Entries in currency (7)


Rare 1943 Penny Sells for $1 Million

PCGS(NEW YORK) -- A 1943 Lincoln penny that soared in value because it was made from the "wrong" material reportedly has sold for $1 million.

The penny was erroneously made of bronze instead of zinc-coated steel at the San Francisco Mint, according to UPI news agency. Texas Rangers co-chairman Bob R. Simpson bought the coin from Legend Numismatics, a rare coin dealer in Lincroft, N.J.

Professional Coin Grading Service, an organization that evaluates and grades rare coins, certified the penny in question, grading it a 62 on a scale of 1 to 70.

"The Simpson collection now contains the finest known bronze cent from each mint, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver, including the unique 1943-D bronze cent that PCGS certified after Legend acquired and sold to him for a record $1.7 million in 2010," Willis said.

The U.S. Mint switched from bronze planchets to zinc-coated steel for cents in 1943 because copper was needed during World War II.

"By error, some bronze planchets made it into the hoppers at all three Mints, were struck and released into circulation. These have become the most famous and valuable of all off-metal errors," PCGS said in a release.

The Lincoln penny is pricey, but a rare dime has it beat.

In August, a dime from 1873 fetched $1.84 million at auction.

An anonymous bidder scored the rare coin for $1.6 million in an auction at the American Numismatic Association convention at the Philadelphia Convention Center. The $1.84 million price tag included a 15 percent buyer's fee.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Penny to Be Kept as Canada Bids Coin Farewell

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Loafer wearers, rejoice.

Even though Canada will be saying goodbye to the 1-cent coin in the fall, it seems the U.S. penny is here to stay -- for now.

In 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson suggested eliminating the coin, but the idea did not catch on. In a proposed 2013 budget for the Treasury Department,  a clause proposes legislation that would give the secretary of the Treasury “flexibility to change the composition of coins to more cost-effective materials.”

The move would save the department millions. According to the Treasury Department, the U.S. coin costs 2.4 cents to mint because of rising zinc costs. Last year, the U.S. Mint made 4.9 billion pennies, running up production costs of $118 million.

A change in law would mean a payday for so-called “penny hoarders,” people who have been accumulating the coins -- which are 95 percent copper -- in hope of being allowed to melt them down for the much-sought-after metal.

But Americans for Common Cents is a fierce defender of the U.S. penny. The group is funded by the mining company that sells zinc to the mint.

Mark Weller, the organization’s executive director, said the penny has enjoyed high public support. He also said the mint was looking at making pennies more efficiently.

On Thursday, Canadian Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty announced that Canada would stop minting pennies, since each one cost Canadian taxpayers 1.5 cents to make.

“They take up far too much time for small businesses trying to grow and create jobs,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Will the Buck Stop? Coins Replacing Dollar Bills Could Save US $5.6 Billion

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The super-committee charged with cutting trillions of dollars from the U.S. debt by the end of the year may be able to find at least one relatively small-change solution in their wallets: replacing the dollar bill with the dollar coin.

The controversial move would phase out paper bills and replace them with a new $1 coin, increasing production costs at first but saving billions in the long term, USA Today reports. Groups on both sides of the issue are voicing their opinions, with the Americans for George claiming they prefer the paper bill, while the Dollar Coin Alliance say saving money is preferable.

The Government Accountability Office, which issued a report on the cost-savings of a currency switch earlier this year, said that because coins outlast paper currency (which survive about 42 months), the switch would save about $5.6 billion over 30 years.

Lobbyists and industries with ties to the money-making industry are also weighing in. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry -- who sits on the super-committee --has introduced a bill to do away with dollar coins (the current Susan B. Anthony versions).  Paper for U.S. currency is made by Massachusetts-based Crane & Co.

On the flip side of the coin, mining interests and states that have heavy mining industries are pushing for the coins to become the standard.  Former Arizona representative Jim Kolbe, who started campaigning for dollar coins in 1986, is now honorary chairman of the Dollar Coin Alliance and is pushing for the country to “update” its currency system, USA Today reports.

One obstacle to the money-saving move, however, could come from Americans’ dislike of using dollar coins, at least the ones now available.  Currently, billions of dollar coins that are not used are sitting in storage facilities at the U.S. mint, according to a report by ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.  By 2016, the dollar amount of coins in storage could grow to more than $2 billion.

To store all the unused coins, the Federal Reserve told Congress they will need to spend $650,000 to build a new vault in Dallas to hold them.  Shipping the coins to the new secure facility will cost an additional $3 million.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Euro Weakens as Concern about Greece's Debt Rises

Chris Hondros(NEW YORK) -- As concerns about Greece's debt rise, the euro continues to weaken, having declined against all but one of its 16 major peers Monday morning.

The euro fell 0.3 below the dollar and 0.2 below the yen.

Subdued trade is expected for the remainder of Monday since U.S. markets are closed for Memorial Day.

European governments are in talks about new bailout loans for Greece, according to the Financial Times. European Union and International Monetary Fund officials are expected to announce a report on the finances of deficit-burdened Greece sometime this week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


Is Gold the New Black? States Look to Bring Gold Standard Back

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Starting in May, Utah residents will be able to shop in a currency other than the dollar -- gold, something that hasn't happened since 1933.

Utah became the first U.S. state last month to recognize gold and silver coins minted by the federal government as legal tender.  More than a dozen other states are considering similar measures, and are expected to follow Utah's example.  The move, proponents say, is caused by declining faith in the U.S. monetary system and concern about rising inflation.

The gold standard, a monetary system in which the dollar is valued against a certain weight of gold, lasted until the Great Depression, when the Federal Reserve confiscated gold held by the public.  President Nixon abolished the conversion of dollars to gold at a fixed rate in 1971.

It doesn't literally mean people would pull out gold coins at the cash register.  Instead, the Federal Reserve would be required by law to make their notes redeemable for gold and hold gold coins and bullion as reserves.  The printing of U.S. dollars would also be weighed against the value of gold.

The last time the gold standard was seriously considered was during President Ronald Reagan's administration.  Reagan appointed a commission in 1981 to study the role of gold in the U.S. monetary system, but the group mostly came out against it -- except for two members, including now-Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, a champion of the Tea Party movement.

Despite continued calls by proponents like Paul to consider the gold standard, it had mostly stayed under the radar, until now.

The Tea Party's growing momentum and rising inflation is giving new life to the issue, as evident in Utah.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Small Town Pair Launches Own Currency

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NORTH FORK, Calif.) -- It may not be legal tender anywhere else, but if you want your lawn mowed in North Fork, California, you can pay for it with scrip bearing hummingbirds or butterflies and negotiable around town for other services too, like car repairs or yoga class.

Josh Freeman, 45, decided to launch the currency, worth about $12 a share, to combat what he sees as the disintegration of the small town lifestyle and economy in North Fork, almost exactly in the center of the state.  Freeman created the currency with another town resident, 45-year-old Dan Rosenberg. 

In the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, they talk about how towns like theirs lose business to big retailers in the cities to which an increasing number of their fellow townsfolk commute every day.  That puts the locals out of business, reduces the tax base and services available and could eventually kill a town.

The two men decided to do something about what they see as an impending threat, so their butterfly and hummingbird scrip was born. 

It may not challenge big banks or major retailers but Freeman and Rosenberg hope it keeps their businesses open and their town viable. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Geithner: China's Currency 'Substantially Undervalued'

Photo Courtesy - Darren McCollester/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called China’s currency “substantially undervalued” and stressed the need for China to revamp its economic system, from the exchange rate to its stance on intellectual property, in a speech at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

“This is not a tenable policy for China or for the world economy,” Geithner said.  “We believe it is in China’s interest to allow the currency to appreciate more rapidly in response to market forces.  And we believe China will do so because the alternative will be too costly --for China and for China’s relations with the rest of the world.”

Speaking at his alma mater, Geithner’s remarks offered a preview of the administration’s position on U.S./China economic relations leading into President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington next week.

“China of course presents enormous economic opportunities for the United States and for the world but its size, the speed of its ascent, and its policies are a growing source of concern both here and in countries around the world.”

Geithner voiced the administration’s concern with an economy dominated by the Chinese government, theft of intellectual property, and policies that favor Chinese technology over foreign technology.  Geithner urged China to move away from its dependence on export driven growth and emphasize domestic consumption and innovation.

Despite being direct competitors, Geithner called the economic relationship between the U.S. and China “largely complementary” and resolved to encourage improvement in China’s economy.

“The prosperity of Americans depends overwhelmingly on the economic policies we pursue to strengthen American competitiveness.  Even as we work to encourage further reforms in China, we need to understand that our strength as a nation will depend, not on choices made by China’s leaders, but on the choices we make here at home.”´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio