Our Penny is Endangered
The penny or little one cent piece is becoming another sad statistic on the world's endangered specie's list. After all there are certainly other things which can be included on this list today other than just living creatures. Years back a little shinny penny could buy a child a little something special in this life. Back then there was something called penny candy, but not today now. You are hard pressed these days to even come across a penny gumball machine. Most of these old penny gumball machines require at least one quarter to make any kind of purchase now a days.
In a world of high prices, and inflation there's not a lot of room left over for the little penny, and it's finding itself getting slowly squeezed out of existence like the half cent coin did years earlier. Many of you might not realize it, but back in 1773 through 1857 there were half cent coins, that were just slightly smaller than a quarter, which were widely used in circulation in the United States and throughout the world. Two and three cent coins followed a similar fate. The Australian two cent coin was withdrawn from circulation, along with the one cent piece in 1992. Most of these coins are still counted as legal tender, but are now a thing of the past, and it looks like the shinny penny is getting into line next.
Many other countries as well have already chosen to remove the one cent coins coins from their country's circulation. Sweden removed their one-öre coins from circulation in 1972. New Zealand eliminated one cent coins in 1990. Mexico's New Peso transition in 1993 made the five-cent coin the smallest denomination of their new currency. The Netherlands eliminated the one cent of the guilder in 1980. Hungary eliminated the one and two forint coins in 2008. Brazil stopped issuing one-cent coins in 2005. Argentina stopped issuing one-cent Argentine Peso coins in 2001. India eliminated out of circulation the 1 paisa in 1978, and Costa Rica discontinued use of its 1 colones coins.
The latest victim was Canada's one cent coin. Canada's finance minister announced on March 29, 2012, his country's decision to stop minting the penny or one cent coin. The Canadian government officially eliminated the penny from it's coinage system on May 4, 2012. They cited that the reason was that it cost one and a half cents to produce a simple penny, and that it just wasn't worth it any longer.
So as Canada says goodbye to the penny, the rest of the world debates the future and the fate of their precious little one cent coins. There are still many other nations that still use the precious one cent coin or the penny. In Europe there's the tiny little Euro cent, and I do mean tiny. They are so small that you can almost completely cover one up with the end of an eraser on a standard lead pencil. But Europe loves their tiny little Euro cents, however if a person isn't careful enough they may just lose one in their own pocket. Ukraine still issues and uses the one kopek coins. The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, and Belize all still use one-cent coin. Japan continues to use the 1 yen coin. Other countries like Panama still issues a 1-centisimo coin, Ecuador still issues a 1-centavo coin, and of coarse the United States with it's love affair for the shinny penny.
In the United states there are many different factors that come into play with the "Great Penny Debate". Arguments for elimination include that it cost even more to produce the penny in the U.S. than it did in Canada. It costs about 2.4 cents to mint one little penny, and everyone can do the math on that one. With the price of the raw materials exceeding the penny's face value, there's a risk that the coins will be illegally melted down for raw materials. In 2007 there were laws passed to protect the penny with regards to the melting and export of these little copper wonders. The zinc lobby who's the sole provider of zinc "penny blanks", fight hard for preserving the penny. But the biggest group out there that's fighting for the penny's survival, is the general public who aren't willing to let go of their beloved little shinny penny. A whopping 65% of the people still care about the penny, and won't give up on the little shinny wonder.
The future will someday tell us all what will become of the popular one cent coin or penny, but for now most of us still have to search for them in our pockets to pay for our purchases.