One-Dollar Coin:

Reintroduction Could Save Millions if Properly Managed

GGD-93-56: Published: Mar 11, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Canada's experience introducing a new $1 coin to replace its $1 note, focusing on whether public resistance to the Canadian dollar coin was persistent or temporary.

GAO found that: (1) the majority of public resistance to the Canadian $1 coin was limited and short-term; (2) a 1992 survey indicated that 32 percent of the respondents felt more favorable about the coin since its introduction, 32 percent were neutral, and 18 percent disapproved of it; (3) businesses and associations responding to a GAO survey indicated that public resistance lasted between 3 months and 2 years; (4) the United States could save an average of $395 million per year over 30 years by substituting the $1 coin for the $1 note; (5) the $1 coin would save an average of $109 million in printing costs, $47 million in lower Federal Reserve processing costs, $430 million in interest avoided from decreased government borrowing, $20 million in start-up costs, and $171 million in lost earnings on $1 notes issued by the Federal Reserve System; and (6) in introducing a $1 coin, Canada ensured that the coin differed from existing coinage, withdrew the $1 note from circulation, and effectively countered negative press coverage and public complaints, unlike the U.S. government when it introduced a $1 coin in 1979.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Public Law 105-124, enacted in December 1997, authorizes the production of new 1-dollar coins, but does not provide for the elimination of the 1-dollar note.

    Matter: Congress should authorize the introduction of a new, well-designed $1 coin and simultaneously provide for elimination of the $1 note.

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Public Law 105-124, enacted in December 1997, authorizes the production of new 1-dollar coins and directs the Secretary of the Treasury to promote the new coin.

    Matter: Congress should require the Secretary of the Treasury to designate an advocate of the new coin, who would be responsible for promoting the coin and responding to public inquiries and complaints.

 

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