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Will Pennies Soon Be A Thing Of The Past?

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — There was a time not that many years ago when a penny found resting on a sidewalk was quickly snatched up and put into a pocket.

Now? Not so much.

“Many pennies are mostly hoarded,” said coin dealer, Breck Fleeson. “Everyone it seems has a penny jar in their house.”

Fleeson is the owner of Park Coin in St. Louis Park. He’s been collecting pennies for years, from the rare to the downright unusual.

But even coin experts like Fleeson say the days of the United States penny are limited. Just as Canada did on Monday, there’s a growing movement in America to stop minting a coin that costs twice as much to make as it’s actually worth.

“I think it’s largely manufacturing costs, security, electricity and the huge presses that cost a lot of money,” Fleeson said.

But for store owner Raed Kakish, the thought of no pennies is a dream come true.

“I will not shed a tear,” Kakish said.

At his Indulge and Bloom floral shop, Kakish says pennies are a pain — a nuisance for customers digging for correct change and for a business balancing its books.

“It would be much easier to say, ‘You know what? It’s 10 dollars even, or 10.05, or 10.50,” he said.

Now, Canada joins the ranks of Australia, Norway and Sweden as penny-free economies. For consumers like Abby Kershaw, she’s already there.

“I use a credit card for basically everything,” she said.

Still, coin dealer Fleeson says there’s something nostalgic about the copper-coated coin that inflation has left in the dust.

“I think someday we’ll stop minting them and we’ll make a big deal about it,” he said. “We just had the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny where we had four separate designs.”

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