If the look of U.S. coins bores you, you're not alone.
There's a movement afoot to redesign the front and back of all of our coins. Under legislation sponsored by 61 senators and 87 House members, the new coins would retain the faces of the presidents that currently grace them. They would also be the same size, shape, and color. But different portraits of the presidents might be used and the tails of the coins would be changed completely.The move for change is based on the notion that new coins would raise $2.3 billion for the government over six years.
However, many challenge that claim. The chairman of the congressional banking committee said the dream of minting a fortune by changing the faces of U.S. coins was not realized during the six coin design changes of the past 42 years.
It may be indeed time to put fresh etchings of familiar faces on our coins. The head of Lincoln on the penny is 79 years old. The tail was last designed in 1959. The quarter is 56 years old. The nickel was last designed in 1938 and the dime was modified in 1946.
The symbolism on the backs of some of the coins have lost meaning to most Americans. Even a Salt Lake coin expert couldn't identify the two sprigs on the back of the dime or explain what they mean. The building of the back of the nickel means nothing to those who don't know that Monticello was Thomas Jefferson's home.
But the coins shouldn't be changed out of hope for more revenue. Many of the foolish things Congress has done have been motivated by someone's notion they would make the government richer. Too often, the notion has proved false.
Instead, the coins should be changed to provide a fresh perspective on what the United States stands for, a perspective that includes symbols meaningful to modern Americans.