Demand is on the rise for American coins, new production figures from the United States Mint show. Manufacturing plants in Philadelphia and Denver pressed more than 1.4 billion coins for circulation in March, the third highest monthly total in 8 years and only behind the last two January’s when the production pace surged to get newly dated coins out the door.
For the first quarter and year-to-date, U.S. minting facilities struck 4,220,580,000 circulating-quality coins — the quickest quarterly start since before 2008.
In March, coining presses kicked out 1,403,440,000 in pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars. The figure is somewhat surprising since March tends to be among the slower coin production periods, ranking sixth, tenth, eighth, and eleventh against the other months in years 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011.
In more recent comparisons, the pace was 9.8% quicker than in February and 36.9% faster than March 2014. Here’s how the month stacks up against others in the past year.
2014 – 2015 March Coin Production Figures
|January 2015||1,539.15 M||1|
|November 2014||958.78 M||10|
|October 2014||1,168.78 M||6|
|September 2014||1,004.24 M||9|
|August 2014||913.38 M||11|
|July 2014||1,331.34 M||3|
|June 2014||1,279.82 M||4|
|May 2014||1,326.80 M||2|
|April 2014||1,007.96 M||8|
|March 2014||1,025.40 M||7|
Coin usage in the United States is monitored by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. Mint takes orders by denomination from the Fed and then makes and delivers them to Federal Reserve Banks for distribution throughout the nation.
Demand for pennies is always the greatest. We love pennies even as it costs about 1.7 cents to produce and distribute each one. The Mint turned out 792.8 million Lincoln cents in March for 56.5% of all the circulating-quality coins produced for the month. Yet, and for a third straight month, that’s down from the more typical level of above 60%.
In month-over-month production comparisons for coins used every day by Americans:
- Lincoln cents advanced 8.9%.
- Jefferson nickels surged 21.4%.
- Roosevelt dimes rose 6.4%.
- America the Beautiful Quarters advanced 10.2%.
Presidential $1 Coins, Native American $1 Coins and Kennedy half-dollars are no longer ordered by Federal Reserve Banks but the Mint continues to strike them in circulating-quality for coin collectors.
In January, the U.S. Mint produced 2015 Kennedy halves to the expected amounts needed for the entire year. That is typically how it works for Native American $1 Coins as well, but in March the Mint found the need to make another 140,000. Also, the agency continued to strike Presidential $1 Coins to support the four different 2015 designs. Here’s a summary of all the circulating-quality coins made last month:
US Mint Circulating Coin Production in March 2015
|2015 ATB Quarters||115,800,000||103,400,000||219,200,000|
|Kennedy Half Dollars||0||0||0|
|Native American $1s||140,000||0||140,000|
U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia manufacture all of America’s coins for commerce. Last month, the Denver Mint struck 737.94 million coins and the Philadelphia Mint produced 665.5 million coins.
For the quarterly period, the Denver Mint made 2,164,520,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint struck 2,056,060,000 coins. That brings the first quarter tally for both plants to 4,220,580,000 coins for a 23.6% increase over the 3,413,820,000 coins minted during the first three months of last year. This next table lists year-to-date coin totals by denomination:
YTD 2015 Circulating Coin Production by Denomination
|1 ¢||5 ¢||10 ¢||25 ¢||50 ¢||N.A. $1||Pres $1||Total:|
The latest 2015 monthly average of more than 1.4 billion coins is poised to place this year’s annual coin production total at above 16.8 billion. Such a level has not been reached since 2001 when the Mint pressed over 19.4 billion coins. Last year, the U.S. Mint produced a touch more than 13.28 billion circulating coins, the most since 2007 when 14.4 billion were made.
Coin Design Mintages
Aside from 140,000 new 2015 Native American dollars and 140,000 more 2015 Truman dollars — both logged as Philadelphia Mint increases, no new mintage levels have been uncovered for 2015 coins featuring one-year only designs. The following table offers a breakdown of this year’s mintages by design:
2015 Circulating Coin Production by Design
|Homestead National Monument of America Quarter||248,600,000||214,400,000||463,000,000|
|Kisatchie National Forest Quarter||–||–||–|
|Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter||–||–||–|
|Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter||–||–||–|
|Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter||–||–||–|
|Kennedy Half Dollars||2,300,000||2,300,000||4,600,000|
|Native American $1||2,240,000||2,800,000||5,040,000|
|Harry S. Truman $1||3,500,000||4,900,000||8,400,000|
|Dwight D. Eisenhower $1||3,360,000||4,900,000||8,260,000|
|John F. Kennedy $1||–||–||–|
|Lyndon B. Johnson $1||–||–||–|
In subtracting the totals by coin design from the overall production figures by denomination, two differences are found:
America the Beautiful Quarter mintages are higher by 423.8 million. These are a portion of the Kisatchie National Forest Quarters for Louisiana. The quarter entered circulation on April 13 with an official launch ceremony scheduled for April 22. The U.S. Mint will begin selling rolls and bags of the quarters on April 20.
Presidential $1 Coin mintages are higher by 15.12 million. This amount represents a portion of the 2015 John F. Kennedy $1’s. The Mint will release JFK dollars in June.
Coin production figures in this coin news article are based on data aggregated from the U.S. Mint webpage at: http://www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/?action=ProductionFigures.