Entries in Penny (3)


Obama Open to Getting Rid of the Penny

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama says it may be time to get rid of the one-cent coin.

The copper coins cost more to mint than they are worth and are increasingly used less and less, leading many economists to ask why the U.S. hasn’t gotten rid of them entirely.

“I don’t know,” Obama said when asked about it Thursday.

“It’s one of those things where I think people get attached emotionally to the way things have been,” he said on a Google+ hangout. “We remember our piggy banks and counting out all the pennies and then taking them in and getting a dollar bill or a couple of dollars from it and maybe that’s the reason people haven’t gotten around to it.”

Obama went on to suggest the penny is a “good metaphor” for some of the larger problems facing lawmakers as they seek to reduce the deficit.

“This is not going to be a huge savings for government. But anytime we’re spending more money on something that people don’t actually use, that’s an example of something we should probably change,” he said. “One of the things that you see chronically in government is it’s very hard to get rid of things that don’t work so that we can then invest in the things that do.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


$1 Million for a Rare Penny?

Scott Olson/Getty Images(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) -- A 1792 Silver Center penny is being auctioned off Thursday night and online bidding is already at $1.15 million, according to Heritage Auctions.

The penny is one of the first coins struck at the U.S. Mint, according to Todd Imhof of Heritage Auctions. It is one of only 14 known surviving silver-center cent pieces. It is made of copper with a small silver plug in the center.

The Silver Center pieces were an experiment made in 1792 when the newly created U.S. Mint had specific requirements for the size and weight of pennies, Imhof said. Silver was placed in the center of the coin to reach the required weight. However, it was decided that the pennies were too large and heavy for practical use so the coins were never mass-produced.

Also what makes this coin rare is that it doesn’t have the usual “In God We Trust” that are seen on pennies today. Instead, the coin says “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”

The coin comes from a collector who wishes to remain anonymous. He has owned the coin for 10 years and paid far less than what the coin is expected to bring in at tonight’s auction, Imhof said.

A coin of the same type sold over a year ago for close to $3 million, Imhof said. Fewer than 30 coins in history have sold for more than $1 million in public auction.

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

ABC News Radio