Kill Anthony!

As a collector and coin geek, I love coinage, but even I can’t love the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin. The Susan B *does* look too much like a quarter, having the same color and same style of edge. Visually, the difference in diameter between a quarter and a Susan B is not obvious, and even I confuse the two.

The Mint made a similar mistake in 1875 when they introduced the 20-cent coin. Intended as a convenience when buying ten 2-cent postage stamps, this coin was only minted for a few years before being discontinued. The reasons for failure are all too obvious in hindsight. The 20-cent coin used the same obverse (heads side) as the quarter. It was the same color. It’s diameter was 91% that of the quarter, was only 0.2mm thinner, and weighed only 0.7 grams less. In fact, the only apparent visual distinction between the two was on the reverse (tails side). On the 20-cent coin, the eagle faced to the right, while on the quarter the eagle faced to the left. to quote Wikipedia: "One would basically have had to read the small, easily worn text on the reverse in order to determine the value (TWENTY CENTS vs QUAR. DOL.) without a side by side comparison."

The Sacagawea/presidential dollars have a different color and a smooth rim, so they are sufficiently distinguishable from a quarter. (The Canadian loonie coin is identical to our dollar, and they have no trouble telling it apart from their quarter.) The only stupid thing about the current dollar coins is the government’s refusal to withdraw the obsolete and wasteful dollar bill.

The penny and dime are in a similar boat. They are very similar in diameter and thickness. Yet they are easy to tell apart because of differences in color and rim.

I think that the public anathema to the Susan B has unfairly contaminated public sentiment of the "golden" dollars. They associate the failure of this dollar coin with the failure of *any* dollar coin. Its continued circulation reminds the public of the dollar coin’s "untouchable" status, and I avoid putting Susan B’s into the hands of cashiers. Its existence damages the very cause it was designed to promote. In 215 years, the US Mint has never demonetized a coin, but in the Susan B’s case, I wish they would make an exception.

Without the Susan B still kicking around, dollar coins would not have the stigma of failure that this Carter era relic still carries. Kill the Anthony, and dollar coins might live.


Movies I’ve Seen:

Futurama: Bender’s Big Score

Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs (the best of the three)

Futurama: Bender’s Game

Xanadu (1980)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

What I’m Reading:

"Time Time Traveler’s Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger

"A Fine and Pleasant Misery" by Patrick McManus

"The Federalist Papers" by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay (#42)

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (who is, by the way, my idea of The Model American)

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