U.S. Mint Produces 3.8 Billion Coins in First Quarter 2019

by Mike Unser on April 25, 2019 · 1 comment

US Lincoln cents

The United States Mint produced over 3.8 billion coins in the first quarter of 2019. Nearly 2.2 billion of them were Lincoln cents.

The United States Mint produced more than 3.8 billion coins for circulation during the first three months this year, rebounding from last year’s first quarterly pace which hit a four-year low.

In the headline figure for March, U.S. coining presses in Philadelphia and Denver struck over 1.05 billion coins, marking a 16% decline from February but a 16.8% increase from March 2018. Here’s how the month ranks against others in the past year:

March 2018 to March 2019 Circulating Coin Production

Month Mintages Rank
March 2019 1,054.90 M 7
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

 

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 590.4 million Lincoln cents in March, representing 56% 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 March declined by:

  • 16.6% for Lincoln cents,
  • 11.2% for Jefferson nickels,
  • 15.5% for Roosevelt dimes, and
  • 18% 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.

That said, 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 added 140,000.

Mintages for the 2019 Kennedy half-dollar remained the same for a second straight month, 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 March 2019

Denomination Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cents 370,400,000 220,000,000 590,400,000
Jefferson Nickels 61,000,000 52,800,000 113,800,000
Roosevelt Dimes 127,000,000 82,500,000 209,500,000
ATB Quarters 92,800,000 48,400,000 141,200,000
Kennedy Half Dollars 0 0 0
Native American $1s 0 0 0
Total 651,200,000 403,700,000 1,054,900,000

 

U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia manufacture all of America’s coins for commerce. Last month, the Philadelphia Mint produced 403.7 million coins and the Denver Mint made 651.2 million coins.

In first quarter 2019, the Denver Mint struck 1,956,420,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint struck 1,861,880,000 coins for a combined 3,818,300,000 coins — 6.9% more than the 3,570,974,000 coins minted in first quarter 2018.

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 1130.4M 181.48M 359.5M 281.8M 1.7M 1.54M 1956.42M
Philadelphia 1061.6M 197.28M 377.5M 222.4M 1.7M 1.4M 1861.88M
Total 2192M 378.76M 737M 504.2M 3.4M 2.94M 3818.3M

 

If the current production pace stretched through to December, the annual 2019 mintage total would reach 15.2 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 three annually issued coins with one-year-only designs. They include:

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 1,130,400,000 1,061,600,000 2,192,000,000
Jefferson Nickels 181,480,000 197,280,000 378,760,000
Roosevelt Dimes 359,500,000 377,500,000 737,000,000
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 1,762,420,000 1,723,080,000 3,485,500,000

 

There are 332.8 million in quarters that the U.S. Mint has yet to officially assign to a design. These are likely American Memorial Park quarters that started circulating this month.

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Can the mint just unilaterally stop making one-cent coins? By my reckoning there must be about 350 billion of them made only just since 1982 (lets exclude the 95% copper ones made before that) – that’s about 1000 for every person in the US. I think that should be enough.