majority oppose scrapping the dollar bill
Presidential coin series debuts Thursday, but
many consumers indifferent
By AP Press
Updated: 6:54 p.m. ET Feb 11, 2007
A new dollar coin featuring George
Washington goes into circulation Thursday. It will
be the first in a series of presidential coins to
be released, in order, at the rate of four per year.
WASHINGTON - Maybe
Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea should not take public
rejection personally. It's not easy overcoming people's
indifference to dollar coins, even those honoring
such historic figures.
An AP-Ipsos poll found that three-fourths of people
surveyed oppose replacing the dollar bill, featuring
George Washington, with a dollar coin. People are
split evenly on the idea of having both a dollar bill
and a dollar coin.
"I really don't see any use for it," Larry
Ashbaugh, a retiree from Bristolville, Ohio, said
of the dollar coin. "We tried it before. It didn't
Two recent efforts to promote wide usage of a dollar
coin proved unsuccessful. A quarter-century ago, it
showed feminist Susan B. Anthony on the front; then
one in 2000 featuring Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian
who helped guide the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The latest dollar coin will bear Washington's image,
followed later this year by those of John Adams, Thomas
Jefferson and James Madison. A different president
will appear on the golden dollar coins every three
months. The series of coins will depict four different
presidents per year, in the order they served.
Congress voted to create the new
dollar coin, betting that this series would be more
popular than its recent predecessors.
The Susan B. Anthony dollar put the image of the
women's rights activist on a small silver coin that
looked a lot like a quarter. The U.S Mint was left
with millions of unused coins.
As for the Sacagawea dollar, gold in color, millions
of the coins also piled up in bank vaults for the
same reason: lack of demand.
People say they just prefer the traditional greenback.
"The dollar bill is lighter,
takes up less space in a clutch or a man's wallet
and paper money counts easier and stacks up easier
than metallic coins," said Nena Wise of York,
People have strong feelings about their money, even
the penny. A congressional effort to reduce the
need for the cent piece failed even though it costs
more to produce the copper-colored coin than the
coin is worth.
When people were asked whether the penny should
be eliminated, 71 percent said no, according to
the poll of 1,000 adults conducted Nov, 28-30. Some
fear that getting rid of the penny will cause product
prices to be rounded up, perhaps increasing inflation.
In other poll findings:
53 percent said
they carry their loose change collected during
the day to use for future purchases.
42 percent put their loose change
in a jar or piggy bank each day.
48 percent said they use cash for
purchases under $10.
28 percent said they usually use
cash in such cases, but sometimes use credit or debit
cards, according to the poll with a margin of sampling
error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Rather than a high-profile ad campaign
like the one used to introduce the Sacagawea dollar,
the Mint is trying a more grass-roots approach. The
agency is talking to the Federal Reserve, banks and
vending machine operators to stir up interest in the
new dollar coin.
Supporters of the new presidential dollar coin point
to the success of the 50-state quarter program. Begun
in 1999, this program has introduced millions of people
to coin collecting for the first time.
For Richard Wander of Albany,
N.Y, the dollar coin is a welcome addition because he
is "kind of a collector."
"I think it's good to have
both," he said. "Instead of taking time to
put four quarters in a parking meter, you could put
in a dollar.
"But I think dollar bills are part of the economic
system," he said, "and they work fine."
The presidential coins will be the 14th dollar coin
series produced by the Mint going back to 1794. The
Susan B. Anthony replaced the Eisenhower dollar in 1979.
Before the Eisenhower dollar's introduction in 1971,
there was a gap of 36 years when the Mint did not produce
a dollar coin after the last Peace dollar was minted
The public can start getting the Washington dollars
on Thursday from commercial banks that have placed orders
with the Federal Reserve, which handles coin distribution
for the Mint.
U.S. Mint Director Edmund C. Moy said he was encouraged
by the initial demand for the new coin. The Fed has
ordered 300 million Washington dollars so far.