Everybody likes to have a few bucks in their pocket, but not if those dollars are coins. In fact, the new presidential gold coins are so unpopular they are stacking up inside government vaults.
Back in 2005, Congress authorized the Presidential $1 Coin Act. Mass production was started in 2007 and now has been halted because the coins are so unpopular.
The U.S. Mint says 1.4 billion coins are now in storage in Federal Reserve vaults. That doesn't surprise Chris Arbutine, who works at Belleair Coins in Pinellas County.
"They were not a good idea," he offered.
Arbutine remembers when Congress first passed the law to make four presidential coins a year.
"People got excited that first year and basically after that put it in the closet and put them away. Five years later they are selling them all back."
It was the third attempt by Congress to try and get people to start using dollar coins intend of bills. The thought was the new program would save money because coins last longer than bills. But the gold coins failed just like the previous two attempts -- the large silver dollars and the smaller Susan B. Anthony, which was sometime confused for a quarter.
"You can't mint a replacement coin for the dollar and then keep the dollar in circulation," continued Arbutine.
Now leaders at the highest levels of government, like Vice President Joe Biden, have spoken out on the issue. "Nobody wants these; we shouldn't keep making them."
The vice president says halting large scale production will save taxpayers $50 million, the cost of producing, transporting and storing the coins.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has now directed to the U.S. Mint to stop making them and the coins and they are being taken out of circulation. Widespread production stopped about halfway down the list of dead presidents at number 22, Chester Arthur.
The coins will still be produced in much smaller numbers and available to collectors on the internet.
However, Chris Arbutine doesn't see much demand at his store. "We were ahead of the Mint. We suspended our program about a year ago."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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