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Funny or Evidence of Complete Dollar Coin Failure?
December 16, 2009

Did you read the Dec. 7 account in the Wall Street Journal about the Mint’s dollar coin direct ship program being used to rack up airline miles?

What has puzzled me for the last week is why the Mint should decide it has to be the policeman of the airline frequent flyer programs.

The Mint wants coins to go out into circulation. The direct ship program was designed to do this. Clever users of credit cards charged the coins and deposited them in their banks, gaining frequent flyer miles in the process at a negligible net cost.

There does seem to be a problem here – for the airlines.

But the Mint jumped into action instead. It has a Web site message saying, “the immediate bank deposit of $1 Coins ordered through this Program does not result in their introduction into circulation and, therefore, does not comply with the intended purpose of the Program.”

So OK, the Mint wants dollar coins to go out into public hands. But certain uses are not acceptable.

Sure I know there is some bank inconvenience involved as well, but shouldn’t that be a matter between the bank and the account holder that is trying to deposit large numbers of dollar coins?

And if dollar coins are problems for banks in this small way, isn’t that rather an admission that dollar coins are simply a problem?

Next we will discover that the Mint will only allow grandmothers to buy dollars coins and only on condition that they be placed in the piggy banks of grandchildren because we don’t want to cause problems for the airlines, the banks and any other private entity that might somehow have to use or process dollar coins.

That pretty well spells out dollar coin failure, doesn’t it?

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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