The United States Mint produced just over 3.57 billion coins for circulation in the first three months this year, marking their slowest first quarterly pace since 2014.
U.S. Mint data also offers mintages for Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore quarter, the first of five 2018-dated quarters with unique designs.
In the headline figure for March, coining presses struck cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half-dollars in amounts totaling 902.924 million coins. That’s 15.3% fewer than pressed in February and 37.6% less than those made in March 2017.
Here’s how the month compares against others in the past year:
March 2017 to March 2018 Circulating Coin Production
|March 2018||902.924 M||12|
|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||11|
|March 2017||1,445.8 M||2|
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 559.2 million Lincoln cents in March, representing 61.9% of the circulating-quality coins produced for the month.
In month-over month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in March declined:
- 12.6% for Lincoln cents,
- 4% for Jefferson nickels,
- 42.9% for Roosevelt dimes, and
- 9.3% 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.
Uptick in Kennedy Halves
That said, the agency in February did produce 1.8 million more 2018-D Kennedy half-dollars. Then in March, it struck 3.2 million more from Denver and 1.2 million more for Philadelphia.
Mintages for the half-dollars are now 5.4 million from Denver and 4.8 million from Philadelphia for a combined 10.2 million coins — more than double the total from 2017. 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 March 2018
|Kennedy Half Dollars||3,200,000||1,200,000||4,400,000|
|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 498.524 million coins and the Denver Mint made 404.4 million coins.
In first quarter 2018, the Denver Mint made 1,703,720,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint struck 1,867,254,000 coins for a combined 3,570,974,000 coins — 15.4% fewer than the 4,219,500,000 coins minted in first quarter 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 about 1.19 billion coins tracks over 12 months to nearly 14.3 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.
Pictured Rocks Quarter Mintages
So far, the U.S. Mint has released three 2018-dated coins with one-year-only designs. They include the:
- 2018 Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore quarter for Michigan, released on Feb 5.
- 2018 Native American $1 Coin, released on Feb. 15.
- 2018 Apostle Islands National Lakeshore quarter for Wisconsin, released on April 9.
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.
Pictured Rocks quarter mintages were reported for the first time, coming in at 182,600,000 from Denver and 186,714,000 from Philadelphia for a combined 369,314,000. These totals are nowhere near lows in the series.
Finalized mintages for the newly released Apostle Islands quarter should be available by May or June.
The following table offers a breakdown of this year’s mintages by coin design:
2018 Circulating Coin Production by Design
|Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Quarter (MI)||182,600,000||186,714,000||369,314,000|
|Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Quarter (WI)||–||–||–|
|Voyageurs National Park Quarter (MN)||–||–||–|
|Cumberland Island National Seashore Quarter (GA)||–||–||–|
|Block Island National Wildlife Refuge Quarter (RI)||–||–||–|
|Native American $1 Coins||2,100,000||1,400,000||3,500,000|
There are 124.4 million in quarters that the U.S. Mint hasn’t officially assigned to a design yet. These are a portion of the Apostle Islands quarters.