[vendtalk] U.S. Mint Tests Cheaper Coinage, Seeks Minimal Effect On Vending

Vandervoort's vandervoorts at sbcglobal.net
Sat Jan 5 22:01:25 UTC 2013

Opinion - I hope they do not have to import the materials to make the new


Vending Times

Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 1, January 2013, Posted On: 1/3/2013 

U.S. Mint Tests Cheaper Coinage, Seeks Minimal Effect On Vending

Emily Jed
 <mailto:Emily at vendingtimes.net> Emily at vendingtimes.net 


WASHINGTON -- It costs 2¢ to make and distribute a Lincoln penny, and more
than 11¢ for a nickel, according to a new two-year study released by the
U.S. Mint. But the agency is on a mission to find a way to bring the metal
and production costs of U.S. coins closer to their actual face value, and
with the least possible impact to the vending industry.


The Mint has been working with a research and development consultant to test
scores of metals and dozens of different alloys to identify potential
cost-cutting changes to the composition and methods of manufacturing
circulating coinage.


In a progress report, the Mint explained that additional R&D is necessary
before it can recommend any changes to the current coin composition. Going
forward, the agency said it will continue to develop and test potential
alternative materials; conduct production-scale runs to validate supply
chains, "manufacturability" and costs; and further verify the estimated
costs to stakeholders that depend on coins.


The Mint said in its report that vending operators are an important group
among those stakeholders. The vending industry, which has worked closely
with the agency, estimates a one-time upgrade of its machines to accept
coins of the same size and weight as the current ones, but with a different
electromagnetic signature, would cost between $700 million and $3.5 billion.


Except for pennies, all current U.S. circulating coins have the
electromagnetic properties of copper, the report says.


Another challenge for the Mint is the rising cost of copper, used in all
U.S. coins, and nickel, used in all except pennies. Only four of the 80
metals on the periodic table -- aluminum, iron, zinc and lead -- presently
cost less than copper and nickel, according to the report. 


The U.S. Mint is now beginning the second part of its testing to determine
if it can produce coins that are not only cost efficient, but also have the
same weight, durability and look as current coins.


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