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A Dollar in My Pocket

August 1, 2011

I learned of this scam only after it was ended, but it was pretty great and completely legal. Seems the latest effort of the U.S. Mint to get dollar coins into circulation is working about as well as the last two times, I’m looking at you Sacagawea and Susan B. Nobody wants to use them and you really only ever see them when they’re spit out of vending machines as change. They have proven so unpopular that the Mint now stores more than a billion of them in a warehouse in Baltimore, and they continue stamping out absurd amounts of new ones because of Congressional mandates. Anyway, the scam.

Because no one was using the coins, the Mint came up with a program to get them in circulation, they would mail the coins at cost, no shipping charge, to any person or any business that ordered them. You want a thousand dollars worth of Millard Filmore coins, it will cost you a thousand dollars. However, instead of businesses getting them and handing them out as change people started ordering large quantities and then simply depositing them right back into the bank. If your credit card had a rewards program, lets say frequent flyer points, I think you see where I’m going. People were flying all over the place for free.

But this is all over now, the program still exists but now you have to pay with a check or via wire transfer. Why didn’t I think of this? I knew of the program while it was still in effect and thought about ordering some Martin Van Buren dollar coins, but I never made the connection. I never saw that my silly affectation of declaring Martin Van Buren my favorite president could be the key to great wealth, or at least and upgrade to business class. The story of my life, always a day late and a dollar short, and also not nearly as clever as I think I am.

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