US Mint Coin Production Tops 1.6 Billion in January

by Mike Unser on February 27, 2018 · 22 comments

US Coins

The United States Mint produced over 1.6 billion coins in January

United States Mint production facilities in Philadelphia and Denver picked up their pace in January.

Over 1.6 billion in cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars and dollars came from U.S. Mint coining presses last month, marking a 109.9% increase from December but a 10.5% decline from January 2017.

Here’s how the month compares against others in the past year:

January 2017 to January 2018 Circulating Coin Production

Month Mintages Rank
January 2018 1,601.54 M 2
December 2017 762.86 M 13
November 2017 1,346.26 M 5
October 2017 1,423.54 M 4
September 2017 1,316.22 M 6
August 2017 1,167.48 M 9
July 2017 1,254.74 M 7
June 2017 1,252.88 M 8
May 2017 1,156.34 M 10
April 2017 959.54 M 12
March 2017 1,445.8 M 3
February 2017 983.40 M 11
January 2017 1,790.30 M 1


The Federal Reserve always orders more 1-cent coins than any other denomination even as it costs the U.S. Mint 1.82 cents to make and distribute each one. The bureau struck more than 1 billion Lincoln cents in January, representing 62.7% of the circulating-quality coins produced for the month.


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 declined by:

  • 6.6% for Lincoln cents,
  • 14.4% for Jefferson nickels,
  • 21.7% for Roosevelt dimes, and
  • 11% for America the Beautiful quarter dollars.

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.

Reported mintages for the 2018 Kennedy half-dollars are 2.2 million from Denver and 1.8 million from Philadelphia for a combined 4 million coins. Last year’s release ended with splits of 2.9 million from Denver and 1.8 million from Philadelphia for a combined 4.7 million coins

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

Finalized mintages for Pictured Rocks quarter should be available by March or April.

Reported mintages for the 2018 Native American dollars are 2.1 million from Denver and 1.4 million from Philadelphia for a combined 3.5 million coins. Last year’s release ended with splits of 1.54 million from Denver and 1.82 million from Philadelphia for 3.36 million coins.

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

US Mint Circulating Coin Production in January 2018

Denomination Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 476,400,000 528,400,000 1,004,800,000
Jefferson Nickels 78,000,000 73,440,000 151,440,000
Roosevelt Dimes 116,500,000 136,500,000 253,000,000
ATB Quarters 95,200,000 89,600,000 184,800,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 2,200,000 1,800,000 4,000,000
Native American $1s 2,100,000 1,400,000 3,500,000
Total 770,400,000 831,140,000 1,601,540,000


In January, the Philadelphia Mint struck 770.4 million coins and the Denver Mint made 831.14 million coins. Their about 1.6 billion total is the most since the nearly 1.807 billion coins came from coining presses in January 2017.

If the current production pace stretched through to the end of this year, 2018 annual mintages would reach over 19.2 billion coins. Last year, the U.S. Mint produced over 14.8 billion coins for circulation. It registered as the third quickest for a year since 2001, after the more than 16 billion coins were made in 2017 and the over 17 billion coins were made in 2015.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Old Collector February 27, 2018 at 9:50 am

Almost twice as many Lincoln cents minted as all the other denominations of circulating coins put together…and this for a coin we have no practical use for anymore!
To top it all off, the U.S. Mint now loses .82 cents on each and every one of those Lincoln cents that it makes. I wonder…how much longer will the powers that be continue to make such a useless coin at such a big loss?

Joe C. February 27, 2018 at 11:07 am

Old collector,
They make up the difference by raising the prices of collector coins and medals. So they really don’t care.

chuck February 27, 2018 at 11:45 am

They will continue to mint the $.01 until/ unless they want to admit a penny’s value is not what it used to be. They have delayed by changing it’s make up before so maybe they can change it to their “hot air”. No shortage or cost to that.

Old Collector February 27, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Joe C.,
That may be a solution for the Mint, but one that results in a sad turn of events for us. It’s too bad that we clearly lack the sufficient financial and/or political clout to be able to do anything at all about it.

Joe C. February 27, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Old collector,
You are right about that. Have a GOOD day.

Mouse February 27, 2018 at 12:57 pm

My Canadian mint (RCM) deleted production of the penny in 2012. It was the best decision they could have made as tax dollars to produce the coin had and were being wasted. The numismatic coin division has been taking a bath – substantial loss of monies for years and is not designed to make any attempt to float the inflated cost of manufacturing circulation coins. All of these departments (circulation / bullion / numismatic / departments run independently, as I am sure they do as well in the USA. You cannot take from Peter to pay Paul. When tax dollars are being lost / mis-managed – decisions need to be made fast – to either correct the issue or immediately stop production. Its our money, not theirs.


Old Collector February 27, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Or, the U.S. Mint can just hand the production of cents over to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and we’ll get used to making do with paper penny bills from now on! 🙂

Sullivan9791 February 27, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Hey all,
Just remember the US Mint made a whole lot od Seigniorage year. Ending up with $391.5 Million in profits, so the penny doesn’t cost us tax players one cent .

Tinto February 27, 2018 at 3:47 pm

The Mint only made their $391 + million on the dimes and quarters … both the penny and nickle were losers ..

Munzen February 27, 2018 at 4:55 pm

I’m not sure how coinage decisions are made in Canada but here in the US nearly everything has to run a gantlet of private interests with big lobbying power and hundreds of congressional members each with their own little agendas. Even something as simple as a coin’s design gets batted around like a volleyball. About 20 years ago the Mint wanted to change the design of the nickel to honor the Lewis and Clark expedition bicentennial in 2003. The Virginia congressional delegation tied the process in knots because – they claimed – they were concerned that the new designs might ‘dishonor’ Thomas Jefferson. The delay was so long that the actual anniversary was missed; the new coins came out a year late – and only the reverse was changed.

Today the zinc lobby and the Illinois delegation expend all sorts of efforts to maintain cent production, and the company with the monopoly contract to make the special paper for $1 bills fight tooth and nail to prevent that denomination’s replacement with the billions of $1 coins we have sitting in storage. I expect my great-grandchildren, if they ever exist, will still be using Lincoln cents and spending dollar bills with a 1928 design (as well as SAE units, but that’s not a topic for this board!)

Mouse February 27, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Holy smokes Munzen, what a bureaucratic nightmare and a waste of hard working Americans tax dollars. The Canadian government will declare a coin or bill (sometimes allowing Canadians to vote on who they want on a bill) than it is sent to the mint. The mint does the rest. Design and right to

Seems to me that members of your government have a pretty sweet job. A whole lot of debate and nothing gets done. If it ran like any business it would go into receivership and bankruptcy fast. Sad thing, its wasted tax dollars that could be used for many other things.

I guess no system is perfect and change, especially dealing with any government, takes generations to change. Such as life.


Old Collector February 28, 2018 at 6:07 am


Actually, the production of the cent coinage does cost the American taxpayer, not in expenses/outlay per se but in lost general (Treasury) fund revenue. The value of the accumulated seigniorage declines year after year due to the increasing gap between the higher actual cost of making the cent and the nickel as opposed to the lower at-face-value return the Mint realizes for those two coins via their purchase by the Federal Reserve. The result of this disparity is that the entire “profit” the Mint is able to (as required by law) deposit in the Treasury’s general fund annually to help offset the national debt inevitably ends up becoming an ever-smaller contribution.

Old Collector February 28, 2018 at 6:24 am


You hit the nail right on its proverbial head. I don’t know how it works in Canada, but here in the U.S.A. congressmen and senators seem to spend more time and effort on getting re-elected than on their appointed national concerns and issues. This is also why our government has become so outrageously expensive to maintain; the so-called “representatives of the people” are willing to sell out the taxpayer – and effectively themselves – to their regular benefactors to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in return for receiving what are effectively relatively paltry campaign contributions in exchange. What is has come to is that we now have a government that has been neatly bought at a fire sale bargain price by the ever-richer 2% after being fully paid for courtesy of punitive levels of taxation by the ever-more-struggling middle class.

Old Collector February 28, 2018 at 6:30 am


Bingo and ditto on that. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that if things at the Mint continue the way they are, that current seigniorage will eventually instead become a deficit. By law the U.S. Mint cannot take money from the Treasury to fund its operations, so if the very possible aforementioned calamity occurs, what happens then?

Old Collector February 28, 2018 at 10:09 am

Oh gosh, I’ll just answer my own query. Bailout! 😉

billymac11 February 28, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Unlikely to eliminate the one cent piece for all the many reasons discussed. But, couldn’t we take a one-year holiday from minting 8 billion one use-only cents (many are likely only used once, then put in a change jar somewhere) and satisfy commerce’s need for a cent by reusing all the ones already out there?

Old Collector March 1, 2018 at 12:12 pm

On its own that is a brilliant idea, but try to get everyone to empty their piggy banks to get all those stashed-away cents into general circulation and the immense gap between the wish and the reality of it will show itself more than clearly.

Joe C. March 1, 2018 at 1:13 pm

They could reduce the size of the cent to where the mint would break even. Also, it would take up less space in the junk drawer.

Old Collector March 1, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Joe C.

The problem with that suggestion is that each year as inflation raised the metal prices the coin would have to get smaller and smaller until eventually it just completely disappeared. Holy cow, I think we’ve just hit upon the solution!

Joe C. March 1, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Old Collector,
Hurrah! You got that right. Can’t you just see the half dollar the size of a dime?

Vachon March 1, 2018 at 6:21 pm

I suspect the fate of the cent will be abandonment. I don’t think it’ll be officially abolished. More like, over a span of time, more and more businesses will stop ordering the coins for whatever reason and production will drop until it’s little more than like the Kennedy halves: made generally for collectors.

Old Collector March 1, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Joe C,
And a quarter that looks like a silver sequin. @ < 25 cents

That'll work. Kudos.

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