Dollar coins are not collectibles; they’re currency

Whenever I’m at the bank, I like to pick up a few of these:


With a pocket full of twenty or so dollar coins, I like to spread them around. Sometimes people will give you this look that says, “Why did you give me this? I know that it’s real, and that it’s a dollar, but why do you purposely upset the rickety apple cart that is my life with this coin?”

Today I gave one to a Real Change vendor. The fella looked at it and gave me the biggest grin I’ve seen in a long time.

I’ve found that dollar coins work in every modern vending machine I’ve run across. There is a reason why this is true. The vending machine political lobby is a major player in the “dollar coin” movement. Dollar coins are much cheaper to accept than “paper” dollars. Those bill readers are an extra expense they’d love to be rid of. Alas, Americans (other than myself) aren’t taken by the dollar coin phenomenon.

King County Metro takes them, however. If you’ve ever seen someone try to feed a buck into the fare box during rush hour, you know that this can be excruciating. Dollar coins would solve this problem.

The dollar coin has had two recent iterations. Several years ago was the “Sacajawea”, and more recently was the “Presidential” series. The “Sac”, as it was nicknamed (by me), didn’t really catch on, so the new ones are shinier and more robust in their features. Also, the Native-American choice may have thrown some folks. Not me, but I do find the choice somewhat odd. It’s like, “sorry about the years of genocide. Here’s a coin.”

Of all people, Republicans should love these coins. You guys love to put Reagan on all sorts of shit. Here’s your chance.

So the next time you’re at the bank, ask the teller to load you up on some dollar coins. You’ll never have so much fun spending your money.


  1. 1

    Tony spews:

    Dollar bills are also nowhere near as durable as coins. Think of all the money and resources that would be saved if the government didn’t have to destroy and reprint loads of new dollar bills every year.

  2. 2

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    I like the coins. Giving them to little children as gifts and watching their parents thinking you gave them a quarter is priceless.

    I can see the “In GOD We Trust” haters making some comments soon!

  3. 3

    zap spews:

    I recall when the Sacajawea dollar was released, our brilliant leaders blew $40 million on godawful ads. They had actors playing Washington, Jefferson etc. saying stuff like “Dude, the cool dollar coin’s awesome. They spent $40 million on the ads. Huge waste to me, but what do I know. I guess these are the gov’t services that the sophisticated urban & suburban voter are clamoring for.

  4. 4


    “The United States is honoring our Nation’s presidents by issuing $1 circulating coins featuring their images in the order that they served. The United States Mint issues four Presidential $1 Coins per year, with Presidents Monroe, Adams, Jackson, and Van Buren being honored in 2008. Each coin has a common reverse design featuring a striking rendition of the Statue of Liberty. These coins feature larger, more dramatic artwork, as well as edge-incused inscriptions of the year of minting or issuance, “E Pluribus Unum,” “In God We Trust” and the mint mark. Although the size, weight and metal composition of the new Presidential $1 Coin are identical to that of the Sacagawea Golden Dollar, there are several unique features that make this coin distinctive.”

    The Nixon coin will be coming out in 2016!

  5. 5

    rhp6033 spews:

    Tony @1: There have been ongoing attempts to do away with minting the penny, also. It costs more money to mint a penny than it is worth. The Treasury had to take emergency steps last year to raise the penalties for defacing U.S. currency because people could make money buying pennies at face value, melting them down, and selling the raw metal as scrap.

    But every attempt to eliminate the penny has faced one overwhelming obsticle: the sales tax. Sure, in Washington your sales tax may be almost 9% (plus or minus a bit, depending upon where you are buying your goods), but the anti-tax people will be damned before they allow any taxes to be rounded up to an even 10%. Replacing it with an income tax would work too, but they would like that even less.

    Another aside, re: Taxes. I caught 1 minute of Dori Monson’s show on KIRO yesterday afternoon, while in my car. He was ranting about how stupid the B&O tax was, because it taxes gross earnings, regardless of whether or not you make a profit. “Hey”, I thought. “We actually agree on something???” But then he took a predictable right-turn and headed off into infinity and beyond. He claimed it was because the “clueless people in Olympia” who “obviously never had to run a business”, otherwise they would have eliminated the B&O tax long ago. Then he went to break, and I was at my destination, so I didn’t listen further.

    So Dori has two serious problems with his rant.

    First of all, most of the legislaters in Olympia are indeed owners of small or medium-size businesses. How else are they going to be able to get time off for this part-time gig we call a state legislature?

    Secondly, Dori avoids the obvious problem – if you do away with the B&O tax, what do you replace it with? If the problem is that it doesn’t deal with the cost side of business, the obvious answer is to replace it with an income tax.

    Somehow, I don’t think that was where Dori was going with this, I think he was just wanting to score points with the “anti-tax” crowd, ranting about the “legislature” (which everyone knows is Democratic) as being “clueless” and “anti-business”. But as usuall, such clueless rants break down immediatly when subjected to rational analysis.

    Maybe Goldy would invite Dori onto his show for a real debate on true tax reform in this state?

  6. 6

    rhp6033 spews:

    Zap @ 3: I usually dislike most government commercials, unless they simply and quickly desiminate usefull information (i.e., “there are changes to the federal tax laws this year you need to know if you claim child care tax credits. Be sure to read your instruction booklet, or check out for more details”.)

    But in fairness, the 40M spent to promote the Sacajawea dollar was spent in good faith. If they could have overcome public resistence to using a new dollar coin, then a lot more money would have been saved in the long run, rather than continually replacing the paper money which wears out relatively soon. If it had worked, it would have paid for itself. Maybe they should have paid a bit more, and gotten a better production for their money.

    Note: Years ago (well, okay, decades ago) I visited the U.S. Mint in Denver. I remember thinking it was funny that the workers had to put their clothes in lockers, and go through metal detectors when when they returned from their work back to the locker room. I thought it was funny that anyone would try to steal pennies. And that was about 1969 or 1970, when a penny could actually buy something!

  7. 7


    Jesus Christ, people, does everything have be so serious with you? Rhp took Will’s light-hearted and fun little post about the simple joy of spreading around the rarely seen new one dollar coin, and turned it into a serious debate on tax reform and the B&O tax.

    Sometimes a silly topic is just a silly topic. You don’t need to read more into it than is there. Does every topic on this blog, even the light and fun one’s, need to be turned into a serious argument?

  8. 8


    The other problem with the Sac, Will, is that they looked and felt so much like quarters (especially for folks with poor eyesight) that nobody wanted to use them. Making them shinier helps, but there are several more distinctive solutions the Mint ignored – the two-tone Canadian coin being one example, the various denominations of yen (5, 50, 500) that come with a hole in the middle being another.

    As for @7, Troll, for once we agree. I was enjoying a post where people were contributing from personal experience and knowledge rather than sniping at each other. It’s a nice break!

  9. 9

    Spike spews:

    Great topic. Personally, I do this: I buy the new dollar coins and put them in my right pocket, along with an Eisenhower dollar or two. I get two dollar bills and keep them in my billfold where dollar bills once lived, thus making my billfold more efficient. Regular non-dollar coins go into the left pocket.

    You know what? People are almost always happy to get the two dollar bill (“I give them to my niece for presents!!). They are especially pleased to see a new president coin (I am almost done with my Jeffersons!)

    And if the coin is in my right pocket, I know without looking that it is a dollar. Lovely.

  10. 10

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    rhp6033: I hate the B&O tax. It just sucks away precious $$$ from the Puddybidness!

  11. 11

    THE Puddybud The Prognosticator... spews:

    Geov, I’m glad you agree with me on it looking like a quarter! I gave them to my sons in their Christmas stockings and they yelled I was cheap until I suggested they look again. Then a big thank you came from their mouths.

    Now about those headless lucy comments…

  12. 12

    thorn spews:

    I notice that it was the trolling fecal material at #2 that got the snot flowing here.

    On another note: My problem with coins is that they fall out of my pocket and jangle and feel weird there. The less weight the better. That said, I am totally willing to give up dollar bills to save the government money.

  13. 14


    Coins per se are the pits! How many pairs of pants get worn out in the pockets first because of wear and tear from coins?

    I was eating lunch once at some BBQ dive in Greenwood when a guy walked through the place trying to sell a $5 gold piece so he could buy food. No takers. A patron expressed sympathy for the guy having no money, but my response was, “What do you mean? He’s got $5 in legal tender? Let him spend that!” All then were in agreement with the simple and obvious solution.

    Isn’t it just like Seattle liberals to over-complicate things?

    I have a Sac dollar in my desk drawer, but trying to spend it is another matter. Nobody takes Chucky Cheese token lookalikes in payment for anything!

    And what about chash register till drawers? How much will be spent redesigning them? Anyone giving any thought to that???

    I do, however, have a stack of $3 bills with Bill’s pic on them. They’re available for sale to HA Happy Hoolihoarders for $4 each.

    The Piper

  14. 15



    I’m happy to take your folding currency off your hands all for the good of the nation. Please provide details on how you plan on sending it to me.

    The Piper

  15. 16

    me spews:

    Will’s post was excellent and light-hearted except for:

    “Of all people, Republicans should love these coins. You guys love to put Reagan on all sorts of shit. Here’s your chance.”

    Which is ‘sniping’ per Geov

  16. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I think naming an aircraft carrier after a saint is enough. After all, he wasn’t the Pope. Cripes, he wasn’t enough much of a prophet.

  17. 19




    Uhm…if coins fall out of your pocket, you must spend a lot of time either upside down or on the floor. Why you would do this is anyone’s guess, but some obvious and sad for you scenarios belabor the obvious and leap to mind.


    Friends don’t let friends drive with coins in their pockets.

    The Piper

  18. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @16 Sniping at pukes is what we do here, pal. Reminder: The topic of this blog is


  19. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 They’re working on it. Depression and deflation will reduce demand for dollar bills.

  20. 23

    Spike spews:

    @14 I hear people say things like this all the time, but I use the dollar coins almost exclusively and have NEVER had a person refuse to take one, nor even comment on them except in interest when it is a new president or maybe in curiosity if it is a Susan B. Where are these places that reject payment? Why do people say they such places exist, when experience proves it false day after day?

    I hear the same thing about two dollar bills. “Nobody wants twos.” Never have I had anything except pleasure responses when I hand over a two. Never. And the banks can hardly keep them in stock.

    (Buy your girl scout cookies with twos and dollar coins if you want to see pure joy in a little one’s face.)

  21. 24


    Me fool!!!!

    I knew about these but did not know they were released into commerce. SO .. I just spent $30 for three of them … in fancy case of course.

    Actually, the only one I want is the Jefferson. Will, I would be happy to trade you real money for any of these you have!

  22. 26


    I wonder, is there soe way to assure that the GWB is never minted?

    I have trouble imagining what folks might do with it?

    Nixon too!

    OTOH, howsa about the Obama!

  23. 27

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    I use them for bus fare, especially when I have to catch one in the early morning hours. It’s easier to pull out dollar coins and put them in the farebox. Now unfortunately, my bank seems to rarely have them, so I use postal service stamp vending machines, and sometimes, SOUNDER Ticket Vending Machines, as they dispense change with Dollar Coins.

    Also, one idea of how long this series will be? They did say that they would count President Grover Cleveland, twice. Anybody care to gues why they need to count him twice, or does everybody know the nature of his presidential terms?

  24. 28



    Anyone who touts the virtue of $2 bills spends way too much time at the track.

    That an occasional Sac coin slips through the change machines at the grocery store disguised as a quarter – and always given back by me because honesty is a Republican virtue – has to be a matter of grave national importance.

    Query: Why then the coverup??? In these Prexy debates for both parties, why no inquiries to the candidates as to the coin conundrum? What do they have to hide besides the holes in their pockets? Have you checked HRC’s earrings lately? Suspiciously like the pennies we all used to stick in our Weejuns (save those who used Krugerands).

    Of course, then, that would be 2 cents more than she’s worth! Unless, that is, she gets a post-election-loss job as a 10-cents-a-dance hostess. Hiya sailor, new in town?

    Isn’t that how Bill meets most of his chicks?

    The Piper

  25. 29



    Without looking…He had two nonconsecutive four-year terms, so in the enumeration of Presidents, he’s counted twice.

    As a Democrat he also vetoed Texas flood relief saying it wasn’t the federal government’s business to do charity work.

    But one of baseball’s greatest all-time pitchers was named after him. Who knows that pitcher’s last name?

    The Piper

  26. 32

    Spike spews:

    Currently, at this time I have two Ikes in my right pocket and five Jeffersons: Total = $7 American dollars. Neat.

  27. 35


    Roger Rabbit, take it to an open forum. You are in violation of the rules. Not one of your comments on this thread had to do with the original post. This is my last warning.

  28. 36

    Spike spews:

    Regarding two dollar bills (as long as we have a cheerfully frivolous thread). A few years ago when I asked a bank teller for forty in twos, she said, “A woman came by yesterday and turned in over a hundred in the old twos. You want them?” Of course, I did. It turned out that they were really old twos, going back to the 1920’s, all with good old Monticello on the bank. That also means they were real money, US silver certificates, redeemable in actual silver, heh, heh. I showed them to a coin dealer who commented that you hardly ever see old twos without corners torn off, as people once thought they were bad luck and tore off the corners to foil the omen. Well, I still have those old twos; how could I turn them in for the fake money we use these days? And that means I am effectually short sixty bucks but in the possession of real money.

    Wanna make someone happy? Give him/her a Monticello two dollar bill.

    (I have $14 in regular twos in my billfold right now.)

  29. 39

    me spews:

    21 – Yep the

    “@16 Sniping at pukes is what we do here, pal. Reminder: The topic of this blog is REPUBLICANS SUCK”

    Roger – you have it wrong again – The topic of this blog is:
    “the straight poop on WA politics & the press” from all the Horses’ Asses Liberals who continually spew absolute diarrhea about almost every subject under the sun. (Oh – yes there is the occasional conservative troll who follows suit but I am certainly not one of those kinds of people! :-) )

  30. 40

    Poster Child spews:

    I’ve always assumed that all the Sacs migrated to casinos for use in slot machines… [insert Sorry for the Genocide jokes here]

    Having lived in some places with high value coins, I’ve always found it disheartening to spend a big banknote and have the change come in the form of a bunch of coins. Intellectually I know the value is still there, but viscerally… A pocket full of $AU 2 coins’ll pull your pants right down if you try running for the bus.

  31. 41

    Jack Flanders spews:

    Nostalgia is fine, but really folks, just drop the damn penny and use a dollar coin. We had a penny when a Coke was 5 cents and a cup of coffee a dime. Now a Coke is $1.25 and a cup of coffee is $2.50 at Starbucks. Seriously, the penny is not literally worth anything. Inflation happens. It’s a pointless bit of currency. And same with the dollar bill. Just STOP printing dollar bills and replace them with a same printing level of coins. You don’t have to run commercials to ‘convince’ people to use them, just stop distributing them. Some people will grumble for a year or two and then get the hell over it. Then they can tell their offspring that when THEY WERE YOUNG, DOLLARS CAME ON PAPER…AND YOU HAD TO WALK UPHILL IN THE SNOW TO GET TO SCHOOL! LOL

  32. 42

    Spike spews:

    On the politics of the coins:

    I wonder if we will have a kind of political activism when the presidents get more debatable. We are all happy to handle Washington and Adams and Jefferson and Madison. What will we do when the coins have portraits of presidents we despise? The Harding coin? The Nixon coin?
    The LBJ coin? Can you imagine the antagonism between people over the Reagan coin? “What? No way you pay me in money with that bastard’s face!!!”

    I don’t imagine that Rutherford B. Hayes will raise any blood pressures, though.

  33. 43

    thorn spews:

    Piper Scott says:


    I’m happy to take your folding currency off your hands all for the good of the nation. Please provide details on how you plan on sending it to me.

    The Piper

    I don’t recall stating that I was willing to throw my paper money into a toilet.

  34. 44

    thorn spews:

    Piper Scott says:



    Uhm…if coins fall out of your pocket, you must spend a lot of time either upside down or on the floor. Why you would do this is anyone’s guess, but some obvious and sad for you scenarios belabor the obvious and leap to mind.


    Friends don’t let friends drive with coins in their pockets.

    The Piper

    Your sense of humor has no value to me. You are wasting your words.

  35. 45

    ewp spews:

    On a recent trip I visited a national park where the entrance fee was $5. I gave the woman 2 one dollar bills and 3 dollars worth of quarters. She looked at me like I handed her a handful of poop, and asked where I was from. I said Seattle, where we all learn to count to twelve.

  36. 46



    “Your sense of humor has no value to me. You are wasting your words.”

    Don’t you just love that liberal tolerance and respect for all people?

    Rest assured, I’ve sent your name to my colleagues in the Black Helicopter squad. They’ll be coming for you soon, so best hide under your bed.

    I’ve convinced Congress to pass a draft bill. One soldier only, however, and that would be…YOU!

    My buds in the NSA have fixed it so that your credit will be so bad, not even your cash (including coins…keep this relevent to the thread) will be any good!

    Dick Cheney asked me to ask you if you’d like to be his hunting partner; he’s all out of paper targets.

    Teddy Kennedy e-mailed to offer you a lift home just as long as he can drove over a bridge.

    Bill Clinton has a cigar with your name on it.

    Since retiring, Karl Rove has a new line of Voodoo dolls ready for pin sticking. I’m told they all resemble…you!

    Larry Craig wants to know when next you plan on going to the airport; he has a wide-stance he’d like to show you.

    Al Gore’s next book attributes global warming to you…a combo out of both ends of your personage.

    I hear O.J. Simpson wants to date your daughter. And she’s up for it because she’s heard he’s a real cut up!

    Since payback’s a bitch, Hillary wants you to be her Monica.

    Ossama bin Laden would like to know which is better: you or a goat?

    Your wife called to say bet on the goat.

    No cover charge…

    The Piper

  37. 47

    My Left Foot spews:


    Piper, today is my 51st birthday. What I want for my gift is for you to fess up and tell us where you “borrowed” all the one liners. Some are funny and we know you did not pen them yourself.

  38. 48

    Richard Pope spews:

    Actually, the nickel tends to have a melt value higher than five cents these days as well. It is 75% copper and 25% nickel, and both metals are relatively valuable. The penny is 98% zinc and 2% copper, and the zinc is also high enough to make them cost more than one cent to produce. The old pure copper pennies prior to 1982 are worth substantially more than one cent in melt value.

    Perhaps the solution would be to replace the penny and nickel with smaller one cent and five cent tokens made out of cheap aluminum. Perhaps Nixon could go on the one cent token and Reagan on the five cent token.

  39. 49


    We really need to think about putting lil Bush on some sort of coin, My idea is a new kind of coinage .. based on an ARM.

    The Bush Arm would be made of soft aluminum and its value would decrease the less it weighs. Or we could just have the equivalent of tread indicators, as the coin wears. its value woluld decline.

    To make this more fun, we could issue the Bush at a discount, as way to prime the pump. So, a new Bush might be bought from the gobernment for 95 cents but you can only resell it at face value.

    Y’all following this?

    So, if I wanna buy a car, I go to thr bank and exchange the maximum number of greenies for Bushies. Lets say $1000. I save $50. The I use mu 1000 to buy a car (har har).

    Of course whoever eceives these fresh Busheies will want to turn them over as fast as possible before they wear out. So the Car dealer will spend them very fast. Soon they will only be worth 90 cents! Then 80 cents! BUT, we will have primed the pump, gresed the goose, etc.!

  40. 50



    Coming from you, this is high praise indeed…I think.

    But they’re all mine, although not all brand new. The one about credit so bad your cash is no good I’ve used for years.

    Actually, one of my favorite tricks is when you see someone you know in bank at the teller window or sitting talking with a bank employee. Walk over, slap them on the back and say LOUDLY, “Nice to see you folks finally cleared bankruptcy; hope all your troubles get worked out OK.” Then simply walk off…rapidly!


    C’mon everyone, let’s sing for Carl! And everyone fax him a $2 bill to make him happy!

    Going to a Mexican place tonight so you can be thoroughly embarrassed?

    In any event…best wishes for decades more.

    The Piper

  41. 51



    A few weeks ago when you were a Republican, didn’t you use that same joke only about Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton?

    I sure remember seeing you at all those GOP events when you ran for office as a GOP die hard with GOP values and supporting GOP Ronald Reagan, GOP Bush 41, and GOP Bush 43, doing all the GOP stuff to get GOP support. How’d that GOP work out for you?

    Ink dry on your party-switch documents yet? About ready to tack back?

    Just checking…

    The Piper

  42. 52

    rhp6033 spews:

    Pope @43: Have you seen a Japanese One-Yen coin? It’s so light you have to be carefull putting it in your pocket, a breaze might pick it up and take it away. One time when I was in Tokyo, the sales clerk insisted on counting out my change to the last yen. I tried to tell her to keep it, but she seemed horrified at the prospect. I looked around, and there was no equivilent to the “penny fund” we see in most U.S. convenience stores.

    Of course, these are the same people that will order 5,000 washers, and then after receiving inspection inform me that they received three too many, and ask for an RMA number so they can return the excess items.

  43. 53



    Your parents were either really weird to have given you such a name or really hated you.

    In Indonesia, there are two economies, and there’s no overlap. The higher end deals in thousands and tens-of-thousands of rupiahs while the lower end deals in well under RP1,000.

    Try paying an exit duty in Indonesia with a large bill. The government doesn’t give customs inspectors change. Hotel and restaurant bills simply get rounded off whichever way is easiest – win a few, lose a few.

    Your waiter is just as inclined to toss your meal or your drink if unsuitable to you and bring another without bothering to tell anyone it’s a replacement. Who benefits? The dogs who surround the outdoor dining area; they eat well!

    Everything is bargained – and I do mean EVERYTHING – and only an idiot pays more than 1/3 retail.

    And while it’s easier in Britain under the decimal system than the old pence-shilling-pound-guinea system, it’s not as charming or fun to master the system and be taken for a native Brit.

    The Piper

  44. 54

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Hey Richard, since you are the King of Research here, I’ve got a good one for you: are we the only country left in the industrialized world that still prodces its primary monetary unit (dollar, yen, euro, etc.) in paper form? As far as my memory serves me, I can’t think, right off-hand, of any other nation in that group that still produces singles in paper form……

  45. 55



    For info on U.S. currency paper go here:

    In the U.K., currency is issued by the Bank of England and the Royal Bank of Scotland with currency in individual denominations having completely different looks but equally negotiable in either England or Scotland.

    The Bank of England no longer issues one-pound notes, but the Royal Bank of Scotland does.

    There you have it!

    The Piper