Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Silver coins, not gift cards

I got your gift right here!
  [vote for,

Gift cards. Bah! Really, they are money issued by a private entity, subject to the whims of that entity, redeemable only with that entity. What kind of gift is that?

Governments issue gift cards of a sort: cash. Cash is fungible and frangible and does not get service charges attached if you hang on to it. But some people think cash is crass. Who knows what tubercular onanites have been fondling that bill you sent to your great-grand niece? Plus ever since American bills went from staid green to rainbow crayola they have lost some of their gravitas.

I propose that the $20 double eagle coin be reissued in silver. The American mint does offer gold coins and suggests they be gives as gifts. However, the cost of these coins is much greater than their face value (see linked "$5 coin") and so they make impractical legal tender. They have value as an investment in gold. A silver $20 would have these advantages.

1: They could be sold at a markup just slightly (5%) over face value.

2: They would have intrinsic value as silver, but their legal tender denomination would be enough higher (maybe double?) than the cost of the contained silver to discourage immediately melting them down from scrap silver.

3: They are readily usable as legal tender.

4: For hoarding purposes (especially abroad) they have many advantages: they are American dollars, they are durable coins, and in case the US goes bankrupt the silver has intrinsic worth which will probably increase when dollars become worthless.

5: For criminal / black market purposes they have the disadvantage of being weighty and difficult to transport in bulk.

Counterfeiting might be a problem. The bulk issue is one discoruagement. Given that this is silver, the profit from a counterfeited coin will be a lot less than is the case for a high denomination bill made of paper. One might alloy the silver to randomly vary the conductivity from batch to batch then print the conductivity on the coin. This added fussiness might be enough to discourage counterfeiters.

bungston, Jan 07 2009

"$5 gold coin" http://catalog.usmi...t_category_rn=10118
Too spendy! [bungston, Jan 07 2009]

Free Lakota Bank http://press.freelakotabank.com/index.php
All accounts are payable in silver or gold coin. [Amos Kito, Jan 10 2009]


       //Who knows what tubercular onanites have been fondling that bil//
Plus, silver has recognised anti-bacterial properties. [+]
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jan 07 2009

       In these days of crumbling commodity prices, I vote for the tally-stick, perhaps with a bespoke and monogrammed plane to shave off the tallies?
4whom, Jan 07 2009

       //ever since American bills went from staid green to rainbow crayola// WHAT???? When did this happen, and why was I not informed??
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 07 2009

       /recognised anti-bacterial properties./   

       Yes! So much yes! I meant to include that.
bungston, Jan 07 2009

       from the title I assumed you meant a coin with a blank spot on it that you could have engraved.
FlyingToaster, Jan 07 2009

       /since American bills went from staid green to rainbow crayola/   

       Are they different colours for different denominations now?
Texticle, Jan 07 2009

       // why was I not informed??//   

       We were ashamed.   

       I'm sitting (literally, it's in my back pocket) on an 1819 silver Spanish milled bust dollar that is probably a Chinese-made counterfeit. It has gravitas, indeed. And Latin words, too. I've some 1756 milled pillar dollars, of the same provenance. My 1739 Dutch "Silver Rider" is counterfeited of copper with silver plate--the silver coins make a nice ringing sound, it goes 'clunk'.   

       Which is to say that genuine silver coins are a very good idea. Until the government complies, one could go down to the local coin shop, buy a nice old silver coin, and inform the recipient that the shop will buy it back for however much.
baconbrain, Jan 07 2009

       I don't know; this seems like a bit of an uninteresting compromise between intrinsic and notional value.   

       If it were giving a gift I'd go the whole hog, one way or the other - cold hard cash or cold hard ingot/bullion.
xaviergisz, Jan 08 2009

       But //some people think cash is crass// precisely because it is fungible, don't they?
pertinax, Jan 08 2009

       /cold hard cash/   

       But it aint cold or hard any more. This idea brings back that wondrous cold hardness.
bungston, Jan 08 2009

       I like this idea because I like shinny things
miasere, Jan 09 2009

theleopard, Jan 09 2009

       //I like this idea because I like shinny things//
Chromium-plated greaves.
coprocephalous, Jan 09 2009

       Hate to break it to you, but the US government (and most others as well) really, really wants you to use dollars. And the reason for this is that they cannot just print silver coins from nothing, as they can with fiat dollars.   

       The cost of all that money that has been given to banks is effectively paid by anyone holding the same currency beforehand, ie the citizens. Taxation would achieve the same reult in a fairer manner, but if they loaned taxpayers money to private companies for private profit there would be an uproar, so they do it in a complicated way to prevent too many voters understanding it.   

       The government gives the banks enormous amounts of cash, the banks give generousl loans to any entrepreneur with the right political leanings, and those entrepreneurs organise big fundraisers to keep the political parties in power that make it possible.   

       If you want cold hard cash back, designing coins is not the way to do it. Forming a new political party and changing the system is the way to do it.
Bad Jim, Jan 09 2009


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