There was a story on NPR this morning about $1B in dollar coins sitting unwanted in a vault. Presidential and Sacagawea $1 coins piling up returned and uncirculated in a Federal Reserve vault.
It leads me to the conclusion that the US Government's attempts to make the use of a $1 coin widespread have been completely half-assed from the start. Completely. Half. Assed.
First a $1 coin needs to be noticably different from other coins. The SBA dollar, unless you look closely looks and feels almost like the US quarter. That's no good. The Sacagawea dollar does better being a different colour and with different edging.
Next, the paper dollar needs to go away. That's all.
The Loonie was designed to be noticeably different from the Canadian quarter. It also sounds different when you jingle it with other coins.
Canada moved to dollar coins (the Loonie) and $2 coins nearly 25 years ago. There was some grumbling for a while, but it's since become a part of the Canadian culture.
Perhaps the US Government and Federal Reserve should look at how Canada made the transition. They essentially said the loonie is replacing the paper dollar, and after a such-and-such date, we will stop circulating paper dollars. Get used to the dollar coin.
The US Government needs to do the same if they want dollar coins to do something other than sit useless in a vault.