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Our Penny is Endangered

Updated on October 12, 2015

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 The Australian two cent coin was withdrawn from circulation, along with the one cent piece in 1992.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-├Âre 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.

Penny Survey

Should the penny stay or should it go?

See results
A penny might be just a drop in a bucket, but these little fellows do add up after time.
A penny might be just a drop in a bucket, but these little fellows do add up after time.
Fortune - A penny saved is a penny earned.
Fortune - A penny saved is a penny earned.


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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 3 years ago

      One thing that happened in Canada is that there were so many pennies already out there that collectors did not see a sharp rise in their ability to purchase pennies for their collection. At least, for now, the impact has yet to reach coin collecting. I ask such questions on a coin forum, and Canadian collectors are honestly answering. A for coin collecting, going through pocket change is how many collectors get started, and this could impact new collectors joining the hobby. Well, at least they are not talking about replacing coins with paper, as the U. S. Government partially did during the metal shortage after the Civil War with fractional currency. Let's hope the penny makes it.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 3 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Like you say, we all think of animals becoming extinct. We don't ever think about currency. It might actually save our government some money if the quit minting the penny. But then, the money saved would probably just go to something the public never hears about. Well written and voted up.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Interesting hub. I save them and put them in a jar when its full I cash it in. Those little pennies add up if you save them. My granddaughter thinks she is rich.

    • PinoyMom profile image

      Shiela Gerona 3 years ago from Philippines

      I am not aware of pennies in other countries. In the Philippines, 25 cents is only used in supermarkets and malls. It's no longer recognize here but we have a collection of it. I would like to have it eliminated but I love your article.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 3 years ago from Washington KS

      Loved your article and love the penny. Grandpa always told me, "Pennies make dollars." and I've found that to be true. We save ours until we have a LOT of pennies then turn them into dollars.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      There used to be the saying, "See a penny, pick it up. All the day you'll have good luck." And of course, there used to be the five and 10 cent store. The penny represents an era in time that I will also look back to with love. Great article.

    • Harmel profile image

      Melody Gibbons 3 years ago from Staff Ave Cochranton Pa 16314

      I still remember the old saying " A penny saved is a penny earned." . I am amazed at the fact young people just throw them away. My husband and I still have a jar full, that occasionally comes in handy. Also living in Pennsylvania, our sales tax is 6% without a penny we would be heading up to 10%. I love your thoughtful article !!

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 3 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Good insight on this one

    • tricomanagement profile image

      tricomanagement 3 years ago

      interesting - one thing that could be added - is that removing the penny would in fact raise the cost of goods as well as the taxes paid - just a thought

      very interesting HUB - voted up

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Interesting hub. As you say Australia got rid of the one and two cent pieces in 1992. We got rid of the penny in 1966 and the half-penny before that. Next on the list is the five cent piece which looks destined for demise in the near future because they say it costs more than that to produce.Sometimes I think it is just a way of increasing prices but I suppose it will streamline transactions a little. I have tins and bottles full of five cent pieces to take to the bank and cash in. Voted up. P.s. I still have a collection of pennies and one and two cent pieces.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Well, everything I've ever wanted to know about the pennies of the world. This is an interesting article and I have not stopped to think that countries are getting rid of their pennies. I can understand why if it costs more to make the penny than what it is worth. Frankly I think there will come a day when all coins and paper money will become obsolete. We are moving toward debit/credit cards as our "money." I predict Europe will be the first to rid itself of currency and coins and go with cards. They are eons ahead of us with money cards. Thanks for and interesting and informative read.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      This was a very interesting Hub and I go with keeping the penny. I was not aware of all of those different versions of the penny. The only other one which I was aware of was the Canadian one. I used to collect coins and I know how valuable they can be.

      I voted this up, shared and pinned it.


    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      I really don't want our pennies to go extinct if it means the rates will get even higher.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      Those jars of pennies have done a lot of good over the years. It would be sad if it disappears.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Eliminate the penny and they'll just round prices up. Although I can appreciate the math behind it, somehow we will end up losing by paying higher prices. They should just try to phase it out so people don't notice as much.

    • goatfury profile image

      Andrew Smith 3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      You know, I really hate carrying around pennies- like actual, physical cents. But I do think a fraction of a dollar is really important.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 3 years ago from Jamaica

      nice hub

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      I really enjoyed the story

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      While I would like to see the penny stay, spending over double what its worth to make it is the height of fiscal insanity. Personally, instead of doing away with it or continuing to pay too much for its production, I would like to see the cost of production scaled back. Where there's a will there's a way and typically the fastest way to save money is to take the government out of the process, so chances of me getting my preference are about slim and none. :) This was an interesting article.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 3 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Nice article! I vote for keeping the penny in a probably hopeless effort to avoid price increases.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Shops in countries that have eliminated small coins have had to resort to using candy /sweets as change.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      I think we should do everything in our power to keep the penny. Not only does it have sentimental value, but if it is eliminated, prices on goods and services will go up. Any price that ends in anything but a zero or a five will be rounded up to the next zero or five. Randall Guinn is correct about taxes, too. However, in our state we have a couple of agencies that are supported on one-eighth of a cent sales taxes. I'm not sure how they figure that one. I always treasured the little Canadian pennies that crept into our money system, and I still have most of them that I collected.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful story, I really like pennies but they should be gone. If if costs us twice as much to make them as they are worth -- well that is a no brainer. We can equitably adjust to changing.

      I do worry with a 5 year old learning to count change if there are no onesees.

    • Randall Guinn profile image

      Randall Guinn 3 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      What worries me about losing the penny is the tax situation. Each tax increment would then be five cents. If you live where you now have a tax of six cents on a dollar, do you think that they will be willing to lower the tax to five cents? No, they would then hike the tax to ten cents.

    • profile image

      Margaret Hess 3 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      An interesting and wonderful story. we have a jar of Pennies that we keep and check the dates on. I love your stories and look forward to reading them.