The US really might stop producing pennies

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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25 Responses

  1. Road Scholar says:


  2. Murali says:

    So, no more 1.99 shops?Report

    • notme in reply to Murali says:

      Maybe putting a woman on the penny would save it?Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Murali says:

      Nope, they’ll be $1.95 shops, or $2.00 shops.

      I’ve always hated the implicit dishonesty in the $9.99 or $299 price, allowing the vendor to claim a price under $X by the faintest percent. Does it truly make a huge difference is sales if the item is priced at $9.99 vs $10.00? Are people really that dumb?Report

  3. aaron david says:

    So, when we get taxed on a purchase, will the gov’t round down, saving us the few cents? Or will it round up, gaining the few cents for itself?Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    As long as we get to keep our shillings and guineas.Report

  5. Damon says:

    This wouldn’t be a problem if the us hadn’t devalued it’s currency through inflation and “structural easing”.Report

    • Mo in reply to Damon says:

      The US eliminated the half cent more than a century before Bretton Woods was ended.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Mo says:

        When Canada finally ditched the penny, I looked up the inflation-corrected value of a penny at the time the US got rid of their half-cent – I think it was about 25 modern cents.

        So that change in modern terms would be equivalent to ditching the dime, and letting the quarter be the smallest denomination in circulation. Which seems about right to me, honestly.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to dragonfrog says:

          I support going by the Ramen Index. The lowest denomination ought to be whatever a cheap pack of Ramen costs.Report

        • dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

          While I definitely think there is no need to keep nickels around, I am kind of fond of dimes.

          Mostly that’s just because the weight/face value ratio is the same for dimes and quarters, so a given value of change in dimes and quarters will weigh your pocket down by the same amount regardless of the ratio of the two coin types. Which just seems right somehow.Report

  6. Morat20 says:

    I always hate the “it costs more than a penny to make a penny” thing. It’s dumb and immaterial. It’s fiat currency. It’s value doesn’t like in the value of it’s component materials.

    Sorry, just my kvetching.Report

    • James K in reply to Morat20 says:


      One source of government revenue is seigniorage – the creation of money as a revenue source. This is nowhere near as large a revenue source as tax, but it is a revenue source nonetheless.

      That pennies have a negative seigniorage value means that the government has to make up that revenue elsewhere, and it really is absurd to make something that is worth less than the materials that make it up.Report

      • Damon in reply to James K says:

        The gov’t CAN afford it.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to James K says:

        If a penny was spent once then exhausted, I’d agree.

        Which might make it actually apply to the penny, since it ends up right back in banks rather than circulating.

        But take the almighty dollar. It might get spent a hundred times. If it cost a dollar fifty to make, it still got circulated like a hundred dollars — even if it cost more to make than it’s worth.Report