I meant to blog about this earlier, but James Poulos has proposed a (to me) likeable alternative to the abandonment of the penny urged by David Owen (and Isaac). Citing Owens's points that a) many people are attached to pennies, and b) a penny costs about 1.7 cents to manufacture whereas a nickel costs almost ten cents, Poulos concludes:

The clear solution derived from these key points is not to eliminate the penny but to kill off the nickel and make pennies worth five cents. The penny is a far superior aesthetic and historical object than the nickel, which has lost even the mystique of being the only piece of American currency ever to bear a (bison’s) penis. Nickels, unlike both pennies and dimes, do not fit in glass beer bottles, making them impossible to accumulate stylishly. And the awful Ms. Skeletor portrait of Jefferson adorning the new nickels is an affront to American tradition third only to the shape of the Susan B. Anthony quarter and the peekaboo papoose of its Sacagawea replacement. Pennies, by contrast, sport Honest Abe in elegant profile. They fit in beer bottles and even out unsteady wooden furniture. And, of course, they’re far cheaper to produce than nickels.
Christopher Orr