The United States coinage system is one that many say needs an overhaul, when looking at the progress of the rest of the world. People who grow up in the United States are taught that a penny is worth one cent, a nickel is worth five cents, a dime is worth ten cents, and a quarter is worth twenty-five cents. However, unlike most other countries, there is no indication of the denomination written on each coin in numeral form. Sure, the penny says, “One Cent”, and the nickel says, “Five Cents,” but it has been realized in recent years that this can prove confusing for those with limited literacy or those who are tourists from other countries and cannot read English.
Even the U.S. Embassy to Japan has picked up on the issue. Their website states that they do not know why the United States has coin value words instead of numbers written on their coins, but that it has been this way since the beginning of the coinage system over two-hundred years ago. Furthermore, there is no correlation between size and value. The dime is both smaller and lighter than the nickel, but it is worth twice the amount. A penny is slightly bigger than a dime, despite having one-tenth of the value. It remains a mystery to everyone from elected officials to local consumers. To date, the only United States coin that has the value written out in numbers is the current one-dollar coin, which has “$1” written on the front face.