Coining it

There are fewer different types of coin in use in the US; just 1c, 5c, 10c, and 25c coins.

The 1c coin is a disc made off a copper colour metal and is often refered to as a penny.

The other three coins are also round, but made of a silver colour metal. The 5c coin is often called the nickel. The 10c coin is called the dime. The 25c coin is often called a quarter. So far, this may seem reasonable, but it gets a little stranger. The 10c coin is literally called a dime; no where on it is the amount mentioned. If you do not know that a dime is 10c you are lost. Moreover, it is a significantly smaller coin in both thickness and diameter than the 5c one, also obscuring the fact that its value is twice that of the nickel. The 25c coin also lacks any mention of 25c, but at least has its name spelt in full as a quarter dollar. Thus US coins are very confusing for first time visitors.

A third attempt to introduce a dollar coin is being made; the last two tries in 1979 and 2000 met with strong public resistance. The dollar bill survives, unlike the pound note which was removed from circulation in 1988, five years after the introduction of the pound coin. The new dollar coins feature the head of George Washington and further releases will appear with the heads of all deceased presidents; so they will be popular with collectors if nobody else. If the early press coverage is a good sign, then the popularity will be limited to that first category of people.

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Published in: on 25 February, 2007 at 9:53  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve gotten $1 coins a few times before, and someone gave me a $2 bill once.

  2. I have to admit that I had never even heard of a two dollar bill until you mentioned it. Apparently less than 1% of notes in circulation are $2 bills. You can get them at banks, if you ask. Alternateively, they are frequently handed out as change in the gift shop at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, whose portrait features on the front of the bill.


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