2009 US Coin Mintages Plummeted as Mint Cut Production

by Darrin Lee Unser on January 20, 2010 · 5 comments

"Things are slow all over." That’s a saying you hear a lot in this economy, and it can certainly be applied to the latest 2009 annual coin production figures released by the United States Mint.

US Mint 2009 Production Figures by Coin Design

Denver Philadelphia 2009 Total
Birthplace Cent 350,400,000 284,400,000 634,800,000
Formative Years Cent 363,600,000 376,000,000 739,600,000
Professional Life Cent 336,000,000 316,000,000 652,000,000
Presidency Cent 198,000,000 129,600,000 327,600,000
Jefferson Nickel 46,800,000 39,840,000 86,640,000
Roosevelt Dime 49,500,000 96,500,000 146,000,000
DC Quarter 88,800,000 83,600,000 172,400,000
Puerto Rico Quarter 86,000,000 53,200,000 139,200,000
Guam Quarter 42,600,000 45,000,000 87,600,000
American Samoa Quarter 39,600,000 42,600,000 82,200,000
U.S. Virgin Islands Quarter 41,000,000 41,000,000 82,000,000
Northern Mariana Islands Quarter 37,600,000 35,200,000 72,800,000
Kennedy Half Dollar 1,900,000 1,900,000 3,800,000
Native American $1 33,880,000 37,380,000 71,260,000
Harrison Presidential $1 55,160,000 43,260,000 98,420,000
Tyler Presidential $1 43,540,000 43,540,000 87,080,000
Polk Presidential $1 41,720,000 46,620,000 88,340,000
Taylor Presidential $1 36,680,000 41,580,000 78,260,000

According to the US Mint, a dismal 3,548,000,000 circulating 2009-dated coins were struck last year. That is the lowest mintages in decades. Of that number, roughly 1.83 billion were produced at the Mint’s facility in Denver and 1.72 billion in Philadelphia.

With the country still deep in a recession through all of last year, unemployment grew from 7.7% in January of 2009 to 10% by the end of the year — a mark not attained since the early 80′s. As more people were out of work and those still employed tried their best to hold onto their money, retail sales plummeted. As transactions declined, so did the need for change. Further, masses of people were scrounging their homes for every last coin to help pay bills. Old coins quickly found their way into circulation, with inventories building up at banks. They, in turn, ordered fewer new coins.

Comparing 2009 with 2008 mintages tells the story. The Mint experienced a 6,593,580,000 (or 65%) decline in unit production last year.

Nine new circulating coin designs made their debut last year, but those were not enough to increase demand by any significant amount. The new designs included five new quarters as part of the D.C. and U.S. Territories Program (including the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands) as well as four new Lincoln cents celebrating the bicentennial of his birthday (including the Birthplace cent, Formative Years cent, Professional Life cent and the Presidency cent).

Just looking at the production figures for the Lincoln cent alone tells a sad story. Collector’s sought the coins at records levels, but daily circulating demand sunk. The four new designs only resulted in a total production of 2.354 billion cents for 2009. (See 2009 Lincoln Cent Mintages.)

By contrast, in 2008 when the Mint was still striking the familiar Lincoln Memorial design as it had been doing since 1959, the Philadelphia Mint struck 2.5696 billion individual cents itself with the Denver Mint adding another 2.8496 billion.

The two hardest hit coins were the Jefferson nickel and the Roosevelt dime. Both saw 2009 production at a mere 14% of what it had been in 2008. In fact, the Mint announced that it suspended production of those two denominations in April due to the lackluster demand. (See US Mint Halts 2009 Nickels and Dimes Production.)

The first set of production figures released for 2010 will be very telling on how this year will proceed.

The latest US Mint figures may be found at: http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/coin_production/index.cfm?action=production_figures

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Vachon January 20, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I haven’t understood all the disappointment I’ve been reading from collectors this year, specifically the difficulty in obtaining new 2009-dated coins. While I know that they will never be valuable, the fact that the search has been somewhat difficult has ultimately been a pleasing one. After all, wasn’t that what it was all about when searching one’s pocket change? We were all searching for the rare(r) dates, not the multi-billion mintage ones. Tomorrow’s collectors will delight in having found the “rare” 2009 nickel and Northern Mariana Islands quarter to fill in that hole in their boards.

R Path January 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I am new to coin collecting and got my son started this year. I have some questions and comments about collecting.
With all that’s been published about the decline in coin production would the “un circulated Mint Set” U09 be a good choice for price appreciation down the road?
Also, some are cutting up this set and selling the nickels and dimes on ebay for about $2 each. Does this go on every year (cutting up the sets and selling)?


the x January 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm

i think they should have minted less coins so they would become valuable in the near future.

Vachon January 21, 2010 at 5:51 am

In response to R. Path:

If you believe you will be sticking with coin collecting for the foreseeable future, it is best to learn about the subject before committing significant amounts of money to it. Subscribe to publications like Numismatic News or CoinAge magazine to get a leg-up on the hobby as well as get a handle on what the coins you’re looking for are actually worth and get a book like a PhotoGrade Coin Grading guide to familiarize yourself with proper grading.

As for price appreciation on 2009 Unc. sets, while coin collecting is often referred to as an investment, it like everything else is subject to market forces and can just as easily go down in value as up. If you’re collecting with the idea of making significant sums of money on their sale in the future, you may end up disappointed. It’s probably better to collect for collecting’s sake and to get your enjoyment from it that way.

And as a general piece of advice: It’s probably best not to buy coins on eBay until you’ve familiarized yourself with the hobby.

I hope that helps.

R Path January 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Sometime’s the activity on ebay does not make any sense at all. As per my son, he is interested in US president’s $1 coin, silver coins and anything that is over 100 years old. Last weekend after some research I bought him an 1883 liberty head nickel (full liberty) for $10 and 3 1964 Kennedy ½ for $5 each at a local antiques / thrift store. I bargained the whole lot down from $40.

My next project is to buy the red book, subscribe to publications as you suggest and research barber dimes as he wants one. Thanks for the info.

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