February 2012 circulating coin production figures from the United States Mint have been published. Of particular note to coin collectors, mintages were revealed for the Chester Arthur Presidential $1 Coin and the El Yunque National Forest Quarter for Puerto Rico — each coin is scarcest in their respective series.
In terms of the production pace, the U.S. Mint delivered 579.86 million coins for circulation in February, representing a 27.2% slowdown from the previous month but a 10.8% pick-up from the same time a year ago.
As higher coin mintages can often dictate the amount of activity in the U.S. economy, February’s improvement over last year is a positive signal. Still, as the following table highlights, both months rank toward the bottom of mintage charts over the past dozen months.
2011-2012 February Coin Production Figures / Mintages
|February 2012||579.86 M||10|
|January 2012||802.50 M||5|
|December 2011||431.78 M||13|
|November 2011||715.96 M||6|
|October 2011||690.66 M||7|
|September 2011||811.42 M||3|
|August 2011||604.54 M||9|
|July 2011||821.98 M||2|
|June 2011||903.06 M||1|
|May 2011||807.41 M||4|
|April 2011||640.17 M||8|
|March 2011||485.50 M||12|
|February 2011||523.14 M||11|
U.S. Mint facilities dedicated to producing American coinage for circulation (daily commerce) are limited to two, with one located in Denver and the other one from Philadelphia. The latter was significantly busier last month with its output of 369.8 million coins versus Denver’s 210.06 million. The two facilities actually tend to swap leadership on the production board throughout a year, and their outputs tend to equalize somewhat toward December.
As is always the case, pennies dominated the two mint’s time. Last month they accounted for 60.1% of the production output. All types of coins were minted in February, excluding Kennedy half dollars which are only struck for collectors and do not often see their mintages rise after January. The following table highlights:
US Mint Circulating Coin Production in February 2012
|Kennedy Half Dollars||0||0||0|
|Native American $1s||1,960,000||2,800,000||4,760,000|
When the U.S. Mint publishes mintages for Presidential $1 coins by a specific design, they tend to be finalized. On the other hand, and while it does not happen often, the Mint reserves the right to produce more of an American the Beautiful Quarter design later in the year, which means it is possible for earlier published quarter figures to rise. That has happened in at least one instance since the American the Beautiful Quarters® series debuted in 2010.
With these details in mind, the U.S. Mint has called the Chester Arthur Presidential $1 Coin mintages at 5.74 million, with 2.8 million from Denver and 2.94 million from Philadelphia. These are the absolute lowest of any Presidential $1 coin, with 20 previous Presidential honoring designs struck since the series launched in 2007. As a perspective, last year’s Andrew Johnson’s Presidential $1 Coin had previously held the scarcest mintage title with a combined 2011-D and 2011-P total of 72.66 million.
The plunge is expected however, as the Obama administration in December ordered the U.S. Mint to stop producing $1 coins for circulation. The dollars are now only manufactured for coin collectors, similar to the aforementioned Kennedy half dollars.
Turning to America the Beautiful Quarters, the first in 2012 honoring El Yunque National Forest is currently the scarcest in the entire series with 50.8 million struck, split out with 25 million from Denver and 25.8 million from Philadelphia. The total is at least 10 million fewer than any of the previous ten ATB quarters. The El Yunque quarter was released into circulation on January 23, 2012. It will make an official appearance Wednesday in a ceremonial release.
While it is somewhat surprising to see that El Yunque quarters are now most scarce, in hindsight it should not be completely unexpected. The immediate previous quarter honoring Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma had a mintage that was more than double any of its younger releases. The amount likely not only satisfied but could have overreached quarter demand, resulting in cutbacks for El Yunque quarters. Time will tell.
The U.S. Mint is already busy producing the next Chaco Culture National Historical Park quarter for New Mexico with at least 43.8 million minted. The Chaco Culture quarter is expected to enter circulation beginning on April 2, 2012. As such, it is possible its mintages will be revealed next month.
The following table provides a look into the available year-to-date mintages for coins by specific design.
US Mint 2012 Coin Production / Mintages by Design
|El Yunque Quarter||25,000,000||25,800,000||50,800,000|
|Chaco Culture Quarter||0||0||0|
|Kennedy Half Dollars||1,700,000||1,800,000||3,500,000|
|Native American $1||2,800,000||2,800,000||5,600,000|
|Arthur Presidential $1||2,800,000||2,940,000||5,740,000|
|Cleveland Presidential $1||0||0||0|
|Harrison Presidential $1||0||0||0|
|Cleveland Presidential $1||0||0||0|
Visit this site’s US Coins Information page for details on many of the coins listed above. Current coin production figures are based on data from the United States Mint page: http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/?action=coin_production.