THE RELEASE of the new Susan B. Anthony "mini" silver dollars may represent a small triumph for feminists and a minor curiosity for numismatists, but it portends only accelerated inflation for all Americans. If these handy quartersized dollars gain acceptance, we'll soon find ourselves dropping them down the bottomless maws of public telephones, parking meters and vending machines. In its new form the follar will have finally become just another piece of small change.

One of the last vestiges of integrity the dollar has is that by and large it remains folding money. The clumsy silver dollars of today are commonplace only in fairylands like the casinos of Las Vegas of Atlantic City. Those of us over 30 who live in the real world are still reluctant to "break a bill." And we still complain when we have to spend over a dollar for what was once 50 cents' worth of hamburger.

My Kids, however, don't know the meaning of a dollar, mostly because, in truth, a dollar dosn't have much meaning anymore. In these days of $530 billion federal budgets, $3.5 billion aircraft carriers, million-dollar houses and $10,000 cars, what can we teach our children about the meaning of a buck?

When the numbers become so unfathomably large, the units become meaningless. Pennies are already obsolete. My kids don't save them; my neighbors don't even bother to accept them as change.

Nickels are hardly worth having; they won't even buy a packet of gum. And dimes aren't much better; the local supermarket hardly ever raises the price of any item by less than a dime.

And so it goes. As inflation continues, small change doesn't buy very much, and it counts for less. And minting 500 million little dollars represents a giant step toward relegating the dollar to the category of a piece of small change. Indeed, if current patterns prevail, we can look forward to routine price increases of a dollar or so for ordinary grocery items. Before long a common loaf of white bread will cost well over a dollar. But it won't seem so bad. After all, to buy one, we won't have to break a bill.

Although no one knows how to stop inflation, it seems to me that we have a better alternative than further debasing our currency with miniature coin dollars. With a little ingenuity we can start afresh. Instead of silver dollars we could issue brand new bucks, a whole set of new currency, with dollars worth perhaps 10 times the value of our current dollars.

The advantages that such new bucks would have over the present dollars are several. To begin with, the numbers would become smaller. We can deal with tens and hundreds of dollars, and we can understand thousands and millions; but the numbers get out of hand when we are asked as citizens to consider billions and trillions. New bucks could reduce the federal budget from $530 billion to 53 billion, and the could reduce most of the individual budgetary items to millions or perhaps even thousands. As citizens we might grasp the meaning of these costs more easily, even though the items themselves would not have changed.

Moreover, smaller units might just restore our sense of perspective about prices. Instead of adopting an inflationary mentality that treats every price rise as "just another dollar or two," we might begin to refocus our attention on pennies, nickels and dimes. If I am earning $2,000 annually instead of $20,000, I am more likely to watch how I spend my small change.

Over time, the costs of issuing the new bucks would be cheaper too, for we would need fewer of them in circulation.

But having new bucks could also be a lot of fun. Penny candy could once again cost a penny, as could a penny postcard. We could bring back the nickel beer and the nickel bus fare. We might get into a ball game for 20 cents, see a good movie for a quarter, buy a gallon of gasoline for a dime. Saving a few pennies would once again signify thrift, no nostalgia.

Finally, we could make a clean break from our habit of honoring only male politicians on our currency. Not only could we put Susan B. Anthony on our new dollar, but we could replace Franklin with Eleanor Roosevelt on our dime. And we could use other new coins and bills to honor American men and women from all walks of life, not just from government.

In the end, new bucks offer a number of benefits, some of which just might serve to retard inflation. Wide circulation of quarter-sized dollars, on the other hand, will serve only to facilitate further inflation. CAPTION: Illustrations 1 and 2, no caption