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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Your Money’s Worth

Is it even copper anymore?

It used to be acceptable and almost a compliment to have someone say to you, “A penny for your thoughts?”  Of course that was back when you could buy something for a penny.  While it wasn’t much of a value, it was more value than it is today.  I used to frequently go to a store and if the total of my bill was say $9.56, I would regularly pay with a ten dollar bill and say keep the change and walk away.

That was my way of keeping change out of my pockets that were of questionable value and mostly served to wear out my pockets.  That was my habit, until one day when I ran into the cashier from hell that change me forever.  I was six cents short for the purchase I was making, and I wasn’t allowed to take the product.  Since that time, I must have filled about four - five gallon clear plastic refill drinking water bottles (the kind that you place inverted on your water cooler).  The copper coins go to good use, I allow my granddaughters to share my treasure.

The following is a little lesson about our U.S. Mint and the coins we mostly take for granted, especially with the use of the debit card.

·       The U.S. Mint cut the cost of making the penny by nearly a third over the past two years, but the little copper-coated coin still costs more than a cent to produce.  A new report shows the cost to produce a penny was 1.7 cents in the 2014 fiscal year. That’s down from 2.4 cents in 2011 but still more than face value.  “There are no alternative metal compositions that reduce the manufacturing unit cost of the penny below its face value,” the biennial report to Congress said.
·       The nickel, too, is dead weight for taxpayers. Production costs stood at 8 cents last year, down from 11 cents. The lower cost per coin is largely a result of rising production and reduced metal costs.
·       Other coins turn a profit. A dime costs 3.9 cents to make, and a quarter 9 cents. All together, the Mint made $289.1 million on seigniorage–the difference between the value of the coin and the cost to make it–despite a $90.5 million drag from the penny and nickel.
·       The Mint estimates that switching up the metallic content of coins could save taxpayers $5 million to $57 million a year, though vending, amusement, laundry and other groups with coin operated machines warn that it could cost them billions to reconfigure machinery and make other adjustments needed to accept altered specie, the Mint said. ~ Wall Street Journal – By JEFFREY SPARSHOTT

I realize that what I am about to relate will sound a bit like science fiction, but once upon a time not all that long ago, you could buy a gallon of gasoline by simply putting together 13 of those little copper coins.  You could also buy a McDonald’s Hamburger for 12 pennies, or a Taco Bell crunchy taco for 11 pennies even a 12 ounce pop for 5 pennies.  You could run up a hefty dental bill by over indulging on penny candy.  In the State of Texas you could buy a Texas famous sweet and juicy orange for a penny a piece.  That’s right one hundred for a dollar.  I could go on forever with the value that a penny could add to your life back then.  The best is yet to come…………..

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