Someone finally did the research and realized we don't want the small change.
|Every Penny costs the United States costs the Mint $0.0182 with the number spiraling year by year. A nickel currently costs seven cents to produce. The value of both of these coins is even worse once we consider how little either coin currently are valued. Because of the reality of lobbyists bribing the government into continuing bad behavior, These coins will continue to exist long past the point when they reasonably should be phased out. This story takes place in a theoretical last day scenario.
Cliff loved working so close to the source of his greatest hobby. As a life long Numismatist, he knew all of the gory details of how rare coins came into being. Sometimes errors were not caught and made their way into the wild. Other times one-off test coins were smuggled out of the facility instead of being destroyed as they were supposed to be. All of the old methods had been systematically researched and closed. He and his fellow workers were paper money, and credit card restricted specifically to prevent any coins from being smuggled out in pocket change. It was considered foolproof in its ingenuity. The leeks seemed to have ended with no new proofs or misprints coming to light in the last half decade that the policy had been instituted.
Tonight though was special. Tonight the president herself was going to be present for the last dozen coins of each value for the year. The last dozen pennies and nickels would be the last dozen ever of course and their future value was inestimable due to their provenance and extra hologram added to prove their uniqueness. The micro-encoding in the holograms had proven more difficult than anticipated and multiple test runs had ended in failure with only the occasional perfect coin coming out of the machines. The coins were apparently going to have tons of things like the constitution and many other written works in plaintext along with hundreds of digital voice messages from various members of congress and senate who had agreed to do so since two of these coins were destined to be placed in time capsules meant to be opened in one hundred years. They swore each other to secrecy as their messages were not advertised. It was intended to be discovered once the coins were recovered and studied.
The only time each day that Cliff and his coworkers were allowed coins on their person was in the breakroom. It had vending machines of all variety and along with the credit/debit and cash inputs, also still had the mandated coin stocks that it would use to provide change when your purchase was not an even number and you use cash. They were allowed to save up the change throughout the day and use it in the breakroom before they left for the day, but literally, every square meter of the work floors had at least two cameras covering it from at least that many angles and the software had been trained by experts from the casinos around the world.
It was nearly impossible to remove a coin from the floor without it being noticed. Every ounce was accounted for and you would find yourself out of work quickly if you couldn't account for every coin found on you in the event of an audit.
A year after the new rules had gone into effect, Cliff noticed a pre-proof in the change he received from one of the break room machines. Not knowing has it was done, or really caring, he quietly started his own vending machine company and went about outbidding for the contract for his workplace. The quality of the selections went up and the prices started varying in seemingly odd ways. The reality was the number of nickels returned per selection was maximized while still making a profit. Vending robots would prevent anyone from realized it was the same person they saw on camera eight hours a day.
Based on the coins he kept finding in the takings each week, there were at least two different employees exchanging break room change for proofs or pre proofs at least on a daily basis. He had no clue what their motive was, or how they might be making the swaps, but was enjoying the steady flow of impossible coins he was collecting. He already had several copies of the current exclusive set that the president was planning on handing out after the ceremony, but couldn't tell anyone that of course. He was planning on working there and running the vending service for as long as he physically could.
Someday his family would inherit his collection and it included multiple cards explaining their origin for come of the coins. He also included a memory card with multiple videos of him going through the change from his vending business. It had included several coins from the greater metro area that happened to be rare, but not directly from the mint as well. The boring bits were edited out but he would save clips from when valueable coins turned up. It was really the perfect job for someone like himself and he was surprised he hadn't thought of it sooner.