The Death of the Penny – US Mint to Cease Penny Production in 2017

by Ryan Guina

shocked-lincolnThe US Mint announced this morning that they will phase out the production of new pennies beginning in late 2016, and mint the last batch of pennies on April 1, 2017. The final batch of pennies will be released in a set of proofs which will be auctioned off to coin collectors with the proceeds going toward our national debt. The last run will be limited to 50,000 proof sets, and opening bidding is expected to start at $179.99, which is affordable considering you will own a piece of US numismatic history.

High cost of making new pennies to blame. The announcement follows years of speculation regarding when the US would stop minting pennies, as it actually costs more than 1 cent to produce a penny. On average, pennies cost 1.4 cents to make, making penny production a losing proposition, especially when the US Mint produces billions of pennies annually. Add the fact that “a penny just doesn’t buy what it used to,” and it’s clear the US Government is making the right decision by eliminating the penny.

What will happen to all the pennies? Pennies will remain legal tender, but you will be hard pressed to find stores willing to accept them after April, 2017, because the US Mint will impose additional handling fees for purchasing rolls of pennies and they will institute a penny buy back incentive.

Starting in late 2016, the US Government will begin “Pennies for Freedom,” a penny reclamation campaign designed to collect the estimated 23 trillion unused pennies sitting in people’s homes and coin jars. The pennies will then be melted and the copper will be used for green energy projects throughout the US. This is part of the Obama Adminstration’s plans for reducing US dependence on foreign energy.

How will stores handle transactions without pennies? We are moving toward a cashless society and most transactions are handled electronically with credit cards and ATM cards, or with a check. So eliminating the penny won’t actually affect most people. For people who insist on paying cash, the US Mint recommends that stores round up or down to the nearest nickel. Note: As a side effect, expect state and local sales taxes to increase to round up to the nearest nickel as well to make accounting easier for stores and cashiers.

Eliminating the penny benefits everyone! No more pennies means we all win! It is estimated the average person loses $38.92 in pennies throughout their lifetime. Change will be easier to count and manage, and purses will be lighter. No more looking under car seats, under couch cushions, sifting through the coin jar, etc. I’m looking forward to it already!

Penny Fun Facts:

$$$ And if you haven’t figured it out by now – Happy April Fools Day! 🙂

oh-noDisclaimer: No pennies were harmed in the writing of this blog article. All facts, figures, and other information were made up on the spot or carefully edited for effect, except for the Penny Fun Facts, which lead to legitimate sources of information.

penny photo credit: Nbauer.

Published or updated August 31, 2016.
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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BloggingBanks

Ha you got me for a second.. I like counting my pennies. Happy April Fools Day!



2 Karen

Ha! You had me until I got to the part about minting the last batch on April 1st. Then it clicked. Good one, though! Happy April Fool’s!


3 Jimmy

I’m embarrassed to admit that you totally got me!


4 Miranda

Hahaha! Great post. Love it.


5 Ryan

Thanks, everyone. Just having a little fun. 🙂


6 Dan_P

Haha u stink lol. U had me the whole time


7 Craig

Haha, nice Ryan. I had this whole comment response to it and just scrolled down to see your reply that it’s just a joke. I should have known, good one.


8 Miss M

Ha ha, except there are some valid reasons to phase out the penny. I love that it costs more than a penny, to create a penny.


9 Ryan

Miss M: The US Mint actually makes a profit on pennies, even though it costs more than a cent to mint them. The reason is that so many fall out of circulation, and so many are bought as proof coins by collectors. I doubt we will see the end of the penny for a long time – though it certainly wouldn’t bother me if we did.


10 TTT

Um, this makes no sense. You can’t make a profit on something that costs more to make than you sell it for. Let’s say you make a billion pennies ($10 million face value) which costs you $16 million to make–a $6 million loss. If they all fall out of circulation you have to make another billion pennes, at a cost of another $16 million, and a loss of another $6 million.


11 DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad

Funny . . .


12 Dave Brick

I’m NOT embarrassed to admit that you got me — totally. Well, I admit I hurriedly scanned the article, so didn’t catch every nuance. But for two reasons, I wasn’t at all surprised. One is that because of inflationary pressures, which have continued throughout the Bush admin. and will get much worse during Obama’s, pennies have become almost worthless in terms of real buying power. Second is that because of the radical decisions already made by Pres. Obama, almost no news coming out of this admininstration will surprise.


13 Ryan

That was the goal, Dave. To make it a plausible story, but drop in a few red flags along the way – just to make it fun.

Thanks for reading. 🙂


14 Thomas Fry

Gosh man, u totally got me.
Your good.


15 fahersez

Aiyah! I was completely fooled. And I even linked to this article…..hehe.

Anyway Malaysia stopped its 1 sen coin last year, I think. …..really.



16 MoneyEnergy

Coming late to the article, but I agree with a couple of posters above – much of the article is actually quite accurate even if hasn’t factually occurred yet! And I was going to say that we probably “lose” more than $38 in pennies over our lifetimes – that is, if you include all the coins we “lose” this way.


17 william

sent this to coinflation… I was getting ready to sort like mad until I read the “by the way” line… stop messing with me… geez


18 Ryan

heheh. Just having a little April Fool’s Day fun. 🙂

No way I could have left people hanging without telling the truth though. That would just be mean!


19 john

Good job Ryan
I was about to run to the bank to buy 1000 rolls of pennies.
Then again, I may do that anyway
Have fun folks


20 Joe

Good one.


21 EndlessGrowthEconomics=Doom

I was gonna say…………….You’re looking forward to “the US Mint recommends that stores round up or down to the nearest nickel” ?! Sad that it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that coming from our almighty genius government officials who did nothing to earn their positions other than pay the fees and do the time in school- not the naturally intelligent people we need running things. Recommending that stores simply charge you more than the actual price of the item, multiplied by gazillions of purchases…? Imagine that. As if we could assume that stores would actually ROUND DOWN. Now I’m afraid that someone in government will actually see this and get a bright idea… or some rich lobbyist group…


22 Rach

Just as a note, Australia definitely does this. They don’t have less than a 5 cent coin. If something costs $2.56 or $2.57 they’ll round down to $2.55 and if it’s $2.58 or $2.59, they’ll round up to $2.60. It’s a workable system, though surprising if you’re not expecting it.


23 Ryan

I wasn’t aware that Australia did this, but I have been in other places where they do it. It was surprising at first, then liberating. Though I can certainly understand why many people would be upset if the US did away with the penny.


24 Mary

I don’t get it.


25 Anthony Bovino

The government is always crying about how the penny costs more to make than ithe penny is worth but you never hear that a dollar bill costs six cents to make. And a one hundred dollar bill costs six cents too. Then they sell the six cent one hundred dollar bill to the federal reserve for one hundred dollars. That’s not a bad mark up! So we should feel sorry for them?! What a scam!!!


26 Wayne

Kind of figured a joke when I saw Abes’ mouth open in display.


27 Zachary

I am going to use this article as a source for a Debate Team evidence project, can someone tell me when this article was published? I can’t find it.


28 Ryan

Zachary, this post was originally published Apr 1, 2009 as an April Fool’s Day joke.


29 Arthur

Funny thing is, that Canada just did away with it’s penny.
Now that is pretty close to home.


30 John Moyer

I have a 5 gallon bucket of the copper pennies[not the zinc crap] now who will pay me the $3.77 per pound ,which is about 151 pennies per pound.


31 Katie

One year later…….this article still comes up on a search for “penny facts.” And one year later….it still fools people….haha great joke!


32 John

I do think, though, that you’ll drop a brick if they do cease production anywhere near 2015.


33 David Leonhardt

Well, you got me, too. I was totally stunned, since I did not think the US Mint would have the guts to do the smart thing…at least not this soon. It took Canada forever to follow the lead of Sweden, Australia and New Zealand (the latter being smart enough to do away with their 5-cent piece at the same time!), and I expected the US to take at least another decade. And, perhaps it will be so.


34 Katie bryan

You got me 4 years later! But fun to stumble across your blog. Hope all is well. – Katie


35 James

Very good article!! Had me looking for me admiring pennies again;)



That’s a start. Now if they would abolish the IRS, and the Dept. of Education we’d be on the right track.


37 Jim Turner

Frankly, you got my heart pumping on this one… We have been promoting the end of life for the penny as Oct 2015. When I read the first paragraph, I was excited about it happening even sooner. Nuts. THIS IS ONE TOTALLY USELESS COIN… lets get rid of it.


38 Curtis Steinhour

I totally agree Jim. I would not miss the penny if it went away, they are a pain in the sitting down area.


39 Fons Aldenzee

The sad part really is that we still do have the penny. It’s been more expensive to make for I don’t know how long. We waste 0.4 ct of taxpayer’s money to strike each and every one and have been doing that for ages . No wonder we’re going broke.
This April fools joke has been discussed plenty of times in congress but until now common sense has not prevailed which is unfortunately par for the course in Washington DC.
The Dutch did away with their penny 35 years ago for the same rason, too expensive to make. The Canadians got rid of it in 2012. Better later than never.
Guesss what…….Holland and Canada still exist!! Armageddon did NOT happen after their penny was abolished !


40 Gwen

Your article came up when I was searching the net for where I can find 2015 pennies. I have a granddaughter due midyear 2015 and they plan to name her Penelope, Penny for short. I am looking to make a sun globe using a bowling ball covered with pennies, 2015 of course. Very relieved that this article was an April Fool’s joke.


41 Naomi

Well so far my bank hasn’t received any 2015 pennies to circulate….


42 roger henderson

what will i do for good luck if there aren’t any pennies


43 Tim Duncan

I am writing a senior thesis paper for high school about why the penny should be abolished. I thought I had the fortune of finding a really good article. But nooo, it had to be an april fools article. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Wow, just wow.


44 Bill

It’s 2016 and why does the mint still make pennies? Also there will be pennies for 2017 too, it’s time to kill the penny.


45 Katherine

I was really upset. My daughter just gave birth to a little girl she named Penelope (Penny Lane). I have my family looking for a 2017 penny. When I read this I thought I am have to pay a lot for a penny. Thank goodness this is a joke….


46 Victor D. Brenner

If the mint stopped making 2017 pennies in April, that would make 2017 a rare date and most of the pennies would end up in the hands of collectors rather than circulation which defeats the purpose of the mint.


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