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U.S. Mint and Cent Production Make 60 Minutes
February 11, 2008

Last evening after dinner while channel surfing on the TV, tired of the weekend primary pundent reports already, I came by 60 Minutes.

It was featuring a segment by Morley on the price the U.S. Mint is having to pay to produce our cent and our nickel, because the public demands them.

Interviews with Mint Director Moy were well done. Interviews with the MIT Student who figured our a formula for the value of the time wasted by each of us to count out cents for use in transactions at a cash register in the course of a year ($41.00 for every person).

What was even more exciting for a type collector was to see some of the designs for the 2009 circulating commemorative of the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth and the centennial of the cent.

So, how can we stop the cent use? It all comes down to understanding rounding.

As my co-worker Dave Harper just informed me on our walk into the building from the parking lot, it will be a savy merchant who would advertise - We always round down.

For the rest of us, the rounding occurs at the final total purchase, at the end of the 75.98 grocery bill, or the 29.59 in gas purchase. Rounding does not occur on each of the 15 items in the grocery cart.

During the interview Moy suggests that there will be a one time inflation of prices (two cents!) and then things will stabilize. This also happened in the Euro zone countries where items got rounded up in the transition form national currencies. But then prices stayed steady for a longer period to absorb that it.

I'm willing to take the hit. We have enough stupid decisions made in government that waste money, we do not have to do it on money too.

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About the Author
George Cuhaj has been with the Krause Publications numismatic team since 1994. He is editor of the various editions of the Standard Catalog of World Coins and the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money. Prior to joining KP, Cuhaj was employed by the American Numismatic Society and Stack's Rare Coins, both of New York City. He is a Fellow in both the Royal Numismatic Society and the American Numismatic Society. He also is a life member and past board member of the International Bank Note Society. Cuhaj was elected an Allied Professional Member of the National Sculpture Society and has had his medallic work exhibited internationally.

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