Friday, July 07, 2006

The Humble Penny

The penny. The King James Version of the Bible uses it as the English word for denarius which was a day's wage for a working man and centuries ago it was a day's wage for a working man. I have an old English Penny which is the size of an American 50 cent piece and it was clearly worth more than the American Penny.

The Penny has been our smallest coin since we abolished the half-penny in 1857. Think about this in terms of inflation. In 1900 a penny was our lowliest coin and yet it had roughly the purchasing power of a quarter today. We had no difficulties from having no smaller coins and we got along fine.

It takes me a little less than 3 seconds at work to earn a penny. A far cry from the late Middle Ages when it was a day's wage.

If I see a dime or quarter on the sidewalk I may pick it up, but usually walk right by pennies.

Do we really need to keep minting this coin? I have wondered this for some time. Now USA Today has an article asking that very question.

Some of the objections are valid, but the penny would not disappear overnight. There are a lot of them and they would remain in circulation for some time, which would give us time to phase them out.

I would not object to its elimination, but I also understand the concerns of those who do not want it eliminated.

My only question is what to do with Lincoln's profile?


Blogger jgf said...

Interesting how the women thought of the penny as more useful than men. I think it is an emotional reaction rather than a logical one. I have to say I do always stop and pick up a penny when I see one. "Find a penny, pick it up and all day you'll have good luck."

7:34 PM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I grew up with those huge copper pennies and they bought a lot 50 years ago - a loaf of brown bread (white bread was tuppence) or ten licorice gobstoppers which would last a whole week or more.

1:20 AM  

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