US Mint Coin Production in January Hits 1.5 Billion

by Mike Unser on February 12, 2016 · 7 comments

2016 Native American $1 Coins, US coins

The U.S. Mint in January produced over 1.5 billion coins. Of those, 4.9 million were 2016 Native American dollars featuring two helmets and two feathers that form a “V,” symbolizing victory, unity, and the important role that the code talkers played.

The amount of circulating coins produced in January for U.S. commerce was the highest in three months, newly released data from the United States Mint shows.

U.S. Mint figures also indicate a quick 2016 start for cent and dime production and likely ending mintages for 2016 Kennedy half-dollars and 2016 Native American $1 Coins.

Coining presses in the Philadelphia and Denver Mints struck more than 1.5 billion coins for circulation last month, representing a 114.2% increase from December and a 1.5% decline from a year earlier. December is normally a very soft production time for the U.S. Mint as the agency shifts gears for the coming year. January, conversely, is usually one of the better production months.

The following table offers monthly circulating coin production totals and their rankings over the past year.

2015 – 2016 January Coin Production Figures

Month Mintages Rank
January 2016 1,515.84 M 6
December 2015 707.79 M 13
November 2015 1,245.73 M 11
October 2015 1,757.64 M 1
September 2015 1,476.37 M 7
August 2015 1,142.46 M 12
July 2015 1,665.76 M 4
June 2015 1,673.95 M 3
May 2015 1,459.86 M 8
April 2015 1,696.56 M 2
March 2015 1,403.44 M 9
February 2015 1,277.96 M 10
January 2015 1,539.15 M 5


Pennies cost more to make and distribute than they’re worth (1.43 cents each in FY2015). Despite that, the Federal Reserve always orders more of them than any other denomination. The U.S. Mint struck 822.8 million cents in January, or 54.3% of the circulating-quality coins produced for the month. In year-over-year comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals:

  • Surged 23.5% for Lincoln cents,
  • Tumbled 27.5% for Jefferson nickels,
  • Advanced 8.3% for Roosevelt dimes, and
  • Declined 34% 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 continues to make them in circulating-quality for coin collectors.

In January, the U.S. Mint strikes half-dollars and Native American $1 Coins at the expected amounts needed for the entire year. Stronger-than-normal demand from collectors can result in more, as apparently happened last year when the Mint in March recorded additional 2015 Native American dollars. During the next few months, Presidential $1 Coins will be produced to support the last of the three designs.

To date, the U.S. Mint has released three 2016 coins with one-year-only designs. They include the:

Reported mintages for the 2016 Native American $1 Coin are 2.1 million from Denver and 2.8 million from Philadelphia for a combined 4.9 million coins. Last year’s dollar ended with splits of 2.24 million from Denver and the same 2.8 million from Philadelphia for 5.04 million coins.

Finalized mintages for the Shawnee quarter and Nixon dollar should be available next month.

Here’s a break down for all circulating-quality coins made by the U.S. Mint in January:

US Mint Circulating Coin Production in January 2016

Denomination Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 418,800,000 404,000,000 822,800,000
Jefferson Nickels 55,680,000 65,520,000 121,200,000
Roosevelt Dimes 122,000,000 107,500,000 229,500,000
2016 ATB Quarters 151,800,000 157,600,000 309,400,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 1,700,000 1,700,000 3,400,000
Native American $1s 2,100,000 2,800,000 4,900,000
Presidential Dollars 7,700,000 16,940,000 24,640,000
Total 759,780,000 756,060,000 1,515,840,000


In January, the Philadelphia Mint produced 756.06 million coins and the Denver Mint produced 759.78 million coins.

While unlikely, especially with typically low December totals and other monthly fluctuations mixed in, if the current production pace stretched through to the end of this year, 2016 annual mintages would reach nearly 18.2 billion coins. The U.S. Mint in 2015 struck just over 17 billion coins for circulation, marking a sixth straight year of growth and the quickest annual pace since the 2001 tally of 19.4 billion coins.

Coin production figures in this coin news article are based on data aggregated from the U.S. Mint webpage at:

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Seth Riesling February 12, 2016 at 10:08 am

Mike Unser –

Thanks for the compilation of data on coins issued by the U.S. Mint for circulation as ordered by the 12 Federal Reserve District banks. Your numerous stats and great analysis are always much appreciated for sure (mathematics was not my strong area of study at the University of Texas unfortunately.) The photo you used (either your own or a stock photo) shows 2 coin denominations no longer made for circulation (4 of the 8 coins in the photo) and doesn’t include a Jefferson 5-cent coin. Since this article is mostly about production figures for coins issued for circulation versus coins issued by the Mint’s numismatic program no longer issued for circulation (Presidential $1 coins, Native American $1coins & Kennedy half dollars) maybe a updated photo for these types of coins in your coin blog articles is warranted. I realize this may be a minor matter, but I bet you have some totally new collectors who find your interesting coin blog website & might not realize or understand the reasons that some of our coins are no longer made for circulation but are available for purchase in circulating quality from the Mint’s online website.
Thanks again for the time you put in on these important coin stats Mr. Unser!


Stewart February 12, 2016 at 10:02 pm

OM F*^&% God
822.8 million pennies in one month. This madness has to stop. I vow to throw each and every single penny I touch this year into the lake. Useless.

Stewart February 12, 2016 at 10:11 pm

$14810400 (1.8 cents to produce each) to produce $8228000 spending value of worthless circulation (not S mint), perhaps the Mint Set S/P items, but its just the January production. Don’t produce a single circulation penny for the rest of our lives and the US will not skip a beat.

Munzen February 12, 2016 at 10:16 pm

Somehow Congress has to be taken out of the decision loop. Any reasonable ideas for modernizing our currency fall victim to lobbying from the zinc industry and Crane Paper, abetted by state delegations that view anything affecting their native son on a coin or bill as an assault on The Republic itself.

Seth Riesling February 13, 2016 at 12:12 am

Munzen –

You have summed up my feelings on this crazy & costly circulating coin situation very concisely (for cents & 5-cent coins). But, as I am sure you are well aware of the fact that our USA Constitution gives only Congress full & total power over all coinage matters. What were the Founding Fathers thinking on that provision!? They would be shocked at the fact that we are losing money on every cent & 5-cent coin struck for many years now & cents especially seem to just disappear into the ether after they get into circulation (actually they don’t circulate & that is one major problem). The only solution is to get rid of the cent forever, but as you state basically Congress is beholden to Jarden Zinc Company & others for campaign donations, so I don’t see a bright future for this important matter. Maybe they could put Lincoln on a 2-cent or 3-cent cheaper multi-ply nickel-plated steel composition coin but they would probably screw up even that option. Just please get rid of the damn cent coin U.S. Congress!


Munzen February 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

Seth, you are absolutely correct! Behind my use of “somehow” was the knowledge that Congress would have to cede its power, either through legislation or a Constitutional amendment. IMO the Founders would be ashamed of the way something as lowly as the cent has become so politicized.

It’s conceivable that the Construction explicitly kept coinage authority out of the executive branch in reaction to the way some monarchs had fiddled their nations’ money. “Old Coppernose” comes to mind, for instance. (Of course, we now have zinc underneath copper….)

And finally we’re not only stuck with the “penny”, we can’t do anything about the nickel (à la New Zealand) either because eliminating it would monkey-wrench making change for the quarter. I guess so long as we have “pennies” we might as well stay compatible with Spanish milled dollars, too. Sigh.

RonnieBGood February 13, 2016 at 9:26 pm

How many of us have a large bag, box or jar of coins at home? Now multiply that by all US households. Part of the problem with coins are that banks make it very difficult to deposit anything more than a hand full coins. At most banks & credit union’s a coin counter must be used and a 10% fee is charged /deducted from the deposit for counting the coins! Wouldn’t it reduce the need for large new mintages a bit by allowing larger coin change deposits for free once a month on a slower day/time?

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