[singlepic=40,170,90,,left]You may have seen the commercials by the US Mint promoting its new $1 coins. They have chosen Charlotte as one of four cities to test the coins this month. The press release:

Campaign for $1 Coin Use Begins in Charlotte, North Carolina
Pilot city encouraged to adopt new currency

WASHINGTON (August 20, 2008 ) — The United States Mint has chosen Charlotte, North Carolina, as one of four pilot cities in the United States to test new efforts to encourage regular use of the $1 Coin. A series of events at popular attractions and retailers, as well as television, radio, newspaper and online communications, seeks to make Charlotteans aware of the benefits of regularly using the $1 Coin. The campaign begins this month.
“This is the first program of its kind to inspire shoppers, diners and commuters to use $1 Coins in their normal, everyday activities,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. “When each of us spends the $1 Coin, we make a difference for our country, because the $1 Coin is durable and using it saves the Nation money. We hope our pilot cities lead the change!”
The $1 Coin lasts for decades and is 100 percent recyclable, so using it can save the country billions of dollars over the years.
The upcoming events will encourage Charlotteans to appreciate the benefits of the $1 Coin and use it regularly, so the city could set a new trend in money usage that the entire country will follow. Charlotte was chosen because it is known as a unique, yet all-American city. The other three pilot cities are Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
$1 coins have been a part of America’s currency for many decades, but they have not been widely used interchangeably with paper money – until now. The $1 Coin offers people speed and convenience when used at grocery stores, restaurants and movie theaters, or when these coins are dropped into vending machines, parking meters or Charlotte Area Transit System fare boxes.
The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, which was passed by Congress and approved by President George W. Bush, supports the pilot program. The Presidential $1 Coin Program, which began in 2007 with the release of the George Washington Presidential $1 Coin, honors the Nation’s Presidents in the order that they served. Each Presidential $1 Coin features an image of the President on the obverse (heads side) and a common reverse (tails side) featuring the Statue of Liberty. The United States Mint issues four Presidential $1 Coins per year, with coins honoring Presidents James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren in 2008. These coins feature larger, more dramatic artwork, as well as the year of minting or issuance, “E Pluribus Unum,” “In God We Trust” and the mint mark inscribed on each coin’s edge. The United States Mint has minted more than one billion new $1 Coins since 2007.
For more information on the United States Mint or the Presidential $1 Coin Program, please visit www.usmint.gov.