Monday, May 05, 2008

Dollar Coins: Stating the Obvious

Andrea brought home a new dollar coin tonight. It commemorates our fifth U.S. president, James Madison. It also signifies the stupidity of the U.S. treasury.

Considered "The New Coke of Coinage," the Susan B. Anthony coin was a disastrous attempt at reinvigorating the dollar as metal rather than paper. It was significantly more portable than what it replaced, the Eisenhower dollar. The Eisenhower dollar had a diameter of 38.1 mm compared to the Susan B. Anthony's 26.5 mm. That's a rather huge difference of 12.4 mm. While 38.1 mm is too big, 26.5 mm is too small, when compared to a quarter. At 24.26 mm, there's only a 2.26 mm. In other words, not enough of a difference to feel when digging into your purse or pocket for a dollar and coming up with a quarter, or vice versa.

Between the Susan B. Anthony (disparagingly known as "The Carter Quarter"), the Sacajawea dollar, and now this Madison coin, the U.S. Mint seems insistent on sabotaging an American dollar coin. I'm not against dollars, per se, but dollar coins will never have a chance in the U.S. as long as they're the "same size" as quarters.

This is yet another time when we can learn from Canada. The difference between their quarter and their dollar coin (loonie) is significant. The loonie differs in color (bronze vs. silver), thickness (.17mm), and weight (1.27g). The numbers aren't drastic but the contrast is more than enough to avoid confusion and pass the "pocket test." C'mon, America, get with it!

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