Penny, Nickel Overhaul Makes No Sense to Many

Many resistant to changing small change
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2010 5:30 AM CDT
Penny, Nickel Overhaul Makes No Sense to Many
Corrects metal composition for the nickel; Copper 75 percent, instead of Zinc 75 percent; graphic shows costs to make pennies and nickels

(Newser) – President Obama's plan to save $100 million a year by making pennies and nickels from cheaper material may seem like a no-brainer, but the idea of changing the country's small change isn't an easy one to swallow for some. Laundromat owners, zinc lobbyists, and the many Americans who mistakenly believe the value of the metal in their currency determines its worth are expected to rally against the proposed changes, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Since it currently costs the government nine cents to make a nickel and almost two cents to mint a penny, the White House is weighing cheaper alternatives to the copper-coated zinc used in pennies and nickel-coated zinc used in nickels. An aluminum alloy is a likely candidate. The problem, a coin expert said, is "people believe that we are still on some sort of precious-metal standard." Others worry about counterfeiting of the cheaper coins—not likely, a convicted forger says: "People would be more apt to counterfeit casino chips than American coins." (Read more US Mint stories.)

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