US Coin Production in 2015 Tops 17 Billion, Highest Since 2001

by Mike Unser on January 15, 2016 · 5 comments

2015-dated US coins

More U.S. coin were minted in 2015 than in any year since 2001

The United States Mint in 2015 was the busiest it’s been in 14 years, with demand for coins so high it expanded operations and hired more people to fulfill coinage orders from the Federal Reserve. The agency produced more than 17 billion coins for circulation in 2015, marking a sixth straight year of growth and the quickest annual pace since 19.4 billion coins were struck in 2001.

U.S. Mint production facilities in Denver and Philadelphia shipped 17,046,700,000 coins to Fed banks for distribution into the economy last year. That’s 28.4% higher than the nearly 13.3 billion coins minted for commerce in 2014 and 380.5% more than when mintages bottomed out in 2009 to just over 3.5 billion coins.

Quarters led year-over-year gains with almost 3 billion made, advancing 89.3% from 2014. Nickels and dimes followed as each climbed about 32% from the previous year. The U.S. Mint made good revenue with these coins since the cost to produce and distribute them is lower than their face values. Unit costs are 8.1 cents for each nickel, 3.9 cents for each dime and 9 cents for each quarter, according to the latest available Mint annual report (2014).

Here is a breakdown of the annual coin production levels adjusted on a per coin basis from 2014 to 2015:

US Mint Annual Coin Production (2015 vs 2014)

  Year 2014 Year 2015 2015 Unit Gain / Loss 2015 % Gain / Loss
Cents 8,146,400,000 9,365,300,000 1,218,900,000 15.0%
Nickels 1,206,240,000 1,599,600,000 393,360,000 32.6%
Dimes 2,302,500,000 3,041,010,000 738,510,000 32.1%
Quarters 1,580,200,000 2,990,820,000 1,410,620,000 89.3%
Half Dollars 4,600,000 4,600,000 0 0.0%
Native American $1 5,880,000 5,040,000 -840,000 -14.3%
Presidential $1s 35,140,000 40,330,000 5,190,000 14.8%
Total 13,280,960,000 17,046,700,000 3,765,740,000 28.4%

 

When looking at the above table, keep in mind that Presidential $1 Coins, Native American $1 Coins and Kennedy half-dollars are no longer produced for circulation — Federal Reserve Banks do not order them. The U.S. Mint now strikes them in smaller quantities and they are only available in products for coin collectors.

All U.S. coins for circulation originate from either the Denver Mint or Philadelphia Mint. Last year, the facility in Denver struck over 8.6 billion coins while the one in Philadelphia produced more than 8.4 billion coins.

In unit totals, Lincoln cents easily won among denominations with more than 9.3 billion made, representing 54.9% of the year’s production total. Ironically, it costs the Mint 1.7 cents to strike and distribute each one, so the most made U.S. coin is actually a money-loser.

These next two tables show circulating coin mintages for the year by production facility, denomination and design:

YTD 2015 Circulating Coin Production by Denomination

1 ¢ 5 ¢ 10 ¢ 25 ¢ 50 ¢ N.A. $1 Pres $1 Total
Denver 4674M 846.72M 1543.5M 1555.6M 2.3M 2.24M 16.53M 8640.89M
Philadelphia 4691.3M 752.88M 1497.51M 1435.22M 2.3M 2.8M 23.8M 8405.81M
Total 9365.3M 1599.6M 3041.01M 2990.82M 4.6M 5.04M 40.33M 17046.7M

 

2015 Circulating Coin Production by Design

  Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 4,674,000,000 4,691,300,000 9,365,300,000
Jefferson Nickels 846,720,000 752,880,000 1,599,600,000
Roosevelt Dimes 1,543,500,000 1,497,510,000 3,041,010,000
Homestead National Monument of America Quarter 248,600,000 214,400,000 463,000,000
Kisatchie National Forest Quarter 379,600,000 397,200,000 776,800,000
Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter 505,200,000 325,616,000 830,816,000
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter 206,400,000 275,000,000 481,400,000
Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter 215,800,000 223,000,000 438,800,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 2,300,000 2,300,000 4,600,000
Native American $1 2,240,000 2,800,000 5,040,000
Harry S. Truman $1 3,500,000 4,900,000 8,400,000
Dwight D. Eisenhower $1 3,645,998 4,900,000 8,545,998
John F. Kennedy $1 5,180,000 6,160,000 11,340,000
Lyndon B. Johnson $1 4,200,000 7,840,000 12,040,000
Total 8,640,885,998 8,405,806,000 17,046,691,998

 

America the Beautiful Quarter mintages continue to grow as the series matures. Last year they topped 2.99 billion, jumping 89.3% higher than in 2014. Mintages in prior years reached:

  • 347 million in 2010;
  • 391.2 million in 2011;
  • 568 million in 2012;
  • 1.455 billion in 2013; and
  • 1.58 billion in 2014.

Thirty different quarter designs have been released through 2015. The year brought a change to the quarter sitting with the highest mintage. The leader by design is now the 2015 Kisatchie National Forest quarter for Louisiana at 830.8 million. The 2012 Chaco Culture National Historical Park quarter for New Mexico remains at the bottom with a total mintage of 44 million. (The scarcest ABQ issue by production facility is the Denver Mint-struck 2012-D Acadia National Park quarter at 21.6 million. The ‘P’ and ‘D’ Chaco Culture quarters are next with each at 22 million.)

The Mint has made more than 7.3 billion America the Beautiful Quarters since the series kicked off in 2010. Each honors a different national park or national site in the United States or its territories. Here is a breakdown of production totals by quarter design and coin production facility:

2010 – 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters Mintages

  Denver Philadelphia Total
2010 Hot Springs National Park 34,000,000 35,600,000 69,600,000
2010 Yellowstone National Park 34,800,000 33,600,000 68,400,000
2010 Yosemite National Park 34,800,000 35,200,000 70,000,000
2010 Grand Canyon National Park 35,400,000 34,800,000 70,200,000
2010 Mount Hood National Forest 34,400,000 34,400,000 68,800,000
2011 Gettysburg National Military Park 30,400,000 30,800,000 61,200,000
2011 Glacier National Park 31,200,000 30,400,000 61,600,000
2011 Olympic National Park 30,600,000 30,400,000 61,000,000
2011 Vicksburg National Military Park 33,400,000 30,800,000 64,200,000
2011 Chickasaw National Recreation Area 69,400,000 73,800,000 143,200,000
2012 El Yunque Quarter 25,000,000 25,800,000 50,800,000
2012 Chaco Culture Quarter 22,000,000 22,000,000 44,000,000
2012 Acadia Quarter 21,606,000 24,800,000 46,406,000
2012 Hawai’i Quarter 78,600,000 46,200,000 124,800,000
2012 Denali Quarter 166,600,000 135,400,000 302,000,000
2013 White Mountain Quarter 107,600,000 68,800,000 176,400,000
2013 Perry’s Victory Quarter 131,600,000 107,800,000 239,400,000
2013 Great Basin Quarter 141,400,000 122,400,000 263,800,000
2013 Fort McHenry Quarter 151,400,000 120,000,000 271,400,000
2013 Mount Rushmore Quarter 272,400,000 231,800,000 504,200,000
2014 Great Smoky Mountains Quarter 99,400,000 73,200,000 172,600,000
2014 Shenandoah National Park Quarter 197,800,000 112,800,000 310,600,000
2014 Arches National Park Quarter 251,400,000 214,200,000 465,600,000
2014 Great Sand Dunes Quarter 171,800,000 159,600,000 331,400,000
2014 Everglades National Park Quarter 142,400,000 157,601,200 300,001,200
2015 Homestead National Monument of America Quarter 248,600,000 214,400,000 463,000,000
2015 Kisatchie National Forest Quarter 379,600,000 397,200,000 776,800,000
2015 Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter 505,200,000 325,616,000 830,816,000
2015 Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter 206,400,000 275,000,000 481,400,000
2015 Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter 215,800,000 223,000,000 438,800,000
Total 3,905,006,000 3,427,417,200 7,332,423,200

 

Mintages of Presidential $1 Coins reached just over 40.3 million in 2015, up 14.8% from the total of 35.1 million dollars in 2014 and the highest since 44 million were produced in 2012.

Since the inception of the Presidential $1 Coin Program in 2007, over 2.5 billion Presidential dollars have been produced. Annual totals are modest compared to pre-2012 years when the coins were made for circulation. The program ends this year with the dollars honoring Nixon, Ford and Reagan. Here’s a look at their mintages from 2007 to 2015:

2007 – 2015 Presidential $1 Coin Mintages

  Denver Philadelphia Total
2007 George Washington $1 163,680,000 176,680,000 340,360,000
2007 John Adams $1 112,140,000 112,420,000 224,560,000
2007 Thomas Jefferson $1 102,810,000 100,800,000 203,610,000
2007 James Madison $1 87,780,000 84,560,000 172,340,000
2008 James Monroe $1 60,230,000 64,260,000 124,490,000
2008 John Quincy Adams $1 57,720,000 57,540,000 115,260,000
2008 Andrew Jackson $1 61,070,000 61,180,000 122,250,000
2008 Martin Van Buren $1 50,960,000 51,520,000 102,480,000
2009 William H. Harrison $1 55,160,000 43,260,000 98,420,000
2009 John Tyler $1 43,540,000 43,540,000 87,080,000
2009 James K. Polk $1 41,720,000 46,620,000 88,340,000
2009 Zachary Taylor $1 36,680,000 41,580,000 78,260,000
2010 Millard Fillmore $1 36,960,000 37,520,000 74,480,000
2010 Franklin Pierce $1 38,360,000 38,220,000 76,580,000
2010 James Buchanan $1 36,540,000 36,820,000 73,360,000
2010 Abraham Lincoln $1 48,020,000 49,000,000 97,020,000
2011 Andrew Johnson $1 37,100,000 35,560,000 72,660,000
2011 Ulysses S. Grant $1 37,940,000 38,080,000 76,020,000
2011 Rutherford B. Hayes $1 36,820,000 37,660,000 74,480,000
2011 James Garfield $1 37,100,000 37,100,000 74,200,000
2012 Arthur Presidential $1 4,060,000 6,020,000 10,080,000
2012 Cleveland (1st Term) Presidential $1 4,060,000 5,460,000 9,520,000
2012 Harrison Presidential $1 4,200,000 5,640,001 9,840,001
2012 Cleveland (2nd Term) Presidential $1 3,920,000 10,680,000 14,600,000
2013 William McKinley $1 3,365,100 4,760,000 8,125,100
2013 Theodore Roosevelt $1 3,920,000 5,310,700 9,230,700
2013 William Howard Taft $1 3,360,000 4,760,000 8,120,000
2013 Woodrow Wilson $1 3,360,000 4,620,000 7,980,000
2014 Warren G. Harding $1 3,780,000 6,160,000 9,940,000
2014 Calvin Coolidge $1 3,780,000 4,480,000 8,260,000
2014 Herbert Hoover $1 3,780,000 4,480,000 8,260,000
2014 Franklin D. Roosevelt $1 3,920,000 4,760,000 8,680,000
Harry S. Truman $1 3,500,000 4,900,000 8,400,000
Dwight D. Eisenhower $1 3,645,998 4,900,000 8,545,998
John F. Kennedy $1 5,180,000 6,160,000 11,340,000
Lyndon B. Johnson $1 4,200,000 7,840,000 12,040,000
Total 1,244,361,098 1,284,820,700 2,529,181,798

 

December is normally a slow coin production month as the U.S. Mint readies its tooling for the next year’s coins. Some Decembers have come in at or near flat. Last month was actually solid historically at 707.79 million coins. That said, it dropped 43.2% from November and fell 19.5% from December 2014. Here’s how the month ranks against others in the past year:

2014 – 2015 December Coin Production Figures

Month Mintages Rank
December 2015 707.79 M 13
November 2015 1,245.73 M 10
October 2015 1,757.64 M 1
September 2015 1,476.37 M 7
August 2015 1,142.46 M 11
July 2015 1,665.76 M 4
June 2015 1,673.95 M 3
May 2015 1,459.86 M 6
April 2015 1,696.56 M 2
March 2015 1,403.44 M 8
February 2015 1,277.96 M 9
January 2015 1,539.15 M 5
December 2014 878.84 M 12

 

There were two corrections made in December with total trimmings of Philadelphia Mint quarters and Denver Mint Presidential $1 Coins.

US Mint Circulating Coin Production in December 2015

Denomination Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 249,200,000 227,200,000 476,400,000
Jefferson Nickels 44,640,000 39,360,000 84,000,000
Roosevelt Dimes 78,500,000 69,490,000 147,990,000
2015 ATB Quarters 0 -3,400,000 -3,400,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 0 0 0
Native American $1s 0 0 0
Presidential Dollars -140,000 2,940,000 2,800,000
Total 372,200,000 335,590,000 707,790,000

 

Coin production figures in this coin news article are based on data aggregated from the U.S. Mint webpage at: http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/?action=ProductionFigures.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

David January 15, 2016 at 10:30 am

Thanks Mike for the nice review of coin production and costs. According to my math the mint lost $65M minting the cent and $48M minting the nickel. They made $185M on the dime and $480M on the quarter so they still ended up way ahead. I still can’t understand why we just don’t drop the cent entirely like Canada did. The nickel makes sense because of the retooling cost for vending machines, but no one would miss the cent.

Munzen January 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm

We’re stuck with nickels for another reason: the quarter is an odd multiple of 5, so change couldn’t effectively be made with only two denominations that are in a fractional ratio (2.5:1).

Countries that have successfully eliminated their 5c coins all have pure decimal systems using 20c pieces instead of 25c coins. Unfortunately we blew that opportunity back in the 1870s. Between the quarter having been the workhorse coin for over a century, and this country’s resistance to anything that affects cherished traditions [/sarc], I doubt it would be possible to replace a coin that still lets us make change for Spanish milled dollars.

Plus unsaid in this story is that banknote production is also at a decade-long high … with half of that being wasted on $1 bills. But like getting rid of the cent, switching to $2 bills or coins to augment the existing supply of $1 coins would make too much sense to be accepted by the don’t-ever-change-anything crowd πŸ™

Vachon January 16, 2016 at 4:22 pm

They could cease production of the nickel, but it would also entail ceasing production on the quarter-dollar in favor of the half dollar which, for some reason, the public will not allow.

An alternative would be to eliminate the cent, nickel, AND dime to reflect inflation’s impact on the dollar but that’s also not going to happen.

Enjoy the status quo! πŸ™‚

Munzen January 16, 2016 at 8:06 pm

When Britain “went decimal” they started with 10p and 50p coins but didn’t have an intermediate denomination. Half-pounds circulated widely but people were so fed up with using handfuls of 10p coins that the Royal Mint had to create a 20p coin to simplify change-making. I was in London on the day the new coins entered circulation and you could almost feel the relief among shopkeepers.

But yeah, any rationalization of our coinage system is probably a vain hope. Except for their designs, our current coins would be quite familiar to someone from 150 years ago. (Plus we’re still measuring in ounces and inches too, but that’s for a very different thread….)

billymac11 January 20, 2016 at 11:06 am

What about mintage numbers for the circulation-quality San Francisco quarters? That’d be nice to know for 2015 and for the otherwise comprehensive historic tally above.

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