Innovators Coin Program: Issue Quarters, Not Dollars
But that overlooked the fact that because those coins cost
about 30 cents to make, a seigniorage profit of 70 cents accrues for each coin,
which means ending their production resulted in a net loss of $300 million per
year, that could go toward reducing the Federal debt.
But years after this had already been done, members of
congress continued to propose legislation to end wasteful spending on dollar
coins no one seems to want (which they won’t as long as paper dollars continue
to be made), even though they last so much longer, which saves money.
Anyone who is familiar with the state of modern coin
collecting in our country knows that after the 50 state quarter program, which
was followed by the national parks quarter program, and the Presidential dollar
coin program begun in 2007 that ended with this year’s Reagan coin, collectors
are weary of long-running series, though if done right, they could still work.
So along comes legislation introduced on September 14 by
Rep. Jim Himes (D- Conn.), the American Innovation $1 Coin Act (H.R. 6025),
which proposes a 14-year program with 4 coins per year starting in 2017 of
coins that honor innovators and pioneers from each state.
To be clear, the coins proposed in this legislation would
not be for circulation. They would be
numismatic issues, made for collectors and sold at a premium.
With the end of the presidential program, it is perhaps
inevitable that legislators would seek to create another such program, and
there is certainly nothing wrong in principle with the theme.
But I do not have the sense that collectors are at the
moment interested in another series of $1 coins not made for circulation.
Also, the legislation would not impact the Native American
$1 coin program, which would continue.
I think the Native American issues are sufficient for dollar
collector coins, and their designs are widely admired. To me it would be better to start thinking
about the quarter dollar program, which will be ending in a couple years.
In fact, the proposed innovation coin series would be better
suited to a quarter program, and its plan to issue coins honoring innovators
from each state would parallel the state focus of the current and previous
Plus, this kind of program works best as a circulating one
that has the potential to bring in new collectors the way the state quarters
did, and it is great for kids too.
But that said, it is critical that coins be widely
distributed by Federal Reserve banks.
This has been a problem with the America the Beautiful coins, which are
hard to collect from change.
The quarters worked and were a boon to numismatics because
they really did circulate widely.