Saying it can save taxpayers $50 million a year, the Treasury Department announced today that it is suspending almost all production of presidential dollar coins.
There are nearly 1.4 billion of the coins sitting around in surplus because of lack of demand, Treasury says. Their production was mandated by the 2005 Presidential $1 Coin Act. Going forward, Treasury plans to produce only enough to satisfy the relatively small demand from collectors. It says "the next coin in the series, the President Chester A. Arthur $1 Coin, will be released in the Spring of 2012."
Update at 4 p.m. ET: And we shouldn't neglect to mention that it was "a joint inquiry by NPR's Planet Money and Investigations teams" that cast a bright light on the wasteful coin surplus.
Update at 3:20 p.m. ET: Our friends at Planet Money have more here.