US Mint annual coin production shot higher in 2010 after circulating coin mintages plunged to the lowest point in decades during the previous year.
2010 levels were still significantly lower than those from 2008, however, when the American recession began to earnestly kick-in and cut the demand for circulating change.
The United States Mint produced nearly 6.4 billion coins for circulation last year, marking an increase of more than 2.8 billion, or 79.6 percent, over the 3.548 billion coins minted in 2009.
2009 vs. 2010 Annual Coin Production
|2010 Unit Gain / Loss||2010 % Gain / Loss|
|Kennedy Half Dollars||-300,000||-7.9%|
|Native American $1||9,520,000||13.4%|
Perhaps the biggest revelation for the year is the mintage drop for 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters® as compared to 2009 DC & US Territories Quarters. Coin production also declined for Kennedy Half Dollar and Presidential $1 coins, but those changes as well as the coins with gains are easier to quantify.
Production of smaller coins — the penny through quarter — is driven entirely by economic demand. While all coins suffered mintage declines in 2009, the US Mint stopped producing nickels and dimes for most of the year as the Federal Reserve did not place new orders for them. Their production figures fell to levels not seen in decades. It makes sense that those two denominations could be most affected when coinage demand picks up, as it did.
For several years, half dollars have not been placed into circulation but instead sold directly by the US Mint in rolls and bags to coin collectors. Ted Kennedy’s passing on August 25, 2009, drew worldwide attention to the Kennedy family history and collector demand for the 50c pieces increased slightly during the year as a result. In 2010, Kennedy Half Dollar production returned toward their 2008 level.
Dollar coins are more variable and their mintages are not strictly determined by transactional needs around the nation. For example, whether there is demand for them or not, current law requires that not less than 20% of the total number of $1 coins minted each year be Native American $1’s.
On a monthly basis, production in December was the slowest of the year. This is typical as the US Mint during the final month of any year is transitioning to produce newly dated inventory for the next year. As a larger example, the Mint reported no gains during December 2009.
Coin Production by Month
|218.41 M||194.40 M||384.42 M||451.96 M||657.22 M|
|918.94 M||772.08 M||743.78 M||690.02 M||730.22 M||531.46 M||80.200 M|
The total number of Lincoln cents struck in Philadelphia was actually cut by 6.8 million in the latest round of figures. That is an infrequent event. The biggest gainers in December were cents from Denver, rising by 64.4 million.
December US Mint 2010 Coin Production
|Kennedy Half Dollars||0||0||0|
|Native American $1s||5,740,000||0||5,740,000|
As the above table highlights, the US Mint in Philadelphia was inactive for 2010 coinage in December. For reference, the following table breaks out the mintage figures by coin design and denomination.
2010 Annual Coin Production by Design
|Hot Springs National Park Quarters||34,000,000||35,600,000||69,600,000|
|Yellowstone National Park Quarters||34,800,000||33,600,000||68,400,000|
|Yosemite National Park Quarters||34,800,000||35,200,000||70,000,000|
|Grand Canyon National Park||35,400,000||34,800,000||70,200,000|
|Mount Hood Park Quarters||34,400,000||34,400,000||68,800,000|
|Kennedy Half Dollars||1,700,000||1,800,000||3,500,000|
|Native American $1||48,720,000||32,060,000||80,780,000|
|Fillmore Presidential $1||36,960,000||37,520,000||74,480,000|
|Pierce Presidential $1||38,360,000||38,220,000||76,580,000|
|Buchanan Presidential $1||36,540,000||36,820,000||73,360,000|
|Lincoln Presidential $1||48,020,000||49,000,000||97,020,000|
The US Mint has not officially stated the ending mintages for the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters, still indicating the final results will be "issued in January 2011." However, the above quarter figures have remained unchanged for a second straight month.