From the U.S. Mint, one year later:
February 19, 2001 11:24 AM   Subscribe

From the U.S. Mint, one year later: "Demand for the Golden Dollar continues to grow. Currently, the U. S. Mint has shipped over 1 billion Golden Dollars through all of its distribution channels." My question: where are these things? Are any of you in the U.S. actually seeing these in circulation?
posted by ChrisTN (86 comments total)
you can get them as change from the stamp machine at the post office in downtown Chicago. That's the only place I've seen them.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:28 AM on February 19, 2001

So last week I was thinking this same thing, and went looking. Could not find them in any of three stores (two grocery, one convenience), not at my credit union, and only just barely at my wife's bank (they only had 3 rolls). I bought the rolls and have been spending them like lately. Some folks look a little irked, but most just take them and move on to the next person, no problem. My only issue is that 6 or 7 bucks starts to get a bit weighty in your pocket. Of course, all my activity is outgoing (I'm trying to instigate), I've never once gotten one in change.
posted by kokogiak at 11:28 AM on February 19, 2001

last year a friend got some for his birthday from family members, that's the only time i've seen them. i remember hearing that you could get them as change in the post office though (like outlawyr said).
posted by pnevares at 11:29 AM on February 19, 2001

I've never encountered one in circulation. We went to the bank and got a couple as change, and I promptly stuck mine away in a drawer along with a Susan B. Anthony dollar and some British coins. I suspect there was a lot of that going on.
posted by briank at 11:29 AM on February 19, 2001

I've never encountered one either, and I'm reasonably glad of it. Having recently shed myself of about 9 GBP and 23 Ff, all in coins (I'd been stupidly schlepping them since my last overseas trip) I am realising how much more portable, lightweight and pleasant bills are, even if the coins are all pretty and golden and shimmery.
posted by Dreama at 11:39 AM on February 19, 2001

I get them from the vending machine here at work (again, in Chicago).

I've also been able to get them from the bank on occaision. To my knowledge, you can drop off a 20 or a 50, and get a roll of them.

Try flipping them to homeless folks on the street - you'll feel all sorts of superior.
posted by aladfar at 11:43 AM on February 19, 2001

Yup, they come as change from the stamp machines. I used one as bus fare the other day, but not before having to stand at the front of the bus for five minutes while the driver looked through her pockets for a dollar to trade me. She couldn't find one and I got great pleasure out of dropping the golden dollar into the fare box.

The mint is going to have to totally flood the country with these things to get people to let go of their concept of artificially induced shortage-based value.

You will not get filthy rich by hanging on to old issues of TV guide, Franklin Mint plates, or every collectable coin marketed on Saturday afternoon TV.

Beanie babies, anyone?

Although I did keep one Delaware quarter, because that's where I'm from and we were first, dang it!
posted by jennyb at 11:43 AM on February 19, 2001

Two people from my church work at the Mint, and one of them had a dollar coin at Sunday services.

She said that banks have been very slow to embrace them and give them out to people, which is why they're not in heavy circulation. The Mint then said they'd circumvent the banks and take it straight to places like 7-11, and the banks flipped out at that, too, because they feel it's their job to distribute currency.

Personally, I still like the old paper dollars. The last thing I want is more change in my wallet.
posted by bgluckman at 11:47 AM on February 19, 2001

You get them here in SF to ride the Muni (subway/railway), so if you ever want them you just go down to the Muni station and put in your $1 or $5 bill. Bleem Bleem. I have about 5 on my desk right now.
posted by physics at 11:49 AM on February 19, 2001

Huh? I use these things all the time in San Francisco. The stamp machine spits them out, the MUNI ticket machine gives them as change, and the CalTrain ticket dispenser also spits them out. And then I use them when getting on the MUNI as well. It's much easier than trying to feed a dollar into the slot, or dropping a dollar's worth of assorted change into the hole. But they are heavy, that's for sure. And from what I can tell, I'm the only person who enjoys using them. Most folks seem to complain whenever they get them, which I like, because then they give them to me.
posted by megnut at 11:53 AM on February 19, 2001

Wal-Mart and Sam's made a huge deal about them not too long ago. They would always offer the dollar coins with your change. They even had flyers and posters up about the dollar coins.
posted by crog at 11:55 AM on February 19, 2001

Here in Oklahoma, they were giving them out at Wal-Mart as change, but you could only have one per transaction. This was when they were first coming out. I've seen a few since then. My dad had a couple, and one of my roommates has/had one about a week ago. I'm not sure if he used it or not.
posted by howa2396 at 11:56 AM on February 19, 2001

you can also get them as change from the metrocard machines which dispense cards to ride the subway and buses in nyc. the only problem is that i often forget i have them because i prefer paper money over change, but they sure are pretty!
posted by scout at 12:00 PM on February 19, 2001

i get them whenever i buy things from a vending machine that might cost more than, say, $7 or $8. so stamps, train tickets (i got my first when i was buying tickets from a long island railroad ticket machine at penn station), metrocards, stuff like that. i think i've been given golden dollars as change once or twice, both times at drugstores.

i like them. (meg, you're not alone!) i think they're especially convenient in transit situations -- buses here cost $1.60 and it's just easier to get a bunch of change out of my wallet than to get the change, then the bill, then snap the billfold closed ...
posted by maura at 12:01 PM on February 19, 2001

I was just thinking about these. I got about six of them as change from a stamp vending machine a month or so ago. I've been reluctant to try and spend them since I'd never seen them elsewhere and assumed that most retail clerks would be unfamiliar with them. I guess it's time to try the experiment.
posted by rdr at 12:16 PM on February 19, 2001

I've been getting a lot of them as change in the bars around here lately. I guess the assumption is that one would be much more likely to just leave the coins behind as tips than they are with bills. Not me though... I'm too poor(and cheap!)
posted by jdunn_entropy at 12:22 PM on February 19, 2001

It took me about fifteen minutes one time in Taco Bell to convince the counter girl that it was real money. She had to get the manager.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:23 PM on February 19, 2001

I get them from PATH (a NJ to NYC subway) turnstiles if I put in a $5 bill for the $1 fare. Luckily, they also take the $1 coins as fare, so I usually give them right back for the next few rides.
posted by xsquared-1 at 12:25 PM on February 19, 2001

This is just a guess, but isn't there a mint in San Francisco. Is it possible that Meg's seeing them because she's closer to the mint? Out here in Boston, I have yet to see one. When they first came out, I heard that the local Wal-Mart "sold out" in a couple of hours. For some reason, that didn't surprise me.
posted by jpoulos at 12:27 PM on February 19, 2001

i saw some in the casino i went to yesterday. that's the only time, though. (and the woman who was a model for the figure on the coin goes to my university -- there was a big deal about it when the coin first came out)
posted by sugarfish at 1:02 PM on February 19, 2001

"It took me about fifteen minutes one time in Taco Bell to convince the counter girl that it was real money. She had to get the manager."

this sounds familiar ...
posted by maura at 1:08 PM on February 19, 2001

I think they're cute, but I can't take them seriously.

There's nothing that says "I'm really hard up" like paying for purchases with a handful of change. I spent too much of my impoverished youth holding up checkout lines with counting out loose change for various small purchases to feel really comfortable with standing at a cash register and reaching into my jeans pocket to pull out that handful of assorted change, digging through the pennies and nickels looking for the *big* change.

Sure, it's petty, superficial, and stupid, but I'd bet a whole *pile* of that pretty golden money on this very thing being a part of the reason the coins are slow to catch on.

Coinstar says a full two-thirds of respondents to a survey done last year were going to save their golden dollar coins. Myself, I'd rather just take them to the nearest Coinstar machine and trade them for green money.
posted by Sapphireblue at 1:10 PM on February 19, 2001

I like big change. In France, you can buy a big bag of croissants with a pocket full of change, whereas in Holland, those half gilders aren't worth the space in your hand.

I have yet to even lay eyes on one of these dollars. Woe! The south is so sedentary, it'll never take here!
posted by mblandi at 1:19 PM on February 19, 2001

maura: well it wasn't as bad as all that in my case :)
I just remembered another one: Scroll down to Susan B. Anthony.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:22 PM on February 19, 2001

Your next assignment is to go to Taco Bell and order a bean burrito (no onions), a mexi-nuggets, and a small drink. Pay for it with one Golden Dollar, one Susan B., and one $2 bill. Let us know how it goes.

posted by gluechunk at 1:34 PM on February 19, 2001

I'm with Meg -- in addition to getting them as change from MetroCard vending machines, I also get them when my friends flip out at having them and accept my offer to take them off their hands. I love them; my first one is now firmly in place in my pocket, as my good luck charm du jour.
posted by delfuego at 1:48 PM on February 19, 2001

yes, there is a mint here in SF that i happen to live a block away from. makes me wish i could teleport myself into it when i'm running low on cash. anyhow i'm sure that it does help with circulation, but i have to say that i don't so much use them for anything but public transportation. bills are much lighter and easier to store.

it's odd to see the mint security check employees out as they go to work. they break out the mirrors and check under the entire car, trunk, engine, everything. probably throw in a good full body search as well. i wonder if maybe, just maybe any of those employees snag a sheet or two of bens and get away with it. would be close to impossible, but ya never know.
posted by physics at 1:54 PM on February 19, 2001

I love love love love Dollar Coins! I'm no numismatist, (perish the thought!) but I was lined up for these puppies on the first day like it was Episode Two.

I inflict them on everyone I know. Of course, I also keep a bunch of two dollar bills around to use as tips, so I might be a bit of an odd currency buff. You shoulda seen me when the new hundreds first came out. Big faces on bills = big grin on my face.

I guess they haven't hit the rest of the country as quickly as NYC, but they're definitely circulating here, thanks to (as mentioned above) our mass transit system's embrace of the coins. Sure beats those Susan B. Yucky pseudo-octagonal quarter-lookin' monstrosities that they replaced.
posted by anildash at 1:54 PM on February 19, 2001

Oh, and yeah, they're heavy, but if you've got a good fistful of these in your pocket, you can just grab them in your hand and have one mean punch to swing if you get in a bar fight.
posted by anildash at 1:56 PM on February 19, 2001

Got one at the Caltrain station when I was over there a couple of weeks ago. And I like them. Yesterday, I got rid of 13 dollar bills that were swelling up my wallet, and I really resent having to deal with those "60p notes". At least with British paper money, I know that if I have some, I can actually buy something. (Then again, there's always the two-pound coin, the perfect beer token.)

Then again, the US is saddled with the copper penny, the world's most useless coin, which goes a long way towards devaluing the notion of coinage in general. The sooner it follows the Netherlands and rounds (up or down) to the nearest 5 cents, the better.
posted by holgate at 2:34 PM on February 19, 2001

The mint in San Francisco does not manufacture circulated coins, and is probably not helpful in getting dollar coins out to circulate in SF. They make commemoratives and proof sets. The current circulated coins come from "P" Philadelphia and "D" Denver (see any coin for the mint letter). I verified this info at About the US Mint.
posted by girlhacker at 2:37 PM on February 19, 2001

Yeah, but try paying a hooker with a handful of them. Now THAT'S embarrassing.
posted by Optamystic at 2:41 PM on February 19, 2001

When I was down in the states last month, I was inundated with one dollar bills, and it was very, very weird.

We've had $1 coins in Canada since somewhere around 1990, and $2 coins in Canada since 1995 or 1996, and they're great.

I hated pulling a wad of bills from my wallet and finding out I had $11, it was a complete shock. Dollar coins are tremendously convenient.
posted by cCranium at 2:41 PM on February 19, 2001

The problem with these things is quite clear from the above posts. Most of their use is in in closed systems: buy mass transit ticket, get coin in change, use coin tomorrow to help pay for ticket. And almost all the rest of the usage is one-way: Boy gets coin, boy finds coin really neat, boy hoards coin. The only reason they ever showed up at Wal-Mart is because the US Mint literally contracted with them to get the things out there. They knew that if the coins weren't forced into the day-to-day economy quickly, they'd never make it past the government vending machine arena. And even then it didn't work. People don't want $1 coins, period. Every case I've ever read about where they "worked" turned out to be a case where the government started withdrawing paper dollars from circulation at the same time. The public had no choice or say in the matter.
posted by aaron at 2:44 PM on February 19, 2001

I have been bringing home at least one golden dollar every day for the last few months, and I place them in tiny muslin cloth bags that I hang from my belt. I don't know how many I have, probably somewhere between 1 and 2 hundred. I save all my pocket change, and this seemed like a way of turning the hundred dollars I usually get when I turn the coins in, into a grand. I always pick through my coins and steal the quarters back for diet cokes, a thing that does not happen with my Pocahontas dollars. Easy way to save alittle more.

If anyone would like, I can post a .jpg of me rolling around in them Scrooge McDuck style.
posted by thirteen at 2:48 PM on February 19, 2001

Regarding the Susan B. Anthony: I enjoy posing a trivia question to people about them. It's rather basic but no one seems to be able to answer it without actually referencing the coin. Here it is: what is depicted on the back of the Susan B. Anthony dollar?

You'll know you have the right answer if it seems a little bit surreal.
posted by jbushnell at 2:57 PM on February 19, 2001

Well, this is why I asked the question. I figured that they must be in wider usage somewhere in the country than they are in my neck of the woods. As for me, I got 3 in change at Wal-Mart right as they were being introduced. I saved one, but spent two...and that was the last I heard of them.

jbushnell: Is the SBA the dollar with the eagle landing on the moon on the back? I always thought that was odd. Why don't they put a little-bitty space helmet on it? But I digress...
posted by ChrisTN at 3:02 PM on February 19, 2001

It's Sacagawea, not POCOHANTAS!!

Interesting Susan B. Anthony factoid: It was a coin that failed because nobody wanted to use it. And yet in 1999 the Mint was forced to put out about 30 million new ones because they were running out. Same deal as with the Sacagaweas: People get them in government vending machines, they take them home, and the coins never see circulation again.
posted by aaron at 3:14 PM on February 19, 2001

ChrisTN: it's an eagle because it's a copy of the Apollo 11 mission patch, which depicted an eagle landing on the moon. The patch was a bit of a visual pun: the landing vehicle was named "Eagle." Besides, an actual eagle landing on the moon is a prettier (and weirder) thing to look at than a little picture of a bug-eyed LEM setting down with an olive branch stuck to its landing gear or something. The design was lifted from the previous Eisenhower dollar coin, which explains the mild anachronism of putting moon-landing memorabilia on a coin minted a decade later.

Coins are a never-ending nuisance. I'm always trying to get rid of them and am never quite able to keep up. They weigh down my pockets, jingle awkwardly, and clutter up everything they come in contact with. It is more work trying to find creative ways to spend pennies than the coins themselves are worth (when was the last time you encountered a vending machine that accepted them?). When I last moved, I dug up some three pounds of coins laying around on closets, countertops, and other nooks - I'm convinced they breed when we're not looking. It took ages to get rid of them all. I've never been a fan of the "tipping" system or of panhandling, but I now routinely dump change into tip jars and give it to anyone who asks me for it just as a means of foisting the hassle of dealing with coins off on someone else.

The Mint is going the wrong direction with this Sacagawea dollar. What we really need are 25-cent bills. THAT would make me happy.

posted by Mars Saxman at 3:46 PM on February 19, 2001

Did anyone notice that they recently started to print $2 bills again? ... I just got one from a cabbie and it had Robert Rubin's signature (the recent Secretary of the Treasury).

The government would save lots of money if people converted to $1 coins and $2 bills. (It being agreed that $1 coins are too heavy to carry en masse, and the $5 bill being too large a denomination to be the smallest bill).

Interesting note: the Sacajewa Dollar is an exact replacement of the Susan B. Anthony dollar: at the instance of vending machine / change machine operators, who loved the efficiency of dollar coints, it has the same weight, diameter, width, and electromagnetic characteristics as the Susan B. Anthony...

posted by MattD at 4:03 PM on February 19, 2001

I've said before that I think the US is, in a way, hampered by two things: a tip culture that imposes the need to leave paper money, or else be considered "cheap"; and the de facto status of the dollar as the hard currency of choice across the world, making low denominations useful for when you're travelling, say, in Cuba.
posted by holgate at 4:18 PM on February 19, 2001

when was the last time you encountered a vending machine that accepted [pennies]?

All the vending machines around campus (and in high school, too) accept pennies.
posted by gleemax at 4:35 PM on February 19, 2001

The stamp machines in Tucson, AZ accepted pennies. There's that post office connection again. And "eagle landing on the moon" is the correct answer. I love that.
posted by jbushnell at 4:44 PM on February 19, 2001

it has the same weight, diameter, width, and electromagnetic characteristics as the Susan B. Anthony...

...all of which were directly listed as reasons nobody wanted to use the Susan B. Anthony: weight, diameter, width (well, not electromagnetic characteristics). It felt just like a quarter to most people, and looked like one too, if you weren't paying attention or just had bad eyes. So many people were confused by them that they just said "the hell with it." The only improvement the Sacawagea coin has over the Anthony is its color, and that's not enough.

And yeah, most new vending machines do take pennies. They don't advertise this point, but they do take them. My own opinion is that, annoying though pennies may be, it's best for us economically to be allowed to price things as minutely as possible. Forcing us to work in 5-cent units will just make everyone push their prices 5 cents higher. And then inflation can only go up in units of 5, and on and on. More importantly, the penny allows stores to perform their favorite psych trick: selling things at, say, $9.99 because that makes most people think "Oh, under 10 bucks, that's cheap!" where the same person would go "Oh, too expensive" when presented with the same product for $10 even.

Plus it's a liberty thing; anytime the government just decides to do meaningless things like this and not even accept public input beforehand, I'm against it. The only reason governments want to do stuff like this is save money. Bills only last ~18 months, but coins can last 20-30 years or more. That's why they want to force $1 coins on the public. Yes, it would save money, but when compared with the entire government budget, it's the equivalent of a pack of gum. And to me, that little extra bit of money spend to keep people happy is worth it.
posted by aaron at 5:10 PM on February 19, 2001

When Government bureaucrats make such arbitrary decisions, that is. When the President does something arbitrarily, we've elected him to be the mane to make such choices. But government bureaucrats who tend to serve through multiple administrations, when they start trying to make willy-nilly decisions, watch out.
posted by aaron at 5:12 PM on February 19, 2001

The first and only time I came upon one of these new dollar-things was at the check-out counter at K-mart. The woman tried to give me a few of these as change. I told her I didn't want any of this K-mart money and that I wanted real dollar bills. She ended up giving me my change in quarters. I hope to fight this thing to the bitter end.
posted by leo at 5:38 PM on February 19, 2001

aaron: The dollar coins also have a smooth edge, in contrast with reeded-edge quarters and SBA dollars. Between that and the obvious color difference, I don't see a real differentiation problem.

As for pennies: I'd love to do things Australian style, with pricing in pennies but rounding to nickels on a per-transaction basis. No statistical impact on pricing or twiddling with consumer psyches and we get rid of the infernal one-cent piece.
posted by youhas at 6:15 PM on February 19, 2001

the Sacajewa Dollar is an exact replacement of the Susan B. Anthony dollar... it has the same weight, diameter, width, and electromagnetic characteristics...

That's just plain not true.
posted by jpoulos at 6:20 PM on February 19, 2001

Also, the color is different, which was a major problem with the SBA.
posted by jpoulos at 6:25 PM on February 19, 2001

Hell, I was hoarding mine to build a giant Sacajawea gold dollar pirate robot of UNFATHOMABLE power and destruction.

What are all your excuses?
posted by Capn_Stuby at 7:10 PM on February 19, 2001

So the quick-read consensus here seems to be that people who use mass transit and vending machines love 'em, people who use government vending machines get 'em, and everyone else could take 'em or leave 'em.

The big question is: who asked for 'em?
posted by Dreama at 7:14 PM on February 19, 2001

The big question is: who asked for 'em?

My guess: the people who run mass transit, and those vending machine people who want to escape the tyranny of the dollar-bill reader companies.

And youhas: that's exactly what happens in the Netherlands as well. Price by the cent, round up or down to the nearest 5c.

Tangentially, it's bizarre that we now associate paper money with "real value", given the centuries it took for bills of exchange to replace precious metals as common currency. After all, it's paper money, when not backed by gold, that allows the kind of inflation that ends with banks stamping extra zeroes onto its notes.
posted by holgate at 7:25 PM on February 19, 2001

It's the U.S. Mint that's trying to shove these things down our throats. My beef is if they wanted to go for a dollar coin they should have brought back the silver dollar -- now that was money! And it's not as if they had to put any silver in the modern version. Instead we have this perfectly ugly coin that only mass transit and vending machine types are happy with. Deplorable.
posted by leo at 7:36 PM on February 19, 2001

aaron wrote: Forcing us to work in 5-cent units will just make everyone push their prices 5 cents higher.

Not necessarily.

Firstly, look at what you said later in your post: most prices end in 9 cents for psychological reasons. So if prices were raised to compensate for a lack of pennies, they’d only raise one cent, not five.

However, even if the US phased out the penny, you may well find prices don’t change at all. That’s what happened here -- they phased out the one and two cent coins here in Australia about a decade ago, and prices are still in all sorts of denominations. When you get to the register, the total price is either round up or down, depending upon store policy. Most big stores, supermarkets, etc round down. Other stores round up. Nobody even comments on it, it’s a complete non-issue.

youhas has basically said this already, but I thought it was worth expanding on.

aaron wrote: And then inflation can only go up in units of 5, and on and on.

Inflation is a percentage change between one time period and another. You could perhaps argue that there would be a tiny jump the quarter following the removal of pennies due to prices being round up in some stores, but beyond that, it wouldn’t make any difference. Given the removal would be gradual, it’d be awfully hard to pinpoint anyway.

The idea that inflation could only go in units of 5 (5 units of what?) is incorrect.

If you don’t want to get rid of pennies, that’s cool, but the economic reasons you give don’t really work.
posted by Georgina at 8:16 PM on February 19, 2001

The big question is: who asked for 'em?

Holgate's not far off the mark. Here's the explanation given when the bill was introduced in the House. Running out of Anthony coins, all the vending machines' fault, yadda yadda. And, most importantly, it would Save Money, public feelings be damned.

posted by aaron at 9:12 PM on February 19, 2001

we've got $1 and $2 gold coins here. and i love them.

i chuck all my coinage in the coin tray in my car, and there's nothing as satisfying as dipping my hand in there to find i've got enough gold for a packet of ciggies, when i've bled my wallet dry.

posted by titboy at 9:35 PM on February 19, 2001

I'll point out that living right by the Mint isn't really relevant, since coins are distributed to the Federal Reserve, and then to local banks on the basis of need. Also, the Mint may make coins, but they don't print Ben Franklin $50 bills -- that's the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, who have the most whimsical domain name in the US government. I think from there the bills go to the Federal Reserve Bank in SF.

And aaron, that bill fell by the wayside. It was incorporated into the same bill for the fifty state quarters. The confusion was specifically provided for: "The dollar coin shall be golden in color, have a distinctive edge, have tactile and visual features that make the denomination ... readily discernible ... and have similar metallic, anti-counterfeiting properties as United States coinage in circulation on the date of enactment...." In other words, the counting-machine industry made sure that they wouldn't have to do much reprogramming, the blind got a coin that they could tell apart, the average consumer got a coin he didn't have to look twice at, and the collectors got a new coin they could stow away for a rainy day.

Aaron, if they didn't care about the public's feelings, Congress would have followed Canada's lead and phased out the dollar bill. (Language for that was in the one you linked to, but removed from the bill sent to the President.) Since they let people continued to use dollar bills, they doomed the dollar coin to more ignominy.
posted by dhartung at 9:45 PM on February 19, 2001

One other place that the new dollar coins have gone over like gangbusters is at Renaissance faires. Somehow, it's just more fun to pay for that handcrafted stoneware mug with a handful of gold coins.

I actually like the bloody things, and tend to roll my eyes at the "change is bad" (pun unintentional – really) folks.
posted by harmful at 9:48 PM on February 19, 2001

My guess is that the dollar bill will be phased out as soon as inflation pushes the price of a can of Coke to over $1. Or when table staff start to turn up their noses at a $1 tip. (Note that in the bill aaron pointed to, it states that "The $1 bill has the same purchasing power as the quarter did in 1970.") There's a cultural weight in things like that.

(In the UK, it works out as about 50-60p for a can, which is no problem as far as change is concerned. And since we don't tip bar staff in the same way, the "dollar on the bar" isn't an issue.)
posted by holgate at 9:55 PM on February 19, 2001

Last thought on the "culture of money". In the month I've spent in the US, it occurs to me that the cash culture is basically built on the $20 and the $1: stores and bars get nervous when you offer anything higher than a $20, and rather than receive $5 and $10s in change, you'll often get a handful of dollar bills to encourage the tip. And coins go in jars. It's all strangely inefficient.
posted by holgate at 10:05 PM on February 19, 2001

Oh cool, a $1 prosperity note. What's this?

Price: $5.95

Those bastards!
posted by gleemax at 10:57 PM on February 19, 2001

Might as well toss this article into the thread. An artist involved with the coin is apparently getting rich from selling $1 coins that may or may not be extra shiny. I say good for her.
posted by gluechunk at 12:02 AM on February 20, 2001

holgate: "60p notes" love it!

When are you 'mericans going to have your curency in color(tm)?
posted by fullerine at 5:00 AM on February 20, 2001

The Sacajewa dollar is not easily distinguishable from a quarter, despite the color. We should look to the British and the Swiss when it comes to coin and paper money design. They understand the importance of having different weights, shapes, sizes, and colors. Our paper money is especially boring.
posted by Chairman_MaoXian at 7:14 AM on February 20, 2001

Oops, it's Sacagawea... I foolishly copied someone's "Sacajewa" from a previous post... which is an obvious anti-semitic Freudian slip on someone's part.
posted by Chairman_MaoXian at 7:20 AM on February 20, 2001

hee. re: Chairman_MaoXian's link:

who the hell ever thought it was a good idea to print a ten thousand dollar bill?

I want one of those so I can see what the girl at Taco Bell will do with it.
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:20 AM on February 20, 2001

So, is there a nickname for this dollar coin? Canadians have $1 "loonies" named for the loon (bird) on the coin. The two dollar coin, released a few years later, is known as a "toonie".
posted by xiffix at 8:23 AM on February 20, 2001

It's known colloquially as the "Sack o' Jawea."
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:27 AM on February 20, 2001

I think, given inflation (e.g. dollar-worth-a-1970-quarter and all that), they should at least reintroduce the $500 bill. I know one or two people who'd be glad to carry one around.

But really, all this will go away, as more people move to electronic transactions. I only buy gas with cash maybe once a month anymore.

The $1/$20 thing is largely because many ATMs give out nothing but $20s. The stores just don't have that many tenners and fivers to give back. At Citibank, at least, you can get $10s.

Sapphire: in those days, no wire transactions. A $10,000 note is easier to carry around -- and lock up -- than the same amount in gold.
posted by dhartung at 8:31 AM on February 20, 2001

oh wow. there was a hundred thousand dollar note too, intended for use only by banks.


(to go *completely* off-topic, this page is the first I've run into just surfing about to greet me by name with one of those blasted Amazon honor-pay graphics. blick, makeitgoaway.)
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:32 AM on February 20, 2001

"I only buy gas with cash maybe once a month anymore."
Really? Me and most of my friends use cash almost exclusively, even for $100-$200 purchases. I didn't think anybody used the pay-at-the-pump thing.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:34 AM on February 20, 2001

I never buy gas at a gas station that doesn't offer pay-at-the-pump. If I pull up and don't see a card reader in the pump, I leave. Back when I lived in Detroit, I had one of those Mobil car-tag things so that when I pulled up to the pump, I could start pumping by the time I got out of the car, didn't even need to fumble for my wallet and stick in the card.

I don't know what I'd do if I lived in Oregon. Move, probably. (For those who don't know, self-serve gas stations of all types are apparently illegal in Oregon.)
posted by kindall at 9:48 AM on February 20, 2001

JPaulos -- when they were promoting the Sacajewa coins in my office via US Mint infosheets (don't ask, it was some kind of building civic initiative) they specifically mentioned the Sacajewa - SBA equivalence. I looked at the site you cite and I guess it is a +- 5% equivalence, not an exactly equal construction. The pictures they are using don't seem to scale.
posted by MattD at 10:22 AM on February 20, 2001

(off topic) There is a band in Jacksonville, Florida called Sack-a-ja-weed-a.

(Optamystic, his "inner Beavis" appeased, wanders away to look at some pretty flowers.)
posted by Optamystic at 10:41 AM on February 20, 2001

I don't know what I'd do if I lived in Oregon. Move, probably.

You can still use plastic money - just hand it to the attendant. They'll come back with a little tray with a pen for you to sign the receipt. I don't know whether there's a way to use an ATM card, but does anyone still carry ATM cards that aren't also Visa cards?

posted by Mars Saxman at 12:32 PM on February 20, 2001

You can still use plastic money - just hand it to the attendant.

Well, sure. It's not the plastic money itself that appeals to me, it's the hassle-free and efficient nature of dealing with a machine instead of a person.
posted by kindall at 12:50 PM on February 20, 2001

I don't know whether there's a way to use an ATM card

If they don't already have wireless Debit Card readers, they should soon. 'Course you guys have that check card thing going on, instead of debit card terminals everywhere.

The wireless debit terminals are handy though, because they can bring them straight to the car to swipe debit or credit cards.
posted by cCranium at 1:01 PM on February 20, 2001

My guess is that the dollar bill will be phased out as soon as inflation pushes the price of a can of Coke to over $1. Or when table staff start to turn up their noses at a $1 tip.

too late!
posted by palegirl at 1:42 PM on February 20, 2001

hey, i'm sure there are a lot of would-be-unemployed gas station attendants in my fair state that are quite happy about our mandatory full-serve stations. i personally love it, and it keeps a lot of people in jobs.
posted by pikachulolita at 1:52 PM on February 20, 2001

whats all this talk about one dollar bills/coins? would this be some of that old fashioned cash people used to use?

rarely do i touch cash. value of never touching money god-knows-who touched because you've got debit mastercard? priceless. :-)

seriously though... when places like taco bell and mcdonalds take cards and have swipes at the checkouts and drive thrus, that will be the day i'll never see cash again, and you know what? i'll never look back. i buy my bus pass (cincinnati metro, its all we have here) via card, which creates another card.
posted by benjh at 2:19 PM on February 20, 2001

i buy my bus pass (cincinnati metro, its all we have here) via card, which creates another card.

Actually, that reminds me of the debate I caught in the New York Times: there's a group of people who want to continue using the Subway token for their journeys, because they say the Metrocard system creates more litter from discarded plastic. And they have a decent point, I think. Plastic begets plastic. That is, until we all have our lives and bank balances recorded on smart cards. Just a matter of time.
posted by holgate at 6:00 PM on February 20, 2001

Don't forget Canada's $63 million bill. There were only four ever made, at least according to Bob.
posted by jbushnell at 9:04 PM on February 20, 2001

samiam, you're kidding, right? First encountered pay-at-the-pump at a gas station on the border between Norway and Sweden in 1987. We ran it, got gas, got a receipt ... but my Dad had me go up to the attendant and make sure there wasn't anything else we had to do. Unsettling, there were so many other oddities about traveling abroad, you know.

Of course, it only makes sense to do this with a debit or ATM card, unless you have a generous grace period and pay off every month. Who wants to pay 19.8% on gas they've already used?
posted by dhartung at 9:04 PM on February 20, 2001

Of course, it only makes sense to do this with a debit or ATM card, unless you have a generous grace period and pay off every month.

Almost every card does have a grace period these days. For example, because of the way the billing cycles work on my Visa, I didn't have to pay for the car I rented over Christmas until this week. The charge didn't show up on my January bill because the cycle closed on December 20, and the car was rented on the 22nd. It showed up on my February bill, which is due the 20th. Almost two full months interest-free!

If you regularly buy gas on your credit card then you will almost always have at least 30 days, and sometimes more like 60, to pay for it, depending on where in your billing cycle you make each individual purchase. Assuming, as you noted, that you pay off the balance in full each month. If you carry a balance, some cards start charging interest on the day of the purchase on some or all of a charge (often calculated based on an average daily balance).

I have, over the last couple of years, learned way too much about credit cards... like many Americans, they were the source of a lot of trouble for me. Now I buy everything on debit card.
posted by kindall at 12:01 AM on February 21, 2001

I meant "almost" everything, of course. I do have a credit card I occasionally use for things like car rentals that require a real credit card, not a debit card.
posted by kindall at 8:36 AM on February 21, 2001

seriously though... when places like taco bell and mcdonalds take cards and have swipes at the checkouts and drive thrus, that will be the day i'll never see cash again, and you know what? i'll never look back.

In the Pittsburgh area, the KFCs, Taco Bells and Arbys all take plastic, and the KFCs even take checks. ("That's one three-piece meal, $4.85." "Okay, I'll write a check.") That idea scares me. But of course, my mother instilled certain principles about use of credit: never charge food, gasoline or pantyhose because they'll all be but distant memories by the time you get the bill.
posted by Dreama at 9:23 AM on February 21, 2001

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