US Mint Coin Production Jumps 34.8% in March, 2.16B Coins Minted in Q1 2012

by Mike Unser on April 10, 2012 · 7 comments

2012-D Lincoln Cent

70.8% of all the 781.7 million coins produced by the U.S. Mint in March were pennies

American coin production rose sharply in March and over the same time a year ago, newly released figures from the United States Mint reveal.

Despite a circulating coin output that consisted of minimal quarters and dollars, the production pace surged 34.8% from February and overshadowed March of last year by 61.0%.

For the year and first quarter, circulation production totaled 2.16406 billion coins — the quickest yearly start since the U.S. economic downswing in 2008. Combined across all denominations, the U.S. Mint produced 781.7 million of them in March, marking a third straight monthly increase. Bearing in mind that circulating $1 coin production was canceled by the Treasury Department in December and dollars are now minted in significantly lower quantities and singly for collectors, last month still ranked 7th overall over the past year.

2011-2012 March Coin Production Figures / Mintages

Month Mintages Rank
March 2012 781.70 M 7
February 2012 579.86 M 11
January 2012 802.50 M 5
December 2011 431.78 M 13
November 2011 715.96 M 7
October 2011 690.66 M 8
September 2011 811.42 M 3
August 2011 604.54 M 10
July 2011 821.98 M 2
June 2011 903.06 M 1
May 2011 807.41 M 4
April 2011 640.17 M 9
March 2011 485.50 M 12

 

Gains over the previous month were lifted on the shoulders of a 58.8% boost in Lincoln cents, a 52.2% uptick in Jefferson nickels and a 6.3% increase in Roosevelt dimes.

Two U.S. Mint facilities, one located in Denver and the other in Philadelphia, are responsible for producing all of America’s circulating coinage — those coins used in everyday commerce. Swapping leadership positions from the previous month, Denver’s Mint was more active with a coin production total of 403.42 million against Philadelphia’s 378.28 million.

Pennies consumed most of the Mints’ time as they accounted for 70.8% of the entire monthly production total. With Kennedy halves and now $1 coins minted only for coin collectors and on an as-needed basis, the production tables below appear emptied when coupled with last month’s modest output of quarters.

US Mint Circulating Coin Production in March 2012

Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 281,600,000 271,600,000 553,200,000
Jefferson Nickels 67,440,000 48,000,000 115,440,000
Roosevelt Dimes 52,500,000 57,000,000 109,500,000
2012 Quarters 200,000 0 200,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 0 0 0
Native American $1s 0 0 0
Presidential Dollars 1,680,000 1,680,000 3,360,000
Total 403,420,000 378,280,000 781,700,000

 

Revelations were nil in terms of new mintages declared for upcoming America the Beautiful Quarter and Presidential $1 Coin releases. Last month’s production report called preliminary (probably finalized) Arthur $1 and El Yunque quarter mintages. To date, each coin is the scarcest in their respective series.

Since, the U.S. Mint has struck 3.36 million more Presidential dollars, evenly split between Denver and Philadelphia. These $1 coins likely feature the portrait of Grover Cleveland — the second of the 2012 Presidential $1 Coins. The Mint has not yet indicated when circulating Cleveland dollars will be made available, after having just released rolls and boxes of the first 2012 Chester Arthur $1 coin on Thursday, April 5, 2012.

As for quarters, mintages quietly climbed 200,000. The U.S. Mint in February had already begun producing the Chaco Culture National Historical Park quarter for New Mexico — the second of the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters. With March figures added in, Chaco Culture quarter mintages stand at 44 million — again, evenly split with 22 million struck at each minting facility. This would seem to make a strong argument that its production is over, with an official declaration simply delayed. If so, the Chaco Culture quarter would take over the title as scarcest of the America the Beautiful Quarters. It would appear that will not be known or revealed until May, however. The Chaco Culture quarter started to circulate on Tuesday, April 2, 2012.

The following table provides a look into the available year-to-date mintages for coins by specific design.

US Mint 2012 Coin Production / Mintages by Design

  Denver Philadelphia 2011 Total
Lincoln Cents 557,200,000 812,800,000 1,370,000,000
Jefferson Nickels 129,120,000 145,440,000 274,560,000
Roosevelt Dimes 187,000,000 219,500,000 406,500,000
El Yunque Quarter 25,000,000 25,800,000 50,800,000
Chaco Culture Quarter 0 0 0
Acadia Quarter 0 0 0
Hawai’i Quarter 0 0 0
Denali Quarter 0 0 0
Kennedy Half Dollars 1,700,000 1,800,000 3,500,000
Native American $1 2,800,000 2,800,000 5,600,000
Arthur Presidential $1 2,800,000 2,940,000 5,740,000
Cleveland Presidential $1 0 0 0
Harrison Presidential $1 0 0 0
Cleveland Presidential $1 0 0 0
Total 905,620,000 1,211,080,000 2,116,700,000

 

Visit this site’s US Coins Information page for details on many of the coins listed above. Current coin production figures are based on data from the United States Mint page: http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/?action=coin_production.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Vachon April 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I wonder when the glut of State Quarters will have finally passed? At the current rates of ATB quarter production, will the entire series even surpass 1999’s mintage of state quarters?

jim April 11, 2012 at 2:25 am

And we have another 8 yrs @ 4 quarters per year to go. I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to seeing the old quarter reverse again. In fact I’ve been spending the state and ATB quarters and keeping the old quarters I get in my change.

billymac11 April 11, 2012 at 8:23 am

I would tend to think that the time will have come by the end of ATB to introduce a whole new (single!) design for the quarter, as much as I like the Washington Quarter. Maybe it should be Teddy Roosevelt, which would have made oh-so-much sense for the obverse of ATB, but that opportunity was missed.

JP April 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

I have to believe that at some point we’ll have enough coins minted that we can lay off the mint for a couple of years. Due to their longevity I’m still regularly finding coins from the 60’s in my change, so I’d think that we could save some money by throttling down the mint’s production schedule a tad.

Munzen April 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I have to agree with billymac. TR has been sadly neglected. IMO he definitely should be honored, not just because of the changes he brought about in our coins but for the steps he took to move our country onto the world stage. If not on an existing denomination, why not on a distinctive $2 coin or bill that could short-circuit some of the bleatings about “carrying too many $1 coins” if the $1 bill ever meets its much-delayed end?

IMHO it seems that the Mint is currently doing what cereal makers discovered a year ago: it’s easier to create “new” products by endlessly tweaking existing ones than it is to produce something truly different. Cents through halves each have some major part of their design that’s been essentially the same for at least a half-century. At what point does continuity become stagnation?

Munzen April 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Foo. No edit button. Not “a year ago”, “YEARS ago”

george glazener April 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Definitely like the idea of a $2.00 Coin w/ Teddy Roosevelt on it. But given the disdain that most retailers showed when I tried my best to circulate the $1.00 Presidential dollars, I think there would be a lot of negative reaction and a resistance to embrace them. In the end, most folks just don’t want to lug around bulky clanky coins in their pockets

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