The latest United States Mint manufacturing figures show coin production slowed sharply in May. Less than a half billion coins for circulation were made, marking the lowest monthly level since December 2013, after topping one billion coins in each of the prior four months.
U.S. Mint data also offers mintages for Northern Mariana Islands’ American Memorial Park quarter, the second of five 2019-dated quarters with unique designs.
In the headline figure for the month, coining presses struck cents, nickels, dimes, and quarters in amounts totaling 485.24 million coins — 61.3% fewer than in April and 62.4% less than in May 2018.
Here’s how the month ranks against others in the past year:
May 2018 to May 2019 Circulating Coin Production
|May 2019||485.24 M||13|
|April 2019||1,253.76 M||6|
|March 2019||1,054.90 M||8|
|February 2019||1,256.10 M||5|
|January 2019||1,507.30 M||1|
|December 2018||560.64 M||12|
|November 2018||1,031.24 M||9|
|October 2018||1,382.18 M||3|
|September 2018||976.82 M||10|
|August 2018||831.56 M||11|
|July 2018||1,403.16 M||2|
|June 2018||1,198.34 M||7|
|May 2018||1,291.76 M||4|
The Federal Reserve always orders more 1-cent coins than any other denomination even with the latest data showing it costs the U.S. Mint 2.06 cents to make and distribute each one. The bureau produced 310.8 million Lincoln cents in May, representing 64.1% of the circulating-quality coins produced for the month.
In month-over month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in May declined by:
- 58% for Lincoln cents,
- 59.9% for Jefferson nickels,
- 67.9% for Roosevelt dimes, and
- 67.4% 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 finish 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 bureau’s data for February did show an increase of 140,000 in 2019-D Native American dollars. Reported mintages for the space-themed piece are at 1.54 million for Denver and 1.4 million for Philadelphia for a combined 2.94 million coins — up from last year’s dollar mintages by the added 140,000.
Mintages for the 2019 Kennedy half-dollar remained the same for a fourth straight month, totaling 3.4 million coins with equal splits between the Denver and Philadelphia Mints. Last year’s half-dollar was the most produced since the one from 2001. It saw 6.1 million from Denver and 4.8 million from Philadelphia for a combined 10.9 million coins.
Here’s a summary of all circulating-quality coins produced last month:
US Mint Circulating Coin Production in May 2019
|Kennedy Half Dollars||0||0||0|
|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 produced 314.88 million coins and the Denver Mint made 170.36 million coins.
Year-to-date, the Philadelphia Mint struck 2,858,320,000 coins and the Denver Mint struck 2,698,980,000 coins for a combined 5,557,300,000 coins — 3.2% fewer than the 5,741,474,000 coins minted through the first five months of 2018.
This next table lists 2019 coin production totals by denomination and by U.S. Mint facility:
YTD 2019 Circulating Coin Production by Denomination
|1 ¢||5 ¢||10 ¢||25 ¢||50 ¢||N.A. $1||Total:|
If the current production pace stretched through to December, the annual 2019 mintage total would reach 13.3 billion coins. The Mint made over 13.1 billion coins for circulation in 2018.
Mintages by Unique Design
So far, the U.S. Mint has released four annually issued coins with one-year-only designs. They include:
- the 2019 Lowell National Historical quarter for Massachusetts, released on Feb. 4;
- the 2019 Native American $1 Coin, released on Feb. 13;
- the 2019 American Memorial Park quarter for Northern Mariana Islands, released on April 1; and
- the 2019 War in Pacific quarter for Guam, released June 3.
The U.S. Mint published American Memorial Park quarter mintages for the first time. They register at 182.6 million from Denver and 142.8 million from Philadelphia for a combined 325.4 million. These totals are nowhere near mintage lows for the series.
The following table offers a breakdown of this year’s mintages by coin design:
2019 Circulating Coin Production by Design
|Lowell National Historical Park Quarter (MA)||182,200,000||165,800,000||348,000,000|
|American Memorial Park Quarter (MP)||182,600,000||142,800,000||325,400,000|
|War in the Pacific National Historical Park Quarter (GU)||–||–||–|
|San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Quarter (TX)||–||–||–|
|Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Quarter (ID)||–||–||–|
|Native American $1 Coins||1,540,000||1,400,000||2,940,000|
There are 70.2 million in quarters that the U.S. Mint has yet to officially assign to a design. These are likely a portion of War in the Pacific National Historical Park quarters which just started circulating this month.