Author Topic: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)  (Read 11003 times)

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Offline villa66

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2011, 08:56:58 PM »
Yes, but:

(a) The project that spawned the 1849 florin didn't get as far as actual implementation. The florin could, and did, serve as a perfectly useful piece in the existing system. It's not as if they minted a load of decimal coins alongside the predecimal ones, found that the public by and large ignored the new ones, but then continued to mint them in huge quantities anyway.

(b) There wasn't another serious attempt to introduce decimal currency until the inquiries of the 1960s that directly led to its introduction. In other words, there were two distinct attempts to reform the coinage that were to all intents and purposes independent of each other. It's not as if there was a long conversion period rumbling on for over a century.....

The plan was implemented at least to the extent that the florin was actually issued, and I’ve read that the half-crown stopped being produced for circulation on account of it. The experiment couldn’t succeed in the face of entrenched habit, however, and despite a good try at making the decimal florin the sole placeholder for that area of the UK coin series, the half-crown was reintroduced a couple of decades later. The decimal florin continued to be produced in large numbers nevertheless.

As for no additional attempts at decimalizing the UK coin series taking place until the 1960s, I’m just sure that “decimalizing” conversations of at least the informal stature of our conversation here were quite common in certain circles all through the dozen decades or so previous to actual decimalization.

My own opinion is that the American dollar coins of 1971-2011 have been—like the British florin—evolutionary creatures, precursors of a change that will eventually take place. 

 :) v.

Offline villa66

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2011, 09:10:44 PM »
...Strange that our neighbour to the south does not just grasp the nettle, they have seen us do it, end of problem :)

Pat

I could not agree more.

 ;) v.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 04:45:39 PM by villa66 »

Offline WillieBoyd2

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2011, 10:00:35 PM »
The Ted Kennedy story above is not true but an urban legend spread by his political opponents.

A similar story:

Copper pennies are still being made because Arizona Senator John McCain represents copper mines.

:)
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2011, 10:41:44 PM »
Sorry to be the one to tell you. Not so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Save_the_Greenback

Kennedy successfully defended Crane's interest on a number of occasions on public record.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-8411273.html

Lansing Crane (CEO of Crane & Co.) was a contributor to Kennedy's campaigns.

http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/lansing-crane.asp?cycle=00 (search for Kennedy)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline WillieBoyd2

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2011, 11:11:46 PM »
Politics
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 11:18:22 PM by WillieBoyd2 »
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2011, 11:18:01 PM »
The plan was implemented at least to the extent that the florin was actually issued, and I’ve read that the half-crown stopped being produced for circulation on account of it. The experiment couldn’t succeed in the face of entrenched habit, however, and despite a good try at making the decimal florin the sole placeholder for that area of the UK coin series, the half-crown was reintroduced a couple of decades later. The decimal florin continued to be produced in large numbers nevertheless.

As for no additional attempts at decimalizing the UK coin series taking place until the 1960s, I’m just sure that “decimalizing” conversations of at least the informal stature of our conversation here were quite common in certain circles all through the dozen decades or so previous to actual decimalization. 

You're entirely correct in your first paragraph, but in being so highlight the fundamental difference I was seeking to make earlier. The florin and the half crown, when it returned, circulated alongside each other. Whatever the ulterior motive was of introducing the tenth-of-a-pound coin, the public used it as well as the half crown. They didn't ostracise it, meaning that the government had loads of surplus stock that had cost it to produce and continued to cost it to store.

Re your second paragraph -- yes, I'm sure there were, but all sorts of ideas are run up flagpoles to see who salutes, without them being considered policy or actually entailing significant expenditure. If the various mintings of circulation $1 coins are just ways of testing the public's attitude, then they're very expensive ways of doing this. Ultimately, the UK government in the 1850s and then again all the way through to the 1960s felt it had more important things to be doing, whether fighting wars, dealing with the Irish, running a creaking empire or enacting important social legislation. By the 1960s most of that had stopped or been done, so they could get down to more minor things like decimalisation -- and once the government made up its mind to do it, it did it pretty quickly.

Offline andyg

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2011, 11:25:41 PM »

Copper pennies are still being made because Arizona Senator John McCain represents copper mines.

Not as far off the truth as you might think   :)
always willing to trade modern UK coins for modern coins from elsewhere....

Offline villa66

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2011, 11:32:22 PM »
....The florin and the half crown, when it returned, circulated alongside each other.....

Of course they did--they're virtually the same coin. The mystery to me is why the government felt compelled to reintroduce it at all.

 :) v.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 11:56:59 PM by villa66 »

Offline villa66

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2011, 11:42:42 PM »
....If the various mintings of circulation $1 coins are just ways of testing the public's attitude, then they're very expensive ways of doing this....

As was something of the case with the British florin, I think of the succession of base-metal dollar coins as helping to prepare the public for the eventual change. We worked off the previous billion-dollar stockpile of SBA/Sac dollars in limited-circulation venues, so the coining of currently unused dollar coins doesn't bother me much.

At some point the balance will tip, and when it does the coins will get their chance.

 :) v.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 10:32:22 AM by villa66 »

Offline villa66

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2011, 11:47:13 PM »
...the UK government in the 1850s and then again all the way through to the 1960s felt it had more important things to be doing, whether fighting wars, dealing with the Irish, running a creaking empire or enacting important social legislation. By the 1960s most of that had stopped or been done, so they could get down to more minor things like decimalisation -- and once the government made up its mind to do it, it did it pretty quickly.

But what about the double-florin of 1887-90? To me it looks like another government attempt at decimalization that ran afoul of the public's preferences.

 :) v.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2011, 09:23:44 AM »
The Wikipedia article on the double florin notes decimalisation as the motive behind introducing the denomination, but I wonder whether it was more than that. The silver crown of dimensions we're familiar with had been around sporadically since Charles II's reign but during the 19th century did not circulate massively widely, probably because people didn't like holes being worn in their pockets by such a huge chunk of metal. I wonder whether the double florin was as much an attempt to introduce a high-value silver coin that was of a more acceptable size than the crown as a move towards decimalisation. After all, there's nothing wrong with the crown in the decimal series (0.25 of a pound), and indeed the denomination was retained until 1981.

I agree, though, that the double florin is a good parallel with the current situation regarding $1 coins. The new coin didn't take off because the public didn't like it. The immediate reason for this was that they stood to lose a shilling by confusing the new coin with a crown (it was called the barmaid's grief for this reason, as bar staff in dingy dark pubs were at particular risk of being fleeced), but the underlying reason was the lack of institutional impetus to remove the crown speedily from circulation. Not only were crowns still legal tender throughout the period of the double florin's production, but also crowns of the Jubilee Head period (1887-1892, coinciding with the double florin) were minted in larger numbers than previously in direct competition with the new coin.

Offline villa66

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2011, 07:20:47 PM »
The Wikipedia article on the double florin notes decimalisation as the motive behind introducing the denomination, but I wonder whether it was more than that....I wonder whether the double florin was as much an attempt to introduce a high-value silver coin that was of a more acceptable size than the crown as a move towards decimalisation....

I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it seems very sensible. Your reasoning tracks what was happening to the contemporary dollar coin—the Morgan dollars of that day were also encountering resistance in circulation and were themselves being stockpiled (it would prove fortuitous later on).

Much of that resistance to the silver dollar was a response to its size in relation to its purchasing power. Too big, too heavy--just the case you describe with the British crown. (And of course the trouble with the gold dollar coin was exactly the reverse—too tiny to be handy).

The plain fact is that the American dollar coin—whether of gold, silver, or of some other alloy—has from the very beginning of Federal coinage almost always been problematic. Part of the trouble has been of course the coins themselves: too big, too small, too confusing, too heavy, too light, too ugly, too over-valued, too under-valued, too few, too many, etc., etc.

But at bottom has been the fact that by a large majority Americans really like their paper dollar, and prefer it to a dollar coin, to a
degree that threatens political problems for anyone who decides to just take it away from them.

I don’t personally agree with that preference, but there’s no way I’d call it unreasonable. Not yet, anyway.

 :) v.

Offline FosseWay

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2011, 09:18:26 PM »
Part of the trouble has been of course the coins themselves: too big, too small, too confusing, too heavy, too light, too ugly, too over-valued, too under-valued, too few, too many, etc., etc.

And part of the problem with these characteristics (well, size and weight anyway) is that American coinage has changed very little for ages. AFAIK the dime to the dollar haven't changed basic format (though they've stopped being silver) since they were introduced in the 1790s. The penny hasn't changed since it went small in the 19th century. Yet in that time there's been huge inflation, with the result that people don't see the link between purchasing power and coin size any more.

Interestingly, a similar situation is present in Sweden, where only three denominations of coin circulate (1, 5 and 10 kronor) and where the 1 krona coin is the same size and shape that it was when the currency was introduced in 1873 (though, like the quarter, it stopped being silver in the 1960s). The Swedes are opting for a half-way house: the government has rejected the Sveriges Riksbank recommendation to replace the 20 kronor note with a coin, but has accepted plans to resize the 1 and 5 kronor and re-introduce the 2 kronor, to make the coins' appearance closer to the public perception of their purchasing power.

Offline villa66

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2011, 09:43:21 PM »
The characteristics being referred to were with respect to the dollar coins only. About the age of the American coin series in general is of course true, as has been discussed elsewhere on this web-site. I enjoy that fact, but it's definitely past time for some movement in the series. All in all, however, it still does a pretty good job of meeting the needs of its users. One good thing about low-value coins is that counterfeiting isn't a problem.

How do the British cope with all those counterfeit 1-pound coins? Last I read the number of fakes had increased to something like 2% of all the coins in circulation, with an even higher percentage afoot in London. Can that really be true?

 :) v.

 


Offline FosseWay

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Re: $1 Coins Fail to Circulate (Again)
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2011, 10:40:45 PM »
My personal experience is that the number of fakes has reduced significantly recently, but it may be that supply is very regional. It is certainly true that a major counterfeiter in the Midlands was busted a while back.

While having fakes in circulation is clearly bad in general, I think the effect of them on the economy and on individuals is greatly overplayed. Most of the counterfeits you see are pretty good and will deceive most people even if they look at them closely, which they don't tend to do. This means that the ultimate losers are the banks and the government, and the quantities we're talking about are chicken feed in the overall financial context. Far more of an issue, both for individuals and society, are frauds involving hundreds or thousands of pounds per action taken through ATM scams, hacking and identity theft.