WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Mint rolled out its fourth presidential coin (James Madison) last month, and is hopeful that the latest attempt to introduce a dollar coin will be more successful than previous efforts.
The coins have been much more successful than critics predicted, but they aren’t as successful as they could be, says Ed Moy, Mint director. The mint is working on getting coin-intensive industries, such as coin laundries, car washes, vending machines and fast food restaurants, to use the dollar coin in more transactions. In one “victory,” transit officials in several major cities, including New York, are dispensing the coins as change when commuters pays for their rides.
Moy says there have been some encouraging signs. The number of dollar coins ordered in the first eight months of the program totaled 810 million, well ahead of the demand of the previous two coins (the Susan B. Anthony and the Sacagawea). But Moy admits that much of the demand is coming from collectors. He adds that there are continuing problems in persuading the public and retailers to put the coins into circulation.
The demand for the dollar coins has also been falling steadily. After an initial order of 300 million George Washington coins, introduced last February, orders for the John Adams coin fell to 200 million, with the Thomas Jefferson coin dropping to 170 million. The Mint will produce 140 million Madison coins.
The Mint’s unofficial goal is produce about 500 million coins from the Federal Reserve.