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Time to Pitch the Penny?

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Time to Pitch the Penny?

During his tenure as editor, Ray Geiger, who helmed the Farmers’ Almanac from 1935 until his death in 1994, took on a number of issues, including several dealing with US currency. In the 1989 edition he advocated creating a dollar coin (gold and larger than the Susan B. Anthony dollar), and eliminating the dollar bill and the penny. At the time, hundreds of millions of dollars would have been saved.

A quarter of a century later, we’ve decided to revisit this issue. Today, it costs more to make a penny than it is worth – 2¢ to produce a 1¢ coin that most people simply no longer value. Pennies get left behind at checkout counters, dropped, and left, on the ground, or collect dust at the bottoms of drawers.

Our penny campaign is two-fold. First, we want you to scrounge up all of those pennies collecting dust in forgotten corners of your home and use them to do some good. We’re calling on readers to hold penny drives for their favorite nonprofit organizations and tell us about it. Then, in March, we’ll ask you to vote on the most worthy organizations, and we’ll give three separate nonprofits 50,000 pennies ($500) each. Click here for rules and information on how to enter.

Then, we want you to write to your senators and representatives and tell them it’s time to follow the lead of Canada, and many other countries, in pitching the penny. Click here for our suggested letter, and here to find contact information for your local representative.

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Read all about both of these initiatives on our Pennies4Profit page.

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1 megan { 09.05.13 at 11:08 am }

I love the penny and will be sorry to see it go. I’m sure at some point, it will. What i’d like to see is that there be a push for dollar coins we can actually USE, like in vending machines or toll booths. Yes, making the Sacajawea dollars gold in color was a first good step in being able to distiguish them from quarters, but we also need to make them useful rather than ornamental, and that seems to be lacking.

Canada got rid of its paper dollar bills and have loonies (dollar coins) and toonies (two dollar coins) instead.

As for rolling coins, I usually do it every other month, so it’s not too onerous. I also try to keep enough change in my purse so when I pay with cash (which I do for most things), I can give exact change or at least give exact cents to make it easier.

2 Kim M. { 09.05.13 at 9:14 am }

The penny & I have had a love/hate relationship for many years. Oh sure, we all love finding a wayward penny in our pocket when paying with cash and you need just 1 cent to keep from getting back 99 cent in change. But, then there are the dreaded jars of these things that lurk around the house, because nobody wants to roll them. I have been on a personal campaign for years to lose the penny from circulation. Although I will be a slight bit nostalgic when they “are” discontinued, I think I’ll be just fine without them. 🙂

3 John Robertson { 09.04.13 at 12:51 pm }

I read this in the paper Farmer’s Almanac and think it is a great idea. My family is currently collecting pennies to donate to the local church for youth programs. We live in a small community and believe me every little bit helps. If we send one kid to camp it will be worth the effort. Thanks for putting this idea on the table.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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