Posted By: Sheri ( on 'English'
Title:     U.S. Mint struggling with penny shortage
Date:      Fri Aug 13 14:29:14 1999

Taken from the Washington Post...

If there were more people like John Laskowski of Erie, Pa. a lot of federal 
employees wouldn't be drawing overtime pay to produce pennies.

Laskowski recently deposited 89,650 pennies at Erie's National City Bank, 
effectively eliminating the bank's penny shortage.  But many banks along the 
East Coast don't have a Laskowski or enough other people willing to empty 
their mayonnaise jars, coffee cans or other containers filled with pennies.

The result is the great penny shortage of 1999, a mini-crisis that has forced 
the U.S. Mint into around-the-clock operations six days a week at its plants 
in Philadelphia and Denver.  Penny production is 21 percent ahead of 1994, 
the year of the last great penny shortage, and 33 percent ahead of last year, 
the Mint said. 

The shortage is more severe in the East and Midwest.

Statistically, there shouldn't be a crisis.  The Mint says it has issued more 
than 312 billion pennies over the past 30 years, enough to provide each 
American with 426 pennies.

"It's hard for us to tell why it's happening," said Rose Planalto, a 
spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve in Washington.  "There just is more of a 

"The economy is strong, people arent recirculating," she said.  "And summer 
is always a high demand period for coins.  This is just the season for it."

Donn Pearlmann of the Professional Numismatists Guild, a group of coin and 
currency experts, blames the banks.  "People stash pennies away in old coffee 
cans and sock drawers because most banks do not want to accept large amounts 
of loose coins; they want them rolled and sorted."  Planalto said the Fed has 
been encouraging banks to accept coins for customers. 

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