United States Mint annual coin production climbed higher last year, marking a second straight yearly advance. The United States Mint produced over 8.2 billion coins for circulation in 2011, which was an increase of more than 1.8 billion, or 28.7 percent, from the nearly 6.4 billion coins minted in 2010.
Leading gains were Jefferson nickels which soared higher 101.9 percent and Roosevelt dimes which shot up 34.2 percent. In unit totals, almost 500 million more nickels and 383 million more dimes were struck than in 2010. Lincoln cents notably improved by more than 927.7 million, or 23.1 percent.
Not all coins surpassed their previous annual mintages, however. Kennedy half dollars fell 1.4 percent, Native American $1 coins dropped 4.0 percent and Presidential $1 coins declined 7.5%. Dollar mintages will plummet much further in 2012 due to the Treasury’s decision in December to stop circulating $1 coin production. This year, new Presidential $1 coins will be minted only for coin collectors — the same as has been the case for Kennedy half dollars since 2001. Their mintages as a result will spiral south to millions instead of the hundreds of millions seen in past years.
For reference, how 2011 stacks up to 2010 on a per coin basis is shown in the following table:
2010 vs. 2011 Annual Coin Production
|2011 Unit Gain / Loss||2011 % Gain / Loss|
|Kennedy Half Dollars||3,500,000||3,450,000||-50,000||-1.4%|
|Native American $1||80,780,000||77,560,000||-3,220,000||-4.0%|
While coin collectors prefer lower mintage coins as they are scarcer, the higher levels of pennies through quarters may be good news for more Americans. Consistent production increases in smaller coinage is often seen an indicator of an improving economy.
The flip side of this was realized in 2009 when annual coin production plunged to a total of just 3.548 billion coins — 4.65+ billion less than 2011. As daily transactions declined that year, so did the need for coins. Further, masses of people tapped into their hoarded home change to help pay bills. In a reversal of the typical supply process, older coins quickly found their way into circulation and eventually stacked up in local banks. The banks, in turn, cut orders for newly dated coins as rising inventories were enough to fulfill an already lower demand. Due to a lack of orders, the United States Mint actually stopped producing 2009 nickels and dimes for most of the year.
For a deeper look at how many coins the United States Mint struck last year, the following table offers an annual break out by coin type and design.
US Mint 2011 Annual Coin Production / Mintages by Design
|Gettysburg Park Quarter||30,400,000||30,800,000||61,200,000|
|Glacier Park Quarter||31,200,000||30,400,000||61,600,000|
|Olympic Park Quarter||30,600,000||30,400,000||61,000,000|
|Kennedy Half Dollars||1,700,000||1,750,000||3,450,000|
|Native American $1||48,160,000||29,400,000||77,560,000|
|Johnson Presidential $1||37,100,000||35,560,000||72,660,000|
|Grant Presidential $1||37,940,000||38,080,000||76,020,000|
|Rutherford B. Hayes $1||36,820,000||37,660,000||74,480,000|
|Garfield Presidential $1||37,100,000||37,100,000||74,200,000|
Coins that are struck for circulation are produced in either the United States Mint facility in Denver or the one in Philadelphia. In terms of circulating coins, the Denver Mint, at over 4.2 billion coins, was busier than the Philadelphia Mint, which came up short of 4 billion coins. Usually the annual levels between facilities are a bit closer together.
Note the quarter totals above. The five 25-cent pieces account for all of the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters. In the second year of issue, their mintages totaled to 391,200,000 as compared to the debuting quarters in 2010 with combined mintages of 347,000,000. The quarter production rate last year was actually on pace to fall from the previous year until the United States Mint cranked out 143.2 million Chickasaw quarters, more than double the amount of any preciously issued America the Beautiful Quarter.
Shown in the following table are coin production levels for all America the Beautiful Quarters minted to date.
2010-2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Mintages
|Hot Springs National Park||34,000,000||35,600,000||69,600,000|
|Yellowstone National Park||34,800,000||33,600,000||68,400,000|
|Yosemite National Park||34,800,000||35,200,000||70,000,000|
|Grand Canyon National Park||35,400,000||34,800,000||70,200,000|
|Mount Hood National Forest||34,400,000||34,400,000||68,800,000|
|Gettysburg National Military Park||30,400,000||30,800,000||61,200,000|
|Glacier National Park||31,200,000||30,400,000||61,600,000|
|Olympic National Park||30,600,000||30,400,000||61,000,000|
|Vicksburg National Military Park||33,400,000||30,800,000||64,200,000|
|Chickasaw National Recreation Area||69,400,000||73,800,000||143,200,000|
Since the inception of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, the United States Mint has produced 738.2 million with each honoring a specific national park or national site located in the U.S. or its territories. Interestingly, this two-year total is less than the number of Delaware quarters produced (774,824,000) in 1991 when the United States Mint kicked-off the 50 State Quarters® Program.
Turning to dollars, Johnson, Grant, Hayes and Garfield dollars encompass all of the 2011 Presidential $1 Coins which combined for a mintage total of 297,360,000. That is easily the lowest annual amount since the Presidential $1 Coin program debuted in 2007.
For reference, the following table shows how dollar mintages compare over the years.
US Mint Circulating 2007-2011 Presidential $1 Mintages
|2007 George Washington $1||163,680,000||176,680,000||340,360,000|
|2007 John Adams $1||112,140,000||112,420,000||224,560,000|
|2007 Thomas Jefferson $1||102,810,000||100,800,000||203,610,000|
|2007 James Madison $1||87,780,000||84,560,000||172,340,000|
|2008 James Monroe $1||60,230,000||64,260,000||124,490,000|
|2008 John Quincy Adams $1||57,720,000||57,540,000||115,260,000|
|2008 Andrew Jackson $1||61,070,000||61,180,000||122,250,000|
|2008 Martin Van Buren $1||50,960,000||51,520,000||102,480,000|
|2009 William H. Harrison $1||55,160,000||43,260,000||98,420,000|
|2009 John Tyler $1||43,540,000||43,540,000||87,080,000|
|2009 James K. Polk $1||41,720,000||46,620,000||88,340,000|
|2009 Zachary Taylor $1||36,680,000||41,580,000||78,260,000|
|2010 Millard Fillmore $1||36,960,000||37,520,000||74,480,000|
|2010 Franklin Pierce $1||38,360,000||38,220,000||76,580,000|
|2010 James Buchanan $1||36,540,000||36,820,000||73,360,000|
|2010 Abraham Lincoln $1||48,020,000||49,000,000||97,020,000|
|2011 Andrew Johnson $1||37,100,000||35,560,000||72,660,000|
|2011 Ulysses S. Grant $1||37,940,000||38,080,000||76,020,000|
|2011 Rutherford B. Hayes $1||36,820,000||37,660,000||74,480,000|
|2011 James Garfield $1||37,100,000||37,100,000||74,200,000|
Since the start of the Presidential $1 coin series, the United States Mint has produced more than 2.37 billion of them.
As for December’s coin production figures, they expectedly decreased from November as the United States Mint began turning its attention toward 2012-dated coins. In some years, no circulating coinage has been produced during the final month. In 2011, no quarters, half dollars or $1 coins were struck in December. Yet, surprisingly, the amount of cents, nickels and dimes minted was rather high. Together, these three coins accounted for a December coin production total of 431.78 million. While that was down 39.7 percent from November, it was up a whopping 438.4 percent from the same time last year.
US Mint Circulating Coin Production December 2011 Totals
|Kennedy Half Dollars||0||0||0|
|Native American $1s||0||0||0|
For reference, production figures on a monthly basis for last year follow.
Monthly US Mint 2011 Coin Production Figures / Mintages
|December 2011||431.78 M||12|
|December 2010||80.200 M||13|
Coin production figures above are based on data from the United States Mint page: http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/?action=coin_production.