US Coin Production Tops 1.4 Billion in January 2014

by Mike Unser on February 14, 2014 · 9 comments

Coin Counting and Bagging Machine at Denver Mint

These machines at the Denver Mint count newly produced coins for circulation

U.S. coin production blasted off with more coins struck in January than in any month since 2007, data from the United States Mint shows.

Coining presses at U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia pounded out more than 1.4 billion in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, marking increases of 406.9% from December and 18.4% from a year ago.

For perspective, December is traditionally a soft production month as the U.S. Mint changes gears for the coming year. January is typically a top month. The following table offers monthly production totals and rankings over the past year.

2013 – 2014 January Coin Production Figures / Mintages

Month Mintages Rank
January 2014 1,449.38 M 1
December 2013 285.96 M 13
November 2013 991.14 M 9
October 2013 1,220.38 M 4
September 2013 1,099.34 M 6
August 2013 724.91 M 12
July 2013 1,225.96 M 2
June 2013 1,070.12 M 8
May 2013 1,084.36 M 7
April 2013 1,117.23 M 5
March 2013 932.56 M 11
February 2013 939.98 M 10
January 2013 1,223.68 M 3

 

It’s not the Mint that decides how many coins to produce for circulation. Federal Reserve Banks order coins from the United States Mint based on usage trends and orders they receive from financial institutions around the country.

Never missing a beat, the demand for pennies is always highest among denominations. The U.S. Mint in January struck 843.6 million Lincoln cents, which is 58.2% of all the circulating-quality coins produced for the month. That level, give or take a few percentage points, will appear throughout the year. We love our pennies, even though it costs 1.83 cents to produce and distribute each one.

In year-over-year comparisons for coins used every day by Americans, coin production totals:

  • Jumped 25% for Lincoln cents,
  • Fell 8.6% for Jefferson nickels,
  • Climbed 8.7% for Roosevelt dimes, and
  • Surged 20.8% for America the Beautiful Quarters

Presidential $1 Coins, Native American $1 Coins and Kennedy half-dollars are no longer ordered by Federal Reserve Banks but the Mint strikes them in circulating-quality for coin collectors and continues to offer their totals. Those and January production figures for the other coins are listed in the following table.

US Mint Circulating Coin Production in January 2014

Denomination Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 438,800,000 404,800,000 843,600,000
Jefferson Nickels 66,960,000 50,880,000 117,840,000
Roosevelt Dimes 130,500,000 113,500,000 244,000,000
2013 ATB Quarters 137,400,000 79,400,000 216,800,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 2,100,000 2,500,000 4,600,000
Native American $1s 5,600,000 3,080,000 8,680,000
Presidential Dollars 6,300,000 7,560,000 13,860,000
Total 787,660,000 661,720,000 1,449,380,000

 

U.S. Mint plants in Philadelphia and Denver manufacture all of America’s circulating coins for commerce. In January, the Philadelphia Mint struck 661.72 million coins and the Denver Mint produced 787.66 million coins.

While unlikely, especially with typical low December totals and other monthly slowdowns mixed in, if the production pace stretches through to the end of the year, 2014 annual mintages would near 17.4 billion coins. Such a level has not been recorded since over 19.4 billion coins were minted for circulation in 2001.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Griffin February 14, 2014 at 10:39 am

Hypothetical question: What would happen if just for one year the mints did not mint any coins for regular circulation? Considering the astronomical number of coins circulating in the U.S. now, will most likely still be in circulation for 20 years or more to come. The Government could take the money spent on coin production and re-allocate it to much more needed areas that can actually help the American Citizens.
Just my opinion.

Frank M Wigginton sr February 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm

The ripple effect would cause a lot of instability in, not only the job market but also in commerce. Not only does the coinage stack up in coin operated machines but also in the desk drawers, and kids banks and collections also a lot of coins are lost.

Boz February 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Credit cards are already the preferred method of payment. If coinage totally disappeared from the world nobody would even care or notice.

Stewart February 14, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Agreed Boz, US coin production could be suspended for periods and the economy wouldn’t miss a beat, Perhaps one year don’t mint pennies (forever for that matter), another year, suspend nickels etc. Mint only the collector market (we pay a premium for the coins). I live and work for weeks on end without using a single paper bill, or handling a single coin, the economy hasn’t skipped a beat.

JesustheLionofJudah February 14, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Why have a poverty mentality? Why should we stop producing coins? Coins will always be used; always have, always will, credit cards will not stop that. Credit cards have been around for almost 50 years, but more coins are produced now than ever. We are the greatest nation God has ever made, let us make coins, to say we should stop to save a few bucks is a poverty mentality, instead of thanking God for providing the money to make the coins and thanking Him for His blessing upon us that will never end.

Munzen February 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm

?? After creating a Universe with billions of galaxies, trillions of stars, and who knows how many planets, God also cares about little pieces of metal that’re used for buying things?

Oh, well. I read somewhere that almost half the American public believes God involves Himself (or maybe Herself) in the outcome of the Super Bowl.

unai February 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I thought Santa gave us the coins…. same thing I guess

tom thumb February 17, 2014 at 10:13 am

no need to stop coin production, just reduce the number from billions to millions. We are paying to store these excess coins. less not forget ” render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”

Bib October 7, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Time to get rid of pennies like Australia did.

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