It is a fairly well known fact that the U. S. one cent coin (popularly know as the penny) costs more to produce than its nominal value of $.01. (In 2014, the cost of producing a penny was 1.66 cents.1) This extra isn’t much, but it adds up; the billions of pennies minted each year cost the U. S. Mint millions of dollars.
Even though they make the money, the mint isn’t found of losing millions of dollars. Beginning in 2016, the mint hopes to turn the penny from a net loss to a significant source of income with advanced technology. The 2016 ‘new penny’ will contain a subminiature radio transmitter. This transmitter will alert the FBI when the penny is thrown away or vacuumed up. Since 2006, Federal Law prohibits melting pennies, and the IRS intends to use this law to levy heavy fines on anyone found to have disposed of a penny.2
“Insect-damaged Wheat Kernels,” by Peggy Greb. Public domain.
- See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/12/15/it-cost-1-7-cents-to-make-a-penny-this-year-and-8-cents-to-make-a-nickel/ ↩
- See http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?action=press_release&ID=724, http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-52/page-2.html#h-8, and http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?flash=yes&action=press_release&ID=771 ↩