Canadians Halt Penny Production: Do US Pennies Still Make Sense?
With the Royal Canadian Mint ready to eliminate the penny from its coinage system in the fall of 2012, some people are wondering if the US should follow suit. As YNN's Ryan Whalen explains, just like the coin, this argument has two sides.
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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- They've long been considered interchangeable, but soon the American penny won't have its Canadian counterpart.
Canadian shoppers at the Niagara Falls Outlet Mall Sunday say they don't think it will be a problem.
"Even over here, you don't search around for a penny,” said Fort Erie resident Kelly Parkes. “Yeah you get it, but you don't really think about it and you throw it in a bucket. If you have American change most of the time you just throw it aside anyways or wait until you come back over here to use it."
"Most countries, I know when I travel, they don't really use pennies,” said Toronto resident Nelson Da Paz. “They use, really, nickels or five cent whatever it is as a minimum. So I think Canada and the states are one of the few countries that use it."
The Royal Canadian Mint will soon no longer distribute pennies, citing the fact pennies now cost more to produce than they're worth.
In the United States pennies cost even more to produce than in Canada.
Some shoppers wonder if it will be long before the U-S follows its neighbor's lead.
"Everything else is going up, you know? Why not the coins themselves?" asked Niagara Falls resident William Robinson.
"When I shop, I use it,” said Niagara Falls resident Shanna Lee. “I use it if I'm taking the public transportation. It comes in very useful because it always makes up in anything I'm buying."
It's not a new question. Coin dealer John Magavern says US lawmakers have been pondering eliminating the penny for years.
"At one point we had two cents pieces, three cent pieces, four dollar gold coins and for one reason or another they've been stopped,” said Magavern. “So it’s definitely not unprecedented."
But the one cent piece has its passionate supporters. The group Americans for Common Cents sole purpose is to promote the penny. Magavern says a lot of the support has to do with the guy on the front.
"Lincoln was considered one of our greatest presidents and he's obviously on the penny and a lot of people don't want it removed just for that reason alone," said Magavern.
As for the Canadian penny, Magavern says start saving them. They could soon be worth a lot more than a cent.