When was the last time you looked at a penny? I did when I noticed they’d suddenly begun looking like arcade tokens. which apparently started two whole years ago. But I didn’t even notice when they just went random with Scenes from the Life o’ Lincoln, which I guess was in 2009, although I’ve never even seen one of those. Where are all these weird pennies that are supposedly in circulation? Are people snapping up all the pennies and putting them in bottles on the dresser, like with those state quarters? (I still do not have my Guam quarter!) It’s not like they’re melting them down for the copper (currently trading at US$8,526 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange), since pennies aren’t made of pure copper anymore, they’re made of zinc drenched in creamy milk chocolate and covered with a thin candy shell. Right now the U.S. Mint could be putting anything on the backs of pennies, how would I know? I actually don’t know. What does a 2012 penny even look like?
Remember when all the paper money started going strange? The government said it was because they needed to make it harder for counterfeiters to make fake bills. But now every $20 bill I see looks totally different from every other $20 bill. I don’t even know what they’re supposed to look like anymore, which seems to me would make it easier for counterfeiters. Just hand me a green piece of paper with the number 20 and an engraving of Andrew Jackson’s face, that you can fold to see the burning Pentagon, and I will accept it in exchange for my goods and services.
This week in International Numismaticism, the Canadian Government Inc. (Stephen J. Harper, prop.) announced that it would no longer mint pennies—meaning Canadian pennies, which are copper-plated steel and nickel. It costs the Canadian government 1.5 Canadian Cents to make one Canadian Cent, so that just isn’t working out for them. BUT: It costs the U.S. Government 1.7 US Cents to make a US Penny. Does the US continue making pennies just to have somewhere to put their Picture History of the Deads? Here’s my idea: Canada can just start using US pennies. Let the US absorb the cost, and get your currency made for free. There’s no reason one country can’t use another country’s currency as their own legal tender; it's happened before. For instance, Panama and El Salvador both accept printed paper US dollars (including the $20!) as legal tender. And it’s been about 16 months since Iceland—which has never had a penny at all!—adopted the ThunkTank Bieb, and everything’s going great over there.