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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 08:13 GMT
US aims to relaunch dollar coin
George Washington will be the first coin released in 2007 by the US Mint
The new coins will only feature deceased former US presidents
The US Mint is planning to reintroduce dollar coins in another attempt to get Americans to give up the dollar note.

Each coin will feature the image of a former president, starting in February with George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

The changeover to coins could save the Treasury an estimated $500m (260m) a year because they last up to 40 years, compared with just 18 months for notes.

But officials say there are no plans to completely eliminate paper dollars.

The US Mint unveiled designs for the new coins, similar to a popular series of 25 cent coins, also known as quarters, that the mint has been issuing over the past seven years.

The coins have proved popular with coin collectors and mint officials hope the same thing will happen with the new dollars.

Previous flops

One dollar note
Coins could sound the death knell for the one dollar bill
The dollar note is the most widely used paper currency in the US and previous attempts to introduce a coin replacement have flopped - mainly because the coins were so similar to the quarter, people could not tell them apart by touch, the BBC's Stuart Cohen in Washington says.

US Mint director Edmund Moy hopes simple economics now mean the time is finally right for a dollar coin that Americans will use.

"Americans just love their currency. But what we're seeing more broadly are some bigger trends going on where the use of the dollar coin have gone up dramatically in the last year," he said.

Mr Moy said New York City has announced plans to adapt parking meters to accept dollar coins.

"Using a dollar coin is more convenient in parking meters, it's more convenient at the subway kiosk, it's more convenient in vending machines," he said.

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