Monday, October 28, 2013

Why Are Dimes Smaller than Nickels?

Today I took the elevator down to the third floor with $1.10 in hand for the Coke machine. As I was rummaging through the change in my palm I wondered for the umpteenth time why the dimes were smaller than the nickels - smaller, even, than the pennies, back when pennies were still a part of our daily lives.

From doubloon to loonie to quarter to dime, there's a nice progression - smaller size equals smaller value. But once you hit the nickel, calamity. It's bigger than the dime! And while the penny, at least, was smaller than the nickel, it, too, was larger than the dime!

Oh sure, once upon a time nickels were made of nickel, dimes were made of silver and pennies were made of copper, and each coin was sized so that the face value matched the amount of metal in the coin, and since silver was worth more than copper or nickel, of course it would take less metal to make ten cents' worth of dime than five cents' worth of nickel or a penny's worth of copper. That sounds like wafer-thin reasoning from the mint to me, but that's the argument. Now that nickels aren't made out of nickel nor dimes out of silver, why continue to bow to tradition? Resize the coins! Or to simplify matters, make the nickel the dime and the dime the nickel, now that the penny has dropped.

To coin a phrase, our change needs change!

2 comments:

Totty said...

Classic consequences-be-damned thinking of a lefty liberal.

Do you know how much chaos changing coins causes for all the automated coin acceptance machines? Go ask someone who had to deal with the recent remodelling of the toonie which stopped them working in all manner of machines: vending machines, parking meters, etc.

More seriously, it all works out if we can just get rid of the nickel now.

Earl J. Woods said...

Oh yeah...that would work too.