Once again, the issue of a new dollar coin brings out the letter saying “you can’t tell them from quarters in your pocket” (2/16, Letters).
I defy you to show me someone who, when paying with change, reaches into their pocket and fishes around for exact change without looking at it. When you pay with change, you pull the change out, and go through it getting the coins you need.
Also, you can’t tell $1 bills from $5 bills in your wallet by feel. The onerous task of actually looking at your money would not seem to be as large a problem as it is represented as being.
I spent 1978 through 1980 at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in England. On base, they didn’t use dollar bills at all, only dollar coins. I would tell you from experience that if you carry a couple in your pocket for a week, you will never mistake them for quarters.
The real problem with dollar coins is just resistance to doing anything a different way.
Given that making dollar coins ends up being much more economical than printing dollar bills, I think it seems perfectly reasonable.
In fact, I would suggest a $5 coin, minted in steel with bluing. That would be a handsome coin.