U.S. Mint Makes 1.25 Billion Coins in February; Lowell Quarter Mintage Released

by Mike Unser on March 25, 2019 · 2 comments

2019-P Lowell National Historical Park Quarter

A CoinNews photo of a 2019-P Lowell National Historical Park Quarter

U.S. coin production slowed in February but held above one billion coins for a second month in a row and was quicker than a year ago, according to the latest manufacturing figures from the United States Mint.

Mint figures also revealed mintages for Massachusetts’ Lowell quarter, the first of this year’s five quarters with unique designs.

More than 1.25 billion coins spread across cents, nickels, dimes, and quarters were struck for circulation last month, driving the year-to-date total to over 2.7 billion coins.

In headline comparisons, the amount of circulating coins produced in February dropped 16.7% from January but jumped 17.8% from February 2018. Here’s how the month ranks against others in the past year:

February 2018 to February 2019 Circulating Coin Production

Month Mintages Rank
February 2019 1,256.10 M 5
January 2019 1,507.30 M 1
December 2018 560.64 M 13
November 2018 1,031.24 M 8
October 2018 1,382.18 M 3
September 2018 976.82 M 9
August 2018 831.56 M 12
July 2018 1,403.16 M 2
June 2018 1,198.34 M 6
May 2018 1,291.76 M 4
April 2018 878.74 M 11
March 2018 902.924 M 10
February 2018 1,066.51 M 7

 

The Federal Reserve always orders more 1-cent coins than any other denomination even with the latest available data showing it costs the U.S. Mint 1.82 cents to make and distribute each one. The bureau produced 707.6 million Lincoln cents in February, representing 58% of the circulating-quality coins produced for the month.

Month-Over-Month

In month-over month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in February fell by:

  • 20.9% for Lincoln cents,
  • 6.3% for Jefferson nickels,
  • 11.3% for Roosevelt dimes, and
  • 9.7% 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 finish for coin collectors. In January, the U.S. Mint tends to strike both coins to the expected amounts needed for the entire year.

But after saying that, the bureau’s data for February did show an increase of 140,000 in 2019-D Native American dollars. Reported mintages for the space-themed piece are now at 1.54 million for Denver and 1.4 million for Philadelphia for a combined 2.94 million coins — up from last year’s dollar mintages by the just added 140,000.

Mintages for the 2019 Kennedy half-dollar remained the same, totaling 3.4 million coins with equal splits between the Denver and Philadelphia Mints. Last year’s half-dollar was the most produced since the one from 2001. It saw 6.1 million from Denver and 4.8 million from Philadelphia for a combined 10.9 million coins.

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

US Mint Circulating Coin Production in February 2019

Denomination Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 335,200,000 372,400,000 707,600,000
Jefferson Nickels 55,200,000 72,960,000 128,160,000
Roosevelt Dimes 105,500,000 142,500,000 248,000,000
ATB Quarters 88,600,000 83,600,000 172,200,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 0 0 0
Native American $1s 140,000 0 140,000
Total 584,640,000 671,460,000 1,256,100,000

 

U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia manufacture all of America’s coins for commerce. Last month, the Philadelphia Mint struck 671.46 million coins and the Denver Mint made 584.64 million coins.

In the January to February period, the Denver Mint struck 1,305,220,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint made 1,458,180,000 coins. Their combined year-to-date total rose by 2,763,400,000 coins, which is 3.6% more than the 2,668,050,000 coins minted during the first two months of last year.

This next table lists 2019 coin production totals by denomination and by U.S. Mint facility:

YTD 2019 Circulating Coin Production by Denomination

1 ¢ 5 ¢ 10 ¢ 25 ¢ 50 ¢ N.A. $1 Total:
Denver 760M 120.48M 232.5M 189M 1.7M 1.54M 1305.22M
Philadelphia 841.6M 144.48M 295M 174M 1.7M 1.4M 1458.18M
Total 1601.6M 264.96M 527.5M 363M 3.4M 2.94M 2763.4M

 

If the current production pace stretched through to December, the annual mintage for 2019 would near 16.6 billion coins. The Mint made over 13.1 billion coins for circulation in 2018.

Mintages by Unique Design

So far, the U.S. Mint has released two annually issued coins with one-year-only designs. They include the 2019 Lowell National Historical quarter for Massachusetts, released on Feb. 4, and the 2019 Native American $1 Coin, released on Feb. 13.

As mentioned earlier, Lowell quarter mintages were reported for the first time. They registered at 87.8 million from Denver and 83.6 million from Philadelphia for a combined 171.4 million. If unchanged, this would mark the lowest mintage total for a quarter in the series since issues from 2012.

The following table offers a breakdown of this year’s mintages by coin design:

2019 Circulating Coin Production by Design

  Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 760,000,000 841,600,000 1,601,600,000
Jefferson Nickels 120,480,000 144,480,000 264,960,000
Roosevelt Dimes 232,500,000 295,000,000 527,500,000
Lowell National Historical Park Quarter (MA) 87,800,000 83,600,000 171,400,000
American Memorial Park Quarter (MP)
War in the Pacific National Historical Park Quarter (GU)
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Quarter (TX)
Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Quarter (ID)
Kennedy Half-Dollars 1,700,000 1,700,000 3,400,000
Native American $1 Coins 1,540,000 1,400,000 2,940,000
Total 1,204,020,000 1,367,780,000 2,571,800,000

 

There are 191.6 million in quarters that the U.S. Mint has yet to officially assign to a design. These are likely a portion of Northern Mariana Islands’ American Memorial Park quarters scheduled to launch into circulation on April 1.

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It literally does not make sense to make cents. Can we stop making them other than for the various coin sets?

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sam tweedy

Pennies make the world go around. If you shop at Publix in Florida you better not be short a penny,you will not get your groceries!!!??