Since the Silver Dollar, last minted in 1935, the US Mint honored Eisenhower from 1971 to 1978, Susan B. Anthony from 1979 to 1999, and Sacagawea from 2000 onward with their likenesses on dollar coins.
The large Eisenhower dollar coins weighed between 22 and 32 grams depending on their metal composition with a diameter of more than 38 millimeters. In other words, just a few of the Eisenhower dollars became both bulky and heavy in pants’ pockets or in womens’ purses.
With the Susan B. Anthony coins, the size (more than 10 millimeters in diameter smaller) and weight (just over 8 grams) made the dollar coins easier to handle and better for pockets and purses. Except, the Susan B. Anthonys could be easily confused with quarters even though the dollar coins were slightly heavier and slightly larger than the quarter coins.
Next, the Sacagawea coins minted with a manganese brass outer coating in a golden color made them visually discernable from other coins.
But, people still do not want to carry dollar coins. In fact, many people see the dollar coins so infrequently, they think the golden Sacagawea dollars are either fake or foreign.
But, lack of acceptance does not deter the US Mint.
In 2007, the US Mint began the Presidential Dollar coin programs with coins memorializing the first four presidents. They continue the program releasing four more presidential coins each year in the order they served in office.
In addition to the Presidential coins, the reverse of the Sacagawea dollar changed in 2009 to recognize Native American contributions. The Mint plans to release a new reverse for the Native American dollar coins at least until 2016.
But, how many times do you receive dollar coins in change? Probably rarely….and probably businesses just do not want to deal with them.
However, the US Mint began a purchase program for their Presidential dollar coins that included free shipping to disperse the coins and get them into circulation.
A minor problem occurred. People used their credit cards to buy the dollar coins to increase their purchase points or airline miles with their credit card. When they received the coins, they promptly deposited them into their banks.
Of course the US Mint was not happy.
Here’s an interesting blog commentary on the purchase of the dollar coins by Dave Harper of Numismatic News: Funny or Evidence of Complete Dollar Coin Failure?
For the Wall Street Journal article, take a look here: Miles for Nothing: How the Government Helped Frequent Fliers Make a Mint
Do you see any correlation between the dollar coins and American car makers? Could it be that neither the US Mint nor the American car manufacturers are making products we want to use?
On the other hand, there’s an adage heard first from parents and grandparents, “If you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Should the US Mint receive boos and hisses or kudos for trying – again and again and again…
Just think about it.