Courtesy U.S. MintThe Buzz has buzzed in the past with talk about pennies – their usefullness and efficiency in being part of monetary system. It looks like they'll be around for at least another year as the U.S. Mint has released sketches showing the redesigns of the back of the penny that will commemorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. And here's the link the U.S. Mint website that will give you close-ups of the new penny backs.
The $100 bill will be getting a makeover soon, with special threads being put into the paper that will give it some pretty funky high-tech effects. All of this is to make it harder of counterfeiters to be able to pass off their efforts as real money.
Here’s what’s going to happen to Ben Franklin and the $100 bill. The new threads have tiny lenses built into them – so small that there will be about 650,000 lenses in a single bill. What will they do? When you move the bill from side to side, it will appear that Ben Franklin is moving up or down. Move the bill up and down, and will appear that Ben Franklin is moving from side to side.
This process is already being used in some Swedish high denomination currencies. You should be able to see the new effects in the $100 bill by late next year, when the high-tech bills will go into circulation. Other changes for the $100 include a variety of colors used in the printing of the bills, much like recent changes to $10s, $20s and $50s. Ben Franklin’s face will be getting a little bit of a makeover, as well, on the new bills.
Recently, I posted some other information about possible changes in store for our coins. You can read about that here.
And of course, if you’re tired of the old-fashioned $100 bills we have in circulation right now, I’ll gladly take them off your hands.
Members of Congress are pushing a proposal for the U.S. mint to reconfigure the composition of pennies and nickels. Due to a recent spike in metal values, it actually costs more money to produce those coins than their actual face value.
Under the most recent metal prices, it costs 1.5 cents to make a penny and 8.2 cents to make a nickel. The metal content makeup of those coins are 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper for pennies and 75% copper and 25% nickel for nickels. Copper costs have risen 24 % since the start of this year.
One congressional committee estimates that making composition changes to the penny and nickel could save the government more than $100 million each year. Making metal composition changes to higher value coins could save an additional $400 million each year.
But right now, only the penny and nickel coins are being considered.
Because of the price spike for copper, the national mint recently has made it illegal to melt down coins to sell for their free-market worth. The mint is worried such melting-down action could lead to a shortage of pennies and nickels in our economy.
But there’s more to consider than just finding cheaper metals to put into the coins. Different metals have different properties that could make a substantial difference in the coin minting process. Also, many vending machines recognize natural magnetic signatures that are in the coin’s metals in order to accept them for payment.
What do you think about this money situation? Is the penny outdated? What kind of metal would you like to see coins made from? Share your views here with other Science Buzz readers.