The U.S. Mint has decided to save money by not making money. Oh, don't worry, our beloved, if hard to come by lately, "dead president" paper bills will keep rolling off the mint's printing presses, but production of commemorative presidential $1 coins for general circulation will end.
According to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, halting production of the $1 presidential coins will save about $50 million annually. And besides, like Vice President Joe Biden said in a press release, "nobody wants to use them."
The Presidential Coin Act of 2005 requires the Mint to issue $1 coins bearing the likeness of each deceased U.S. president at an annual rate of 70-80 million coins per president. Today, however, more than 1.4 billion or 40% of all the $1 coins ever issued have been returned, and are just gathering dust in Federal Reserve banks. According to VP Biden, the unused excess will meet the demand for $1 coins for more than a decade. Considering the historic lack of popularity for dollar coins, probably a lot longer than that, Mr. Vice President.
Also See: Mint Stops Striking Golden Dollar Coins
The Mint will continue to produce -- at no cost to taxpayers -- a relatively small number of the $1 presidential coins for sale to collectors. Demand for $1 coins to be used in general circulation will be met through the Federal Reserve Banks' existing inventory of more than 1.4 billion coins, which will be drawn down over time.
"At the Treasury Department, we're continuing to work hard in support of President Obama and Vice President Biden's efforts to cut waste and streamline government," said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in a press statement. "Putting a stop to the minting of surplus $1 coins represents a significant opportunity to reduce costs and improve efficiency."
Photo: Possibly First U.S. One Dollar Coin - Getty Images