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Ugly Money?

May 2024
1min read


I very much enjoyed the article “Cents and Sensibility,” by Eugene Dorgan, in the September issue. I wholeheartedly share Mr. Dorgan’s distaste for the dull, colorless, and disappointing new $20 bill. It must represent an all-time low in aesthetic quality of paper currency.

The article also discusses some of our new coins, and I agreed with most of Mr. Dorgan’s points. I was sorry to see, however, that he did not discuss the most appalling characteristic of U.S. coins, both old and new. I am quite sure that U.S. coins are unique among the currencies of major nations in the world in that none of them—not the penny, not the nickel, not the dime, not the quarter, not the half-dollar—contain any numeric designation of their value. This fact has always struck me as arrogant and non-user-friendly, especially for foreign tourists, who, in trying to figure out the value of our coins, can only find on them terms like “one cent,” “five cents,” “one dime,” or “quarter dollar.”

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