Penny Might Go the Way of the Dodo

Treasury secretary detailed plan to eliminate coin in 2015 memo
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2016 9:30 AM CDT
Pennies sit in a bin at the US Mint in Denver.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(Newser) – Now might not be the best time to invest in zinc. The US could be following in Canada's footsteps—and those of a host of other countries, per Quartz—in ridding itself of the pricey penny, according to a March 2015 memo sent to President Obama. In it, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew detailed his plan to suspend production of the penny and put Susan B. Anthony on the $10 bill, reports the Wall Street Journal. Lew eventually decided to get the public's opinion on which female historical figure should grace the new $10 bill, which has yet to be unveiled.

Lew hasn't publicly confirmed the end of the penny, though he has said it's under consideration. "We've been looking at the penny for a long time, because obviously the value of a penny has gotten smaller and smaller as time has gone on," he said in November. "Even with low inflation, it continues to diminish." The penny, which is 97.5% zinc, cost 1.7 cents to produce in 2014. Lew’s memo noted he would ask Congress to allow for the use of alternative metals in making other coins. A final verdict on currency changes "could come within days," reports the Journal. (Read more US currency stories.)

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