Two out of three Americans polled at say that they believe the new presidential one-dollar coins being released are a “great waste of taxpayer money.”

Nineteen percent say they will collect the new $1 coins and 14 percent say they will use the coins for daily transactions. But the other 66 percent think the new coins are a great waste of money, according to this non-scientific two-day poll of over 800 readers.

Four presidential coins being minted in 2007

“Frankly, those new coins, gold plated or not, have no intrinsic value; they are just a way to snag people who are not well versed in coins or monetary value into thinking they have something,” said one reader.

The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 authorized the new coin series that debuted with the George Washington dollar. Other recent attempts at producing a $1 coin, such as the Eisenhower, Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea dollar coins, were doomed to fail when $1 coins were deemed obscure or unnecessary.

Following the success of the state quarter program, which got an estimated 140 million Americans interested in coin collecting, the U.S. Mint then turned its attention to the nation’s presidents. It will be issuing four presidential $1 coins, slightly larger than a quarter – a problem that caused confusion in the cases of the Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea coins, each year through 2016.

According to CEO Craig R. Smith, “I welcome the new dollar coins
but remain skeptical that Americans will use them en mass unless the government decided to stop printing the dollar bills, offering us no choice but the $1 coin. Given the ongoing decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, perhaps we should replace $1 dollar bills with $2 bills.”

“From a numismatic perspective, the new coins may be of educational value to our children to remind them of our great past presidents. But from an investment perspective, these coins will never achieve the status of pre-1933 U.S. gold coins because after all they are made of base metals, not precious metals,” he added.

“The larger issue is that our dollars have become dimes in buying power over the last two generations. Lest we forget a ‘dollar’ was originally a weight measurement of gold or silver. Measured in gold, the dollar has lost over half its buying power just in the last six years,” says Real Money Perspectives editor David Bradshaw.

In addition to the new presidential dollar designed for circulation, the U.S. Mint also hopes to appeal to Americans in search of gold bullion coinage, by releasing the new “Nation’s First Spouses” which are one-half ounce gold coins (.999 pure, face value $10) beginning in 2007 with Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty and Dolley Madison.

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