"Things are slow all over." That’s a saying you hear a lot in this economy, and it can certainly be applied to the latest 2009 annual coin production figures released by the United States Mint.
US Mint 2009 Production Figures by Coin Design
|Formative Years Cent||363,600,000||376,000,000||739,600,000|
|Professional Life Cent||336,000,000||316,000,000||652,000,000|
|Puerto Rico Quarter||86,000,000||53,200,000||139,200,000|
|American Samoa Quarter||39,600,000||42,600,000||82,200,000|
|U.S. Virgin Islands Quarter||41,000,000||41,000,000||82,000,000|
|Northern Mariana Islands Quarter||37,600,000||35,200,000||72,800,000|
|Kennedy Half Dollar||1,900,000||1,900,000||3,800,000|
|Native American $1||33,880,000||37,380,000||71,260,000|
|Harrison Presidential $1||55,160,000||43,260,000||98,420,000|
|Tyler Presidential $1||43,540,000||43,540,000||87,080,000|
|Polk Presidential $1||41,720,000||46,620,000||88,340,000|
|Taylor Presidential $1||36,680,000||41,580,000||78,260,000|
According to the US Mint, a dismal 3,548,000,000 circulating 2009-dated coins were struck last year. That is the lowest mintages in decades. Of that number, roughly 1.83 billion were produced at the Mint’s facility in Denver and 1.72 billion in Philadelphia.
With the country still deep in a recession through all of last year, unemployment grew from 7.7% in January of 2009 to 10% by the end of the year — a mark not attained since the early 80’s. As more people were out of work and those still employed tried their best to hold onto their money, retail sales plummeted. As transactions declined, so did the need for change. Further, masses of people were scrounging their homes for every last coin to help pay bills. Old coins quickly found their way into circulation, with inventories building up at banks. They, in turn, ordered fewer new coins.
Comparing 2009 with 2008 mintages tells the story. The Mint experienced a 6,593,580,000 (or 65%) decline in unit production last year.
Nine new circulating coin designs made their debut last year, but those were not enough to increase demand by any significant amount. The new designs included five new quarters as part of the D.C. and U.S. Territories Program (including the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands) as well as four new Lincoln cents celebrating the bicentennial of his birthday (including the Birthplace cent, Formative Years cent, Professional Life cent and the Presidency cent).
Just looking at the production figures for the Lincoln cent alone tells a sad story. Collector’s sought the coins at records levels, but daily circulating demand sunk. The four new designs only resulted in a total production of 2.354 billion cents for 2009. (See 2009 Lincoln Cent Mintages.)
By contrast, in 2008 when the Mint was still striking the familiar Lincoln Memorial design as it had been doing since 1959, the Philadelphia Mint struck 2.5696 billion individual cents itself with the Denver Mint adding another 2.8496 billion.
The two hardest hit coins were the Jefferson nickel and the Roosevelt dime. Both saw 2009 production at a mere 14% of what it had been in 2008. In fact, the Mint announced that it suspended production of those two denominations in April due to the lackluster demand. (See US Mint Halts 2009 Nickels and Dimes Production.)
The first set of production figures released for 2010 will be very telling on how this year will proceed.
The latest US Mint figures may be found at: http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/coin_production/index.cfm?action=production_figures