How I Spent 1,000 Dollar Coins

By | September 15, 2010

I decided to do an experiment and see how I could spend or put 1,000 dollar coins in circulation. This experiment would help promote the circulation of the dollar coins. My plan was to put 1,000 coins in the hands of the public without depositing a single one to the bank. Note, on the US Mint website, there is a clause that clearly states that the immediate deposit of dollar coins in banks does not comply with the intended purpose of the US Mint Dollar Coin Direct Ship Program.

I ordered one thousand (1,000) dollar coins from the U.S. Mint’s Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program and received a package with four (4) boxes of coins, with ten (10) rolls in each box. I would bring several rolls of dollar coins with me to put in circulation every day for the next two weeks.

My plan would involve my friends and spending cash in stores/restaurants/retailers that do not accept credit card payments. I regularly hung out and spent money in New York City with several group of friends. We ate out and attended activities, and we usually paid in cash. Some restaurants/retailers would not accept credit cards or would strongly urge against the use of them. Those places would be perfect for my experiment. The plan was to take the cash that would be used to pay the bill and replace them with dollar coins.

For the next two weeks, I would carry several rolls of coins with me every day in my backpack. Whenever the opportunity arises, I would spend or trade the coins for bills. Below are some photos and a log of the amount of coins I circulated each day.

Day 1
Breakfast: street vendor, 3 coins
Dinner: Chinese restaurant, 25 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for bills, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 53 coins

Day 2
Activity: movie tickets, 12 coins
Lunch: take out, 20 coins
Dinner: Malaysian restaurant, 25 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for bills, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 123 coins

Day 3
Lunch: take out, 10 coins
Dinner: Thai restaurant, 30 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for bills, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 188 coins

Day 4
Drinks: Jamba Juice, 8 coins
Dinner: sandwich shop, 30 coins
Shopping: 99c store, 12 coins
Cumulative Total: 238 coins

Day 5
Grocery/Deli: bought drinks, 12 coins
Dinner: Vietnamese restaurant, 50 coins
Friend: traded 2 coin rolls with friend for bills, 50 coins
Cumulative Total: 350 coins

Day 6
Car: parking meter, 3 coins
Food: fruit stand, 6 coins
Lunch: street vendor, 18 coins
Dinner: Thai restaurant, 100 coins
Friend: traded 2 coin rolls with friend for bills, 50 coins
Cumulative Total: 527 coins

Day 7
Lunch: street vendor, 12 coins
Dinner: pizza parlor, 11 coins
Snacks: yogurt parlor, 8 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for bills, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 583 coins

Day 8
Lunch: street vendor, 8 coins
Dinner: take out, 10 coins
Snacks street vendor, 6 coins
Cumulative Total: 607 coins

Day 9
Lunch: pizza parlor, 7 coins
Dinner: take out, 10 coins
Deli: lottery tickets, 20 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for bills, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 669 coins

Day 10
Lunch: street vendor, 12 coins
Dinner: food court, 35 coins
Snacks: ice cream, 6 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for bills, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 747 coins

Day 11
Lunch: street vendor, 8 coins
Dinner: Mexican restaurant, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 780 coins

Day 12
Activity street fair, 30 coins
Dinner: Japanese restaurant, 20 coins
Cumulative Total: 830 coins

Day 13
Activity arcade, 20 coins
Lunch: street food, 16 coins
Dinner: food court, 20 coins
Cumulative Total: 886 coins

Day 14
Shopping flea market, 26 coins
Lunch: take out, 8 coins
Dinner: Chinese restaurant, 50 coins
Cumulative Total: 970 coins

Day 15
Lunch: food court, 10 coins
Dinner: pizza parlor, 20 coins
Cumulative Total: 1,000 coins

The experiment worked out well. I spent coins instead of cash and I traded coins for bills. I exchanged several rolls of  coins for bills with my friends for face value. In the end, it took less than two weeks to get all the coins out of my hands. I circulated 1,000 coins in 15 days with a collective effort from my friends.

All the places took the coins with virtually no problems. Perhaps I was an early bird with dropping the coins on the table, being one of the first people to place the shiny gold coins in the restaurant. The dollar coins often caught the waiters’ attention. A few waiters stared at the coins, but they eventually realized that the coins were real money and accepted the coins. Some people asked me about the coins and asked about where did I get so many of them. At first, I explained the story to them, but after a while, I decided to add in some flavor and I became more creative with my answers.

In conclusion, the experiment proved fun and all the places that I have visited accepted the dollar coins. One downside to the dollar coins was the weight; several rolls of coins added up to some weight. Another downside was the hassle of counting and trading the coins for bills. On the plus side, I exchanged many rolls of coins for bills and ended the experiment with a stack of twenty dollar bills.

Day 1
Breakfast: street vendor, 3 coins
Dinner: Chinese restaurant, 25 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for cash, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 53 coins
Day 2
Activity: movie tickets, 12 coins
Lunch: take out, 20 coins
Dinner: Malaysian restaurant, 25 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for cash, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 123 coins
Day 3
Lunch: take out, 10 coins
Dinner: Thai restaurant, 30 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for cash, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 188 coins
Day 4
Drinks: Jamba Juice, 8 coins
Dinner: sandwich shop, 30 coins
Shopping: 99c store, 12 coins
Cumulative Total: 238 coins
Day 5
Grocery/Deli: bought drinks, 12 coins
Dinner: Vietnamese restaurant, 50 coins
Friend: traded 2 coin rolls with friend for cash, 50 coins
Cumulative Total: 350 coins
Day 6
Car: parking meter, 3 coins
Food: fruit stand, 6 coins
Lunch: street vendor, 18 coins
Dinner: Thai restaurant, 100 coins
Friend: traded 2 coin rolls with friend for cash, 50 coins
Cumulative Total: 527 coins
Day 7
Lunch: street vendor, 12 coins
Dinner: pizza parlor, 11 coins
Snacks: yogurt parlor, 8 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for cash, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 583 coins
Day 8
Lunch: street vendor, 8 coins
Dinner: take out, 10 coins
Snacks street vendor, 6 coins
Cumulative Total: 607 coins
Day 9
Lunch: pizza parlor, 7 coins
Dinner: take out, 10 coins
Deli: lottery tickets, 20 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for cash, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 669 coins
Day 10
Lunch: street vendor, 12 coins
Dinner: food court, 35 coins
Snacks: ice cream, 6 coins
Friend: traded 1 coin roll with friend for cash, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 747 coins
Day 11
Lunch: street vendor, 8 coins
Dinner: Mexican restaurant, 25 coins
Cumulative Total: 780 coins
Day 12
Activity street fair, 30 coins
Dinner: Japanese restaurant, 20 coins
Cumulative Total: 830 coins
Day 13
Activity arcade, 20 coins
Lunch: street food, 16 coins
Dinner: food court, 20 coins
Cumulative Total: 886 coins
Day 14
Shopping flea market, 26 coins
Lunch: take out, 8 coins
Dinner: Chinese restaurant, 50 coins
Cumulative Total: 970 coins
Day 15
Lunch: food court, 10 coins
Dinner: pizza parlor, 20 coins
Cumulative Total: 1000 coins

8 thoughts on “How I Spent 1,000 Dollar Coins

  1. Dave

    It’s just a shame we can’t get these as change. I too have to buy mine from the bank to avoid getting those rag dollars in change.

    Reply
  2. pfstock

    You’ve repeatedly used the phrase “traded coins for cash” in your post. Excuse me? Since when are coins not cash in the first place? By definition, cash includes both bills and coins. So, I think you mean to say “traded coins for bills”…

    It’s a sore subject with me, and the topic of my post The Big Lie. Coins are legal tender, and are supposed to be accepted as cash payment.

    Reply
  3. Sean Post author

    @Dave, I would love to exchange the coins for bills with you, if you are located in NYC.

    @pfstock, HAHA.. You are right. Coins are cash, but unfortunately, many people do not see it that way and I was writing from that perspective. But technically, you are correct – coins and bills do fall in the category of cash. So I have updated the language in the post.

    Reply
  4. Dave

    @Sean, It’s not a problem of getting them, it’s that the stores don’t give them as change. I generally try to carry ten or so at a time to pay the closest dollar amout for my purchase, then I only get coins back in change, no rag dollars.

    Reply
  5. Marc

    Guys, when I see dollar bills, I just get depressed…
    I am Swiss/American, and back in Switzerland our smallest bill is 10 Francs which is a little more than $10 ( now). we have 5 10 20 1/2 and 1,2,5 francs all in coins. No pennies yay!
    The problem with our beloved Americans is this ( i’m american also, so no offense): oblivion to the outside world! Economically, it makes sense to get rid of dollar bills and maybe even $5 bills as well. The US dollar devalues, which means, that its purchasing power diminishes, which becomes a burden on tax payers to pay for bills that last less than 30 months and cost a fortune to produce. In the past it made perfect sense to have dollar bills, but as prices rise through inflation, the greenback’s role should have ended about 30 yrs ago.
    I’ll give you a small example of why it is such. Well over 10 yrs ago, the greenback ( USD) gave me 1.68 swiss francs. Today, it gives me .95 swiss francs. Imagine exchanging US dollar bills while the bank teller is laughing at you and giving you all these coins in exchange of a pocket full of bills (you’d you’re rich, but you really aren’t)
    So rest assured my friends, the US fed reserve will be forced into switching to coins very soon. they’ve done enough debasing of the dollar and as it davalues ( you’ll be buying pop for 3$ for example) the running presses will switch back to good old mint 😉
    The real problem I face is that each time i reenter the US and make contact with those wrinkly dollar bills, I somehow catch a sickness and stay in bed for 3 days almost immediately after touching one of those bad boys…
    Go On fellow Americans, Let’s get rid of this dollar bill junk !!

    Reply
  6. Richard Chen

    This article’s practical example with details gives it usefulness and weight and relevance. Thank you for sharing this useable tip.

    Reply
  7. James Michael Anthony Jr

    HI How to Buy Gold Dollar coin President with “S”

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *