The United States Mint produced just over 3.2 billion coins for circulation in the first three months of 2020, marking their slowest first quarterly pace since 2013.
In the headline figure for March, U.S. Mint coining presses struck cents, nickels, dimes, and quarters in amounts totaling 898.86 million coins — down 17.9% from February, 14.8% lower than in March 2019, and representing the first month this year where the total was under 1 billion coins.
Here’s how the month ranks against others in the past year:
March 2019 to March 2020 Circulating Coin Production
|March 2020||898.86 M||9|
|February 2020||1,094.30 M||5|
|January 2020||1,228.08 M||2|
|December 2019||400.88 M||13|
|November 2019||898.38 M||10|
|October 2019||1,154.94 M||4|
|September 2019||939.66 M||8|
|August 2019||767.32 M||11|
|July 2019||1,202.10 M||3|
|June 2019||1,021.654 M||7|
|May 2019||485.24 M||12|
|April 2019||1,253.76 M||1|
|March 2019||1,054.90 M||6|
The Federal Reserve orders more 1-cent coins than any other denomination despite data that shows it costs the U.S. Mint 1.99 cents to make and distribute each one. The Mint produced 508.8 million Lincoln cents last month, for 56.6% of the circulating-quality coins produced in March.
In month-over month comparisons for coins used every day by Americans, production totals in March declined by:
- 16.3% for Lincoln cents,
- 12.1% for Jefferson nickels,
- 10.5% for Roosevelt dimes, and
- 27.3% 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. Usually in January, the U.S. Mint tends to strike both coins to the expected amounts needed for the entire year. That wasn’t the case for halves at least until the second month of this year.
In February, mintages of Philadelphia Mint-struck Kennedy half-dollars rose by 1.8 million after none were reported out of the plant in January. That adds to the earlier 1.8 million produced Denver halves for a combined 3.6 million. Last year’s half-dollar ended with equal splits of 1.7 million for Denver and Philadelphia for a combined 3.4 million.
Published mintages of the 2020 Native American dollar remained unchanged — 1.26 million from Denver and 1.4 million from Philadelphia for a combined 2.66 million coins. Last year’s dollar had splits of 1.54 million for Denver and 1.4 million for Philadelphia for a combined 2.94 million coins.
The U.S. Mint released rolls and bags of 2020 Native American dollars on Feb. 12. Kennedy halves are expected out this summer.
Here’s a summary of all circulating-quality coins produced last month:
US Mint Circulating Coin Production in March 2020
|Kennedy Half Dollars||0||0||0|
|Native American $1s||0||0||0|
U.S. Mint plants in Denver and Philadelphia manufacture all of America’s coins for commerce. Last month, the Denver Mint made 524.32 million coins and the Philadelphia Mint made 374.54 million coins for the combined 898.86 million coins.
First Quarter 2020
For first quarter 2020, the Denver Mint struck 1,705,600,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint made 1,515,640,000 coins for a combined 3,221,240,000 coins — 15.6% fewer than the 3,818,300,000 coins minted in first quarter 2019. The first quarter level was the weakest since first quarter 2013 when 2,867,800,000 were minted for circulation.
This next table lists 2020 coin production totals by denomination and by U.S. Mint facility:
YTD 2020 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 mintage for 2020 would near 12.9 billion coins. Usually, however, the production pace slows significantly in December as the Mint prepares for newly dated coinage for the upcoming year. The U.S. Mint made over 11.9 billion coins for circulation in 2019.
Mintages by Unique Design
In addition to the Native American dollar, which features annually changing reserves, the U.S. Mint has released one other 2020 coin bearing a one-year-only design — the National Park of American Samoa quarter which launched on Feb. 3.
The following table offers a mintage breakdown for it and other denominations:
2020 Circulating Coin Production by Design
|National Park of American Samoa Quarter||212,200,000||249,200,000||461,400,000|
|Weir Farm National Historic Site Quarter (Connecticut)||0||0||0|
|Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve Quarter (U.S. Virgin Islands)||0||0||0|
|Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park Quarter (Vermont)||0||0||0|
|Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Quarter (Kansas)||0||0||0|
|Native American $1 Coins||1,260,000||1,400,000||2,660,000|
There are now 226.8 million in quarters that the U.S. Mint has yet to officially assign to a design. These are a portion of Connecticut’s Weir Farm National Historic quarter which entered circulation on April 6. The U.S. Mint usually offers newly released quarters for direct sale to the public but Weir Farm quarter products have been postponed.