U.S. Coin Production Tops 1.79 Billion in January

by Mike Unser on February 28, 2017 · 9 comments

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The U.S. Mint in January produced nearly 1.8 billion coins

U.S. Mint production jumped in January with the agency’s facilities in Philadelphia and Denver striking more than 1.79 billion coins for circulation, the second most for a month than in any since at least 2007 when CoinNews started tracking the data.

The production pace soared 157% from December and advanced 18.1% from the same month a year earlier. Here’s how the month stacks up against others in the past year

2016 – 2017 January Coin Production Figures

Month Mintages Rank
January 2017 1,790.30 M 2
December 2016 696.68 M 13
November 2016 976.04 M 11
October 2016 1,297.36 M 10
September 2016 1,573.70 M 4
August 2016 1,302.95 M 9
July 2016 1,807.20 M 1
June 2016 1,582.06 M 3
May 2016 1,550.12 M 5
April 2016 1,339.06 M 8
March 2016 1,446.14 M 7
February 2016 930.26 M 12
January 2016 1,515.84 M 6

 

The Federal Reserve always orders more 1-cent coins than any other denomination even as it costs the U.S. Mint 1.5 cents to make and distribute each one. The bureau struck a combined 1.076 billion Lincoln cents in January, representing 60.1% of the circulating-quality coins produced for the month.

P-Mint Cents Change

Of note, circulating cents from the Philadelphia Mint have a ‘P’ mint mark for the very first time. This is a one-year-only embellishment. The letter was added for 2017 as a part of the celebration of the U.S. Mint’s 225th anniversary. There were 515.2 million P-Mint cents made in January.

Year-Over-Year

Comparing month-over-month changes offers little value in this round of data since December is traditionally a very weak month for production. In year-over-year comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals:

  • Jumped 30.8% for Lincoln cents,
  • Soared 45.9% for Jefferson nickels,
  • Surged 40.7% for Roosevelt dimes, and
  • Declined 32.9% for America the Beautiful Quarters.

Native American $1 Coins and Kennedy half-dollars are no longer ordered by Federal Reserve Banks but they are still made in circulating-quality for coin collectors. In January, the U.S. Mint tends to strike both coins to the expected amounts needed for the entire year. Higher-than-expected demand can result in more being made, and that has happened in the past.

To date, the U.S. Mint has released two 2017 coins with one-year-only designs. They include the:

Reported mintages for the 2017 Native American dollars are 1.54 million from Denver and 1.68 million from Philadelphia for a combined 3.22 million coins. Last year’s release ended with splits of 2.1 million from Denver and 2.8 million from Philadelphia for 4.90 million coins.

Finalized mintages for Iowa’s Effigy Mounds quarter should be available by March or April.

Here’s a summary of all circulating-quality coins produced last month:

US Mint Circulating Coin Production in January 2017

Denomination Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 560,800,000 515,200,000 1,076,000,000
Jefferson Nickels 94,320,000 82,560,000 176,880,000
Roosevelt Dimes 164,500,000 158,500,000 323,000,000
2016 ATB Quarters 93,200,000 114,400,000 207,600,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 1,800,000 1,800,000 3,600,000
Native American $1s 1,540,000 1,680,000 3,220,000
Total 916,160,000 874,140,000 1,790,300,000

 

In January, the Philadelphia Mint struck 874.14 million coins and the Denver Mint produced 916.16 million coins. Their combined 1.79 billion total is the most since the 1.807 billion coins came out of presses in July.

While unlikely, especially with December’s likely low figures mixed in, if the current production pace stretched through to the end of this year, 2017 annual mintages would reach almost 21.5 billion coins. Last year, the U.S. Mint produced over 16 billion coins for circulation. It registered as the second quickest for a year since 2001, after the more than 17 billion coins were made in 2015.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Stewart February 28, 2017 at 8:25 pm

1 Billion pennies made in January, STOP THE MADNESS, don’t make another…..ever. 3 for everybody in the US, in January alone…..none of which will ever be spent, just given out in change and then put in a sock draw or dropped in the store “need a penny bucket”.

Munzen March 1, 2017 at 9:08 pm

The zinc lobby and the Illinois delegation will make sure that we’re the last country on earth to mint pennies. Crane Paper and the “don’t change anything I grew up with, ever” crowd will do the same for $1 bills.

Half of the Treasury’s output is taken up with those two wasteful denominations, but vested interests and inertial will guarantee that the folly continues….

jim March 2, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Preaching to the choir here.
Amen!

Vachon March 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I wonder why the Mint didn’t bother to make 1992-P cents for the more sensible 200th anniversary of the Mint? Though I suspect celebrating the 225th anniversary in this way suggests the Mint does not believe the cent will still be around for 2042 (another more sensible anniversary).

jim March 3, 2017 at 12:30 pm

What the mint thinks doesn’t matter (especially with the SES seat warmers they’ve got there these days) – it’s Congress that makes the decisions about the penny and $1 bill futures.

Seth Riesling March 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Munzen & jim –

Amen my numismatic brothers!
The only thing we “lowly” citizens can do is make sure we stay in constant contact with our US congressional representatives by email, telephone & old-fashioned letters sent by snail mail. I contact my Washington DC “seat warmers” in Congress a few times a year about this situation in hopes that someone with true common sense will see the asinine situation & tune out the zinc lobby & “paper” lobby & get rid of the cent & $1 FRN.
I am writing to Trump (I don’t use Twitter! LOL) by email & letter to let him know about this shameful situation in hopes that his business-oriented mind will make a change. I didn’t vote for him, but he is all for thinking outside the box in strange ways & seems to be fighting the entrenched DC establishment & that is a good thing.

-NumisDudeTX

jim March 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm

I wrote to Treasury Sec Lew about the appalling lack of competence in the mint’s SES management (i.e. Jeppson) but all Lew did was pass the letter on to Jeppson who then had a minion respond (apparently he didn’t know what to say himself) a further demonstration of his incompetence. Luckily he was forced to resign once Trump was inaugurated.
David Motl who has prison management experience and mint financial experience is now the guy in charge, Prison and finance, two fields of experience I know are desperately needed for a manager of a manufacturing facility. But that fits Trump’s style so no surprise there.

Seth Riesling March 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm

jim –

Just remember what President Harry S. Truman said, “The White House is the finest prison in the country.” I think Trump is finding that out very quickly! LOL
Will be very interesting to see who he nominates for US Mint Director & if the Senate will just rubber stamp his selection automatically.

-NumisDudeTX

jim March 5, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Whoever it is we can only hope that he will actually manage the mint, give us a full year schedule instead of monthly dribbles and lobby congress to get rid of the penny.

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