The latest US Mint figures show a massive production decline for circulating 2009 quarters as compared to ANY of the state quarters minted from 1999-2008. Or, for that matter, quarters issued from many more years past.
2009 Quarter Production Figures
|District of Columbia||88,800,000||83,600,000||172,400,000|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||0||0||0|
|Northern Mariana Islands||0||0||0|
2009 Total Quarter Production: 399,200,000
Of all the 50 state quarters, the 2008 Oklahoma quarter fell at the bottom with a circulating mintage of 416.6 million. (In contrast, the 2000 Virginia quarter came in at a whopping 1.6 billion.) The DC and Puerto Rico mintages combined is 311.4 million, which is less than Oklahoma’s.
Why are quarter production levels declining? The economic recession is a major factor. In difficult times, the public rarely hoards coins. Loose change is placed back into circulation. Local bank coin inventories rise, and fewer orders are placed at Federal Reserve Banks. That, in turn, signals the US Mint to decrease production.
It is also worth noting that the US Mint will release six quarters this year as part of the 2009 DC and US Territories Program. During the ten year 50 State Quarters® Program, only five quarters were issued each year. As such, an apple-to-apple comparison should not be made. Excluding demand factors, it is natural for specific 2009 quarter mintages to be lower than any single state quarter. Clearly, however, this is just a small factor.
For collectors, what may be most intriguing is comparing quarter mintages from Philadelphia and Denver. Only 53 million circulating Puerto Rico quarters from Philadelphia were struck. That is extremely low compared to past quarters from either Mint facility.
"That is the lowest total since 1962. So there is some basis for me to feel like a kid again." Numismatic News editor Dave Harper wrote on observing the Puerto Rico mintage figures.
Will the declining trend continue? As the country steps out of the recession and years later looks back at the numbers, more than one collector may be happy they had grabbed and kept a couple of the circulating 2009 quarters for their collection.
The Mint is currently selling bags and rolls of Puerto Rico quarters from Denver and Philadelphia.
[Editor’s note: This article was updated to include Guam quarter production figures.]