Coin collecters across Iowa are already snapping up the new golden dollar coin that was launched last week, but it’s still to be determined if Iowa consumers will use them. Dawn Svenson, spokeswoman for Guaranty Bank in Cedar Rapids, says they’re getting lots of inquiries about the coins.
Svenson says, "The collectors are certainly interested in saying ‘When can we stop in and pick up our new coin?’" It features the face of George Washington, the first in a series honoring former U.S. presidents. It’s reportedly cheaper to make a dollar coin than a paper one and she says the average life span of a paper dollar is somewhere between 18 to 22 months, compared to coins which are basically good forever.
Svenson says "The challenge in that it’s a mentality shift for Americans. We’ve been so used to having that extra small spending cash as our dollar bills." Many vending machines already accept the previous dollar coins, featuring Sacajawea and Susan B. Anthony. The new presidential coin is the same size which makes it the perfect fit. Mike Dobel owns Greater America Distributing of Omaha which handles nearly every type of vending machine on the market. Dobel says the new Washington dollar won’t have much impact on his industry since most machines have been designed to accept them for more than a decade.
Dobel says "They’ll take the dollar coin. They may not be set to take it but they can take it because there’s different settings on ’em and what they’ll take." Dobel says the new coin won’t impact the vending industry unless the paper dollar bill is taken out of service, which is a possibility as the federal government looks for ways to save money.
Dobel says there are a few places where snack and soda machines could see heavy use of the new dollar coin. He says places "like a big manufacturing plant that is self-contained where everybody pretty much has to stay for lunch. They’ll use dollar coins and coin changers in the machines but it really just circulates within that small little area." Dobel cautions that the machine owner must set them specifically for the new coin before they’ll work properly.
The U.S. Mint released the Sacajawea dollar in 2000. Officials say even with more than a billion in circulation, the coin has failed to catch on. This is unlike coins of similar value in nations like Canada, Britain, Australia and Japan.