Should Dollar Coins Replace Dollar Bills?

Friday, August 23, 2013
Sacagawea dollar coin

Four members of the U.S. Senate are pushing legislation to replace the American dollar bill with dollar coins.


The COINS (Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings) Act is said to be a money-saving measure, according to its sponsors, Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John McCain (R-Arizona), Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming) and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma). They claim the switch from paper to metal-based currency would save the government $13.8 billion over the next 30 years.


It just so happens that these four senators represent “states with mining and metal-processing interests,” Steve H. Hanke, a Johns Hopkins University professor, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing against the plan.


But Americans may not like the idea. Two years ago, when similar legislation was introduced, a poll from Lincoln Park Strategies found that 76% of respondents “strongly opposed” the idea of the dollar coin.


Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve reportedly is sitting on more than a billion dollars worth of $1 coins because people don’t want to use them, Hanke says.


When Daniel Harris, owner of Archibald's Gentleman's Club in downtown Washington, D.C., heard of the proposal, he said it would make it more difficult for his dancers to collect tips.


“I think it would be very awkward for everyone involved. How much more would a coin weigh than a dollar bill? It would be very hard,” Harris told The Hill, adding that “you can’t put a coin in a garter belt.”


When The Hill asked McCain about Harris’ concern, the Republican senator replied: “Then I hope that they [the strippers] could obtain larger denominations.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Against the Dollar Coin (by Alexander Abad-Santos, Atlantic Wire)

Taxpayers to Fork out $3.79 Million in Good Money to Pay for Fed’s $3 Billion of Bad Cash (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

If Pennies Cost More than 2 Cents to Make, Why Do We Still Use Them? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Producing Pennies and Nickels Costs More Than Their Worth (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Kurtis Briggs 10 years ago
I love using the dollar coin! In my wallet I rarely have more than five or six dollar bills, so having five or six coins isn't a "burden" or cumbersome. I can use the coins in vending machines (ones that were produced in 2000 or later), at toll booths, self-checkout terminals, tip jars, and even human cashiers. I even use the "mysterious" two dollar bill quite often now since I use dollar coins. Every other industrialized nation has made the switch to a coin for their lower currency denominations with major savings and success. Why is it Americans are always terrified of literal and figurative, change?
Clifford Johnson 10 years ago
Whenever the Treasury mints a $1 coin, it gains $1 minus the production cost--just as the Federal Reserve now garnishes $1 in assets for every $1 bill it issues, minus the printing cost. The transfer of these face-value profits in issuing all $1 denominations, from the Federal Reserve to the Treasury, will result in gains VASTLY in excess of those reported by the GAO, which are taken as true by the proponents of S. 1105. In other words, the case for the change to a $1 coin is FAR stronger than that which is being made by the bill's sponsors and advocates. In particular, there will be prompt multi-billion dollar gains, rather than the predicted start-up losses. The difference is the subject of a lawsuit seeking findings of misrepresentation against the Treasury and GAO, now pending in the Ninth Circuit. See the articles "How The One Dollar Coin Can Cure The Economy" at, and "Federal Court Affirms Sweeping 'Bully Pulpit' Government Right to Lie," at
Paul Anderson 10 years ago
Where do I start? This article is so one-sided and contains so many myths about the dollar coin. First, would anyone have considered that a 25¢ bill would have been convenient in the 1970s? I suspect not. But since a dollar coin now serves the exact same purpose as a quarter then, why does a dollar bill make sense today? Dollar coins are easier to spend, faster to count and would save taxpayers a lot of money. Get rid of the penny, too, as that's a waste of money--it costs 2¢ to make each one! And once people were given the _facts_ about dollar coins, 66% APPROVED of using dollar coins instead of bills. Tipping strippers? How about tipping them with a $2 bill, cheapskates. I would suggest going to the Dollar Coin Alliance web site at to see why switching to the dollar coin will be good for America.

Leave a comment