation; it is more of a problem of logistics, of getting coins from where they are to where they are in short supply.

In a video posted on Facebook by the United States Mint, Mint Director David Ryder explains the situation and asks Americans to do their part to get more coins into circulation.

Mint officials have made similar pleas in the past. July 23, 1974, Mint Director Mary Brooks released a statement on the “National Business Campaign for Penny Redemption.” At the time, a serious shortage of cents was hampering cash transactions. Brooks met with the “gentlemen” representing the top retail stores in the country.

In the meeting and her statement, Brooks said, “we are a nation of penny hoarders, mostly through careless rather than deliberate action.” She continued by noting that cents (she used “pennies” throughout her statement, though she knew better) were often seen as a nuisance denomination, tossed aside as unneeded and even being tossed into wastebaskets or being vacuumed up. She stressed, though, “I assure you that the country now is aware that the penny has some value.”

Ryder’s statement that coins still serve a useful purpose in an age when an increasing number of retail transactions are completed digitally is evidence that traditional forms of money still have value. That bodes well for our hobby. As long as coins are struck and used, some people will continue to collect them.


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