Ivars Peterson presents the case for an 18 cent piece. Buried in his analysis is this small detail:

“The trouble with 18-cent pieces,” [Jeffrey Shallit] admits, “is that it’s hard to figure out the best way to make change in your head.”

You think?

(Hat tip: GeekPress)

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    Not if we convert to a Base 9 system, which I and the Lyndon LaRouche folks have been advocating for a decade now (which is 9 years for you unconverted folks).

  2. MommaBear says:

    Since the ‘largest coin first’ method only works if either the cash register or cashier has already figured the total due to be returned, either way requires that the entire computation be done first. The ‘old-fashioned’ method of ‘counting back up’ to the total tendered does one thing the other doesn’t…promotes accurate change-making. The interim calculations of the former are very prone to error; the minute calculations of ‘counting back up’ are far less subject to mistakes. This disappeared with the dependence on machines.

    As an aside, it also promotes the terrible tendency of lazy cashiers to hand back the bills first, with the coinage now subject to ending up every which way unless one puts out both hands to receive the change.