The United States Mint has halted production of circulating 2009 Jefferson nickels and 2009 Roosevelt dimes for the rest of this year, according to the latest issue of Coin World. As the dime and nickel production graphs show, the stoppage creates historic, staggering low mintages for the two coins — levels not seen since the 50s.
Coin Word’s Paul Gilkes reports the US Mint made the announcement on April 23, and included details of a scale back in producing for other circulating coins, like the three remaining 2009 Lincoln Pennies.
It’s not that the public or collectors dislike the new coins. Quite the opposite, in fact. Collector demand for 2009 circulating coinage is exceptionally high. It’s all about the recession. It has, by itself, significantly eroded demand for new coins in every day transactions.
Why? In addition to buying less, consumers as a whole no longer hoard loose change at home. They spend or cash it in, replenishing circulating supplies to such an extent that coin inventories at banks have climbed. Banks, in turn, cut Federal Reserve orders for new coin shipments. Federal Reserve banks do the same to the Mint, which is then forced to slash production.
Electronic transactions has already cut into demand for circulating coins over the last several years. The latest news from the Mint, however, overshadows how drastic demand for coins has been affected due solely to the recession.
Using the latest Mint circulating coin production figures for 2009 Jefferson nickels, 39.36 million from Denver and 39.84 million from Philadelphia were struck, for a total of 79.20 million coins. In contrast, 640.6 million nickels were minted last year. That is an astonishing 87.6 percent reduction. The last time a U.S. nickel had such a low combined mintage was in 1951.
Jefferson Nickel Production by Mint Facility (1999-2009)
The picture is very similar for 2009 Roosevelt dimes. 49.50 million in Denver and 96.50 million in Philadelphia were struck, for a total of 146 million coins. In contrast, 1.05 billion circulating dimes were minted last year. That is a 86.1 percent reduction. The combined mintage level has not been this low for the dime since 1955.
Roosevelt Dime Production by Mint Facility (1999-2009)
Finding circulating 2009 nickels and dimes will become a priority for many collectors, as their comparative scarcity is extremely attractive. The task may be quite difficult, however. To date, finding 2009 coinage has been a challenge. And unlike other circulating coins, the Mint does not directly sell the nickel and dime in bags or rolls to collectors.
[Editor’s update: 2009 nickel and dime production figures were updated to include totals to the very end of April, which the Mint released on May 1. The original article posting had tallies up to April 29.]