Coins penny dime nickel
Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Almost $1 Million in Loose Change: A Possible Solution Towards the Great Coin Shortage of 2020 in the United States?

“When I proceeded through security at LAX earlier this week, I found a dime in my bin…and pocketed it. If only I could do that every day at checkpoints around the country. I expected a sizable amount of money to be collected by the TSA each year, but did not speculate nearly seven digits worth”, according to this article by Matthew Klint of Live and Let’s Fly. “Note, this amount doesn’t include the (illegal) seizures that the TSA has engaged in for those carrying large amount of cash.”

Almost $1 Million in Loose Change: A Possible Solution Towards the Great Coin Shortage of 2020 in the United States?

TSA Pre✓ and Staples
Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The Transportation Security Administration collected a total of $926,030.44 — $18,899.09 of which was foreign currency — at airport security checkpoints in fiscal year 2019 alone, according to this official report of unclaimed money to the House of Representatives of the United States.

“TSA tries to ensure that all traveler property, including loose change, finds its way back to the proper owner”, according to the aforementioned official report. “However, when loose change does not, it will be directed to critical aviation security programs.”

Furthermore, the Transportation Security Administration had a total of $3,618,696.00 in resources remaining from unclaimed money which was collected both in fiscal year 2019 and prior years. Of this, the Transportation Security Administration has:

  • Obligated $2,100,000.00 for training and development, of which $996,475.51 was expended during the year.
  • Spent $32,150.00 from obligations during the prior year on printing and distributing bookmarks at airport security checkpoints across the United States to publicize the TSA Pre✓ program — and at the end of fiscal year 2019, the Transportation Security Administration had $1,518,696.00 in unobligated resources available for its use

The Top 5 Airports In Terms of Unclaimed Money Collected

The top five airports in the United States at which the most unclaimed money was collected comprise of $283,092.68, which is slightly greater than 30.57 percent of the total of $926,030.44 collected. Those airports are as follows:

Airport Code
Hub Airport
Amount Collected
JFK John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York $98,110.00
SFO San Francisco International Airport $52,668.70
MIA Miami International Airport $47,694.03
LAS McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas $44,401.76
DFW Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport $40,218.19


Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoint Atlanta
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Almost one million dollars is a lot of loose change — although the report does not specifically state that all of the unclaimed money was in the form of coins.

Perhaps officials at the Transportation Security Administration should consider at least exchanging whatever coins they do have with paper money to help alleviate the Great Coin Shortage of 2020.

Do you remember when the Transportation Security Administration supposedly requested an order of up to $3,000,000.00 for electronic equipment and technology from Apple — including but not limited to computers, monitors, keyboards, iPads, iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, the Apple OS X operating system, extended warranties, repairs and other hardware and software for its employees — in order to “support specific areas of the Risk-Based Counter-Terrorism mission back in 2012? I publicly offered the Transportation Security Administration a proposal in which I can do the graphics for the agency for considerably less than three million dollars.

As for the seizures in which the Transportation Security Administration has engaged in for those carrying large amount of cash, the agency is only one of many which have allegedly engaged in the practice of civil asset forfeiture in which “your property is guilty until you prove it innocent”

…and although the Supreme Court of the United States ruled last year that state and local governments cannot raise revenue with fines resulting from civil asset forfeitures, the federal government of the United States — of which the Transportation Security Administration is a part — is not affected by that ruling.

Those points are just my two cents worth for you to keep in mind.

A penny for your thoughts? Please post them in the Comments section below.

All photographs ©2016, ©2019, and ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

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