The United States Mint struck more than 3.21 billion coins for circulation during the first quarter of 2021, a tad less than the amount made in the same period last year, registering the slowest first quarterly pace since 2013.
As for March, the U.S. Mint produced over 1.1 billion coins, representing 2.5% decline from February but a 26.3% increase from March 2020.
Here’s how the month compares against others in the past year:
March 2020 to March 2021 Circulating Coin Production
|March 2021||1,134.84 M||8|
|February 2021||1,163.40 M||7|
|January 2021||919.52 M||9|
|December 2020||903.50 M||11|
|November 2020||1,165.10 M||6|
|October 2020||1,404.69 M||5|
|September 2020||1,422.59 M||4|
|August 2020||1,657.06 M||2|
|July 2020||1,697.74 M||1|
|June 2020||1,596.48 M||3|
|May 2020||904.12 M||10|
|April 2020||801.84 M||13|
|March 2020||898.86 M||12|
The Federal Reserve orders more 1-cent coins than any other denomination even as data shows it costs the U.S. Mint 1.76 cents to make and distribute each one. The Mint made 608.8 million Lincoln cents last month, representing 53.6% of the circulating-quality coins produced in March.
In month-over month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in March saw:
- 14.3% more Lincoln cents,
- 16.8% fewer Jefferson nickels,
- 28.8% fewer Roosevelt dimes, and
- 3.3% more 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. Typically in January, the U.S. Mint strikes both coins to the expected amounts needed for the entire year.
That wasn’t the case for 2021 halves. Mint data shows none were produced until February, and then only 1.6 million from Denver. The Philadelphia total showed up in March at 1.9 million. Combined, 2021 production of halves stands at 3.5 million. Last year’s half-dollar ended with 3.4 million from Denver and 2.3 million from Philadelphia for a combined 5.7 million.
Published mintages of 2021 Native American dollars have remained unchanged since January with equal splits of 1.26 million from Denver and 1.26 million from Philadelphia for a combined 2.52 million coins. In contrast, the 2020 dollar saw 1.26 million for Denver and 1.4 million for Philadelphia for 2.66 million coins.
The U.S. Mint started selling rolls and bags of 2021 Native American dollars on Feb. 16. Rolls and bags of 2021 Kennedy half dollars are scheduled for release on May 11.
Here’s a summary of all circulating-quality coins produced last month:
US Mint Circulating Coin Production in March 2021
|Kennedy Half Dollars||0||1,900,000||1,900,000|
|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 627.1 million coins and the Philadelphia Mint made 507.74 million coins for the combined 1,134,840,000 coins.
First Quarter 2021
In first quarter 2021, the Denver Mint struck 1,847,660,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint made 1,370,100 coins. They combine for a quarterly total of 3,217,760,000 coins, which is 0.1% less than the 3,221,240,000 coins minted in the first quarter of last year.
This next table lists 2021 coin production totals by denomination and by U.S. Mint facility:
YTD 2021 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 2021 would end near 12.9 billion coins. The U.S. Mint made over 14.77 billion coins for circulation in 2020.
Mintages by Unique Design
In addition to the Native American dollar, the U.S. Mint released (on Feb. 8) another coin with a one-year-only design — the 2021 Tuskegee Airmen quarter for Alabama. Its mintage remained unchanged in March.
This last table offers a breakdown of this year’s mintages that have been reported by coin design:
2021 Circulating Coin Production by Design
|Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site Quarter (Alabama)||304,000,000||160,400,000||464,400,000|
|George Washington Crossing the Delaware Quarter||0||0||0|
|Native American $1 Coin||1,260,000||1,260,000||2,520,000|
There are 5.6 million in quarters that the U.S. Mint has yet to officially assign to a design. These are likely 2021 George Washington Crossing the Delaware quarters. Hundreds of millions more of them will be made until the first American Women quarters are issued in 2022.