Coin production slowed in February after racing in January, the latest manufacturing figures from the United States Mint show.
U.S. Mint coining presses struck more than 1 billion in cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half-dollars, marking a 33.4% reduction from January but 8.5% higher than in February 2017.
Here’s how the month compares against others in the past year:
February 2017 to February 2018 Circulating Coin Production
|February 2018||1,066.51 M||10|
|January 2018||1,601.54 M||1|
|December 2017||762.86 M||13|
|November 2017||1,346.26 M||4|
|October 2017||1,423.54 M||3|
|September 2017||1,316.22 M||5|
|August 2017||1,167.48 M||8|
|July 2017||1,254.74 M||6|
|June 2017||1,252.88 M||7|
|May 2017||1,156.34 M||9|
|April 2017||959.54 M||12|
|March 2017||1,445.8 M||2|
|February 2017||983.40 M||11|
The Federal Reserve always orders more 1-cent coins than any other denomination even as it costs the U.S. Mint 1.82 cents to make and distribute each one. The bureau struck 640 million Lincoln cents in February, representing 60% of the circulating-quality coins produced for the month.
In month-over month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in February declined:
- 36.3% for Lincoln cents,
- 28.2% for Jefferson nickels,
- 39.1% for Roosevelt dimes, and
- 12.3% for America the Beautiful quarter dollars.
Native American $1 Coins and Kennedy half-dollars are no longer ordered by Federal Reserve Banks but they are still made in circulating-quality for coin collectors. In January, the U.S. Mint tends to strike both coins to the expected amounts needed for the entire year.
That said, the agency in February did produce 1.8 million more 2018-D Kennedy half-dollars. Mintages for the half-dollars are 2.2 million from Denver and now 3.6 million from Philadelphia for a combined 5.8 million coins. Last year’s release ended with splits of 2.9 million from Denver and 1.8 million from Philadelphia for a combined 4.7 million coins
Here’s a summary of all coins produced for circulation last month:
US Mint Circulating Coin Production in February 2018
|Kennedy Half Dollars||0||1,800,000||1,800,000|
|Native American $1s||0||0||0|
U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia manufacture all of America’s coins for commerce. Last month, the Philadelphia Mint struck 537.59 million coins and the Denver Mint made 528.92 million coins.
In the January to February period, the Denver Mint made 1,299,320,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint struck 1,368,730,000 coins. Their combined year-to-date total rose by 2,668,050,000 coins, which is 3.8% fewer than the 2,773,700,000 coins minted during the first two months of 2017.
This next table lists 2018 coin production totals by denomination and by U.S. Mint facility:
YTD 2018 Circulating Coin Production by Denomination
|1 ¢||5 ¢||10 ¢||25 ¢||50 ¢||N.A. $1||Total:|
The 2018 monthly average of more than 1.33 billion coins tracks in 12 months to just above 16 billion coins. Last year, the U.S. Mint produced over 14.8 billion coins for circulation — the third quickest for a year since 2001, after the more than 16 billion coins were made in 2017 and the over 17 billion coins were made in 2015.
Mintages by Unique Design
The U.S. Mint so far has released two 2018-dated coins with one-year-only designs. They include the:
- 208 Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore quarter for Michigan, released on Feb 5.
- 2018 Native American $1 Coin, released on Feb. 15.
Finalized mintages for Pictured Rocks quarter should be available by April.
Reported mintages for the 2018 Native American dollars are 2.1 million from Denver and 1.4 million from Philadelphia for a combined 3.5 million coins. Last year’s release ended with splits of 1.54 million from Denver and 1.82 million from Philadelphia for 3.36 million coins.
Having the Mint produce 640 million cents at a cost of 1.82 cents each puts a sizeable dent in the profit/loss tally to the tune of $11, 648,000 effectively going down the proverbial drain. Perhaps it’s time for taking yet another hard long look at doing away with this costly but ever more outdated, increasingly less useful denomination.
Oops. My arithmetic is wrong up above for the following reason. $11,648,000 is indeed the total cost of manufacturing and otherwise processing those 640,000,000 cents; however, since the U.S. Mint does receive a face value payment of $6,400,000 for them from the Federal Reserve, the actual dollar amount that the Mint is out of pocket as a result of this transaction is in fact $5,648,000 and not the $11,648,000 as posted previously. Sorry about that.
They must going too need the change for much later i* hope! Why else waste all our money for so long? :hmm: ❓ :hmm:
Joe Brown – You of course know the old expression “penny wise and pound foolish”, right? Well, now that’s been taken a step further and someone has clearly figured out how to be “penny foolish” too! 🙂
.our government should learn from Canada. Stop making penny and dollar bill . There are no point to make dollar bill if government want us to use dollar coins. We should make face value $1000 ,$5000 and $10000 gold coin. Maybe contain a microchip technology for avoid fake gold. Also it can be able who own it and where go-to . This way can avoid corruption of government and crime.
if you look at production over the last 50 years where could those half trillion pennies be going beside being hoarded for some unknown reason. make the pennies in aluminum to save money
From what I’ve read, a lot of them only circulate a few times before leaving the cash stream, with a fairly large number simply being lost or discarded. Hoarding is also significant but from it’s from the coins being put in jars, piggy banks, etc. due to their low value. That intentional accumulation seems to be as a painless way to get a few extra bucks by redeeming them at a bank or (foolishly) at a coin machine. The Mint experimented with aluminum cents and found them to be too light to be practical. Other countries have had similar problems.… Read more »
I received 3 2018-D Lincoln cents March 27 in circulation. It took that long to see them in Southern California. I visited Canada in 2015 & 2016 & they are doing just fine without pennies. We should learn from them.
Silverboy, Lee, Munzen & Brian,
If WE were on the Mint’s advisory board, our suggestion would be a simple “Stop minting a coin that costs more to make than it’s worth and that nobody uses anyway”, but then, we’re not, and they won’t. 🙂
Only mint the profitable proof and uncirc samples, otherwise stop the production, or mint them once every decade, nobody uses them in todays debit/credit card world. I haven’t received a dollar coin in circulation in perhaps 5 years, what a waste of money unless we stop printing paper bills.
Stewart – That is a most excellent suggestion in every way, and I couldn’t agree with you more. With this kind of enlightened strategic thinking you will no doubt be able to merit the somewhat dubious honor of being as completely ignored by the Mint as the rest of us who so often engage in discussing this very situation here are. 😉