The Susan B. Anthony dollar, which has turned out to be something of a wooden nickel, will be the subject of House oversight hearings Sept. 25 and 26.
In making the announcement, Consumer Affairs subcommittee Chairman Frank Annunzio (D-Ill.) observed that the new $1 coin was supposed to save the government money, but instead the government is spending money $700,000 just to get people to use it.
More than 630 million Susans have been minted this year, yet few appear to be in circulation. The Mint estimates that 100 million of them may have been snapped up by collectors, while another 200 million rest in bank baults waiting for someone to request them. Because the new coin's size makes it easily mistaken for a quarter, the public has been slow to accept it.
Although the Susan costs more to produce than the George, the metal dollar lasts 10 times as long as the greenback. Were the coin to replace the bill, the Treasury could save as much as $50 million.
Yet Annunzio noted that the government, which already has spent more than $340,000 to promote the dollar coin, has now contracted to pay a New York public relations firm $150,000 more to promote it. Meanwhile, the government has plans to mint another 670 million metal dollars by next April.