The Death of the Penny – US Mint to Cease Penny Production in 2023

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The US Mint announced they will end production of the US Penny starting in 2023, citing the high cost of production and the penny 's decreasing value.

shocked-lincolnThe US Mint announced this morning that they will phase out the production of new pennies beginning in late 2022, and mint the last batch of pennies on April 1, 2023.

The final batch of pennies will be released in proof sets 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 just over 2 cents to make, making penny production a losing proposition, especially when the US Mint produces billions of pennies annually. According to GovTrackInsdier.com’s analysis of the U.S. Mint’s annual report (the most recent report available), “taxpayers lost about $85.4 million from penny production and $33.5 million from nickel production last year.”

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.

There is no indication at this time that the U.S. Mint will stop producing nickels. It will likely take several years of living without pennies before we fully understand the impact of removing coins from circulation.

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 1, 2023, for two reasons.

The first and most obvious reason stores will stop providing pennies as change is because the US Mint will impose additional handling fees for purchasing or processing rolls of pennies.

Finally, the US Mint will institute a penny buyback incentive.

Starting in late 2022, 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 Biden Administration’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, ATM cards, peer to peer purchasing systems such as Venmo or Zelle, or even with an old-fashioned check. The emergence of Bitcoin, Etherium, and other cryptocurrencies has also been cited as a growing reason for the decline of the penny. 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.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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  1. Karen says

    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!

  2. BloggingBanks says

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

    BloggingBanks

  3. Craig says

    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.

  4. Miss M says

    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.

    • Ryan says

      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.

      • TTT says

        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.

  5. Dave Brick says

    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.

  6. Ryan says

    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. 🙂

  7. fahersez says

    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.

    Regards

  8. MoneyEnergy says

    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.

  9. william says

    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

  10. john says

    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
    John

  11. EndlessGrowthEconomics=Doom says

    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…

    • Rach says

      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.

      • Ryan says

        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.

  12. Anthony Bovino says

    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!!!

  13. Zachary says

    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.

  14. John Moyer says

    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.

  15. Katie says

    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!

  16. David Leonhardt says

    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.

  17. fLORIDAHANK says

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

  18. Jim Turner says

    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.

  19. Curtis Steinhour says

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

  20. Fons Aldenzee says

    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 !

  21. Gwen says

    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.

  22. Tim Duncan says

    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.

  23. Bill says

    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.

  24. Jennifer says

    You totally got me! Even after it said Happy April fools, I still thought it was happening. I’m going to use this article to teach my students at school that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet!

  25. Jay Walts says

    I read the first few parts and it didn’t click and mentioned it to my teacher but I look like an idiot now lol thanks for that. I did think the energy solution thing was a bit crazy but it was the Trump administration sooooo I believed it. Great joke!

  26. GEORGE EADY says

    for someone holding about 45 lb. worth of pennies… not so funny. now will cash them to get a new AC.

  27. Ibrahim says

    You really had me. I thought it was serious because there’s going to be a census on April 1st, 2020, and that’s not a joke, so I automatically assumed it was for real.

    Good one, buddy!

  28. John F. says

    I was putting together a guest humor column for my local community paper about an angry boss who paid a former employee in all pennies. I began looking up information on pennies and came across your article. I should have read the whole thing but got too excited thinking how fortunate I am that they are going to stop production on the penny and I can use it in the column. It seemed legit and totally plausible since Canada and other countries have done away with their pennies or lower denominations. I wasn’t reading it on Facebook so I fell for it.
    I’m glad the editor at the paper checked your article and read the whole thing so I was able to revise it. I do plan on taking legal action since you should be held accountable for your misrepresentation and flagrant disregard for the truth. My attorney says I have a good case and is willing to proceed once he contacts you but I know you already know it’s April 1st today and I am not serious.

  29. R S D says

    I realize this is a joke but the penny needs to go, it is a burden. I’ve collected coins off and on since I was very young, it’ll be sad to see it go but it’s past due. When the half penny was discontinued it would be worth about a quarter today, adjusted for inflation.

  30. Justin says

    I never find out that this was a joke and till 3 weeks later when I bought many pennies and still after I found out I still keep buying pennies

  31. Bobby Joe Tollerson says

    I don’t care if it cost 5 cents to make a penny. It only costs that once. How many trillions of dollars a year does it take to finance those fat rats in Washington? Taking away the penny is killing an American icon.

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