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Bye-Bye, Susie B!

Without fanfare, President Clinton signed into law the bills authorizing the Treasury Department to create a new dollar coin and 50 state-design quarters.

The new dollar coin will be gold-colored and have a distinctive edge to differentiate it from quarters. That was a major complaint about the Susan B. Anthony dollar, first minted in 1979.

"It got easily confused and used and spent as a quarter," Peoria, Illinois, coin dealer Jack Zillion (?) told WMBD Radio.

The design for the new dollar coin is not set and may be left up to the Treasury Secretary. Introduction into circulation is expected for 2000.

Coins last much longer than paper currency, and some Members of Congress had wanted the dollar coin to replace dollar bills, but the law signed by the President Monday does not require this. "The general public is not ready to part with the dollar bill," Rep. Michael Castle (R-Delaware), chairman of the House Monetary subcommittee, has said.

In 1999, the first quarters with different reverses for individual states will be released. Five will be minted each year for 10 years, with the states featured in order of their admission to the Union (or ratification of the Constitution for the first 13).

State governments will choose the subjects, along with two federal panels, the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee and the Commission on Fine Arts. The Secretary of the Treasury will have final say on all designs.

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