The penny's unlikely backer: Britney's hubby
Britney Spears' husband - K-Fed - becomes one the first to sign petition to save the penny as criticism mounts against the single-cent piece.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Penny advocates gained an unlikely supporter Wednesday as Britney Spears' husband, Kevin Federline, came out in support of the smallest unit of the U.S. currency system at an event sponsored by cellphone carrier Virgin Mobile.
In an effort to promote its new text messaging service that allows customers to send messages for only a penny, Virgin Mobile said it would begin collecting signatures for a "Save the Penny" petition to convince lawmakers to save the single-cent piece from possible extinction.
"I feel good about the penny," said Federline, speaking to a crowd of reporters and onlookers from the center of Times Square, before signing his name to the petition.
As of April, the cost to produce a single penny, which is primarily made of zinc with just 2.5 percent worth of copper, exceeded its face value due to rising commodity prices. The cost to produce a penny has risen from .97 cent in 2005 to 1.4 cents, according to the U.S. Mint.
In 2001, Rep. Jim Kolbe, R- Arizona proposed banning the single cent in favor of a rounding system. Kolbe has said he is now considering reintroducing the legislation.
Penny proponents attending Wednesday's event, including Matthew Eggers, policy director for the interest group Americans for Common Cents, urged lawmakers to take their time before trying to push through any legislation that would abolish the penny, arguing commodity prices should ease from their recent highs.
Related: The fight against the penny.