November 2, 2016 by Harry Stoll
The United States Mint announced recently their plans to phase out the production of new pennies beginning in late 2016, and mint the last batch of pennies April, 1, 2017. The last batch of minted pennies will be auctioned off to coin collectors with the proceeds going toward our national debt. With a national debt of $20,000,000,000,000 every penny counts!
A penny-free path has been carved out by other countries; including Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and our northern neighbors, the Canadians, discontinued pennies in 2012. The major cause of the penny’s demise is its cost to produce in comparison with its value. Thanks to rising metal prices the penny costs U.S. taxpayers 1.7 cents to produce and distribute. This is after penny-saving maneuvers were made in 1982 when copper became only 2.5% of the penny. Zinc has made up 97.5% of the penny for the last 35 years, and we cannot find a metal with a lower price than Zinc. The other reasons for the increasing costs of the penny are the fact it’s the most collected and most likely to be lost. Additionally, the fact is a penny just doesn’t buy what it used to, making it worthless to many of us.
What will happen to all the pennies? Pennies will remain legal tender, but you might be hard-pressed to find stores using them after April Fool’s Day, 2017, because the U.S. Mint will impose additional handling fees for purchasing rolls of pennies. Additionally, the U.S. Mint will institute a penny buy back incentive. Starting in about a month, the US Government will begin “Pennies for Freedom,” a penny reclamation campaign designed to collect the estimated 23 trillion unused pennies sitting in penny jars at American homes, in our couch cushions, and car seats. The pennies will then be melted and the copper will be used for green energy projects throughout the United States in hopes of reducing our dependence on foreign energy.
The U.S. mint recommends that retail transactions be rounded (up or down) to the nearest nickel. That’s not an economic catastrophe by any measure, until you consider it costs the U.S. Mint 8 cents to produce a nickel. But Americans are not nearly as sympathetic to the nickel as they are to the penny. The penny not only inspires conversation and superstition, it is a big part of our country’s history. Even though the penny might not have much of a future, it does have quite a past. Benjamin Franklin designed the first pure copper half-cent. It was issued by a private mint in 1787. By the way, the half-penny was eliminated in 1857 because it was deemed ‘worthless’. When Teddy Roosevelt introduced the Lincoln penny in 1909, it was the first U.S. coin to bear the likeness of an actual person. There are many Americans who believe it is wrong to abolish one of the most minted coins in World history, and the coin that bears the visage of one of the United States’ most revered president. There is some controversy with this decision to stop penny production.
However, despite all the nice things we have to say and remember about the penny, most people cannot be bothered to pick one up. According to that old superstition, it’s good luck to find a penny on the sidewalk. But whether or not picking up that penny will bring you good luck, one thing it definitely won’t bring you is wealth. If you picked them up at the rate of one every five seconds, you’d be earning $7.20 per hour.
Pennies are not worthless here at UCS. At United Credit Service, we will work diligently to pick up every one of your ‘lost’ pennies. Furthermore, we will work on your delinquent receivables no matter how few or many pennies a debtor owes you. Remember, if you mind your pennies the dollars will take care of themselves.
Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com, call 877-723-2902 or check out our YouTube video.