The U.S. produced more coins in May than in any month since August, according to manufacturing figures from the United States Mint.
The U.S. Mint struck over 1.47 billion coins for circulation last month, posting increases of 11.6% from April and 62.9% from May of last year.
Here’s how the month compares to others in the past year:
May 2020 to May 2021 Circulating Coin Production
|May 2021||1,473.06 M||4|
|April 2021||1,320.28 M||7|
|March 2021||1,134.84 M||10|
|February 2021||1,163.40 M||9|
|January 2021||919.52 M||11|
|December 2020||903.50 M||13|
|November 2020||1,165.10 M||8|
|October 2020||1,404.69 M||6|
|September 2020||1,422.59 M||5|
|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||12|
The Federal Reserve orders more 1-cent coins than any other denomination even as data shows it costs 1.76 cents to make and distribute each one. The U.S. Mint made 818 million Lincoln cents last month, representing 55.5% of the circulating-quality coins produced.
In month-over month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in May saw:
- 36.7% more Lincoln cents,
- 40.6% more Jefferson nickels,
- 3.3% fewer Roosevelt dimes, and
- 34.2% fewer 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. Often 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. Philadelphia finally showed up in March at 1.9 million. Then in April, amounts for both facilities advanced by 5.2 million from Denver and 2.9 million from Philadelphia. Finally in May, production increased by 900,000 from Denver and 300,000 from Philadelphia.
Together, the months added to a combined 12.8 million halves — already the most for a year since 2001. Last year’s half-dollar ended with 3.4 million from Denver and 2.3 million from Philadelphia for a total of 5.7 million halves.
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.
Here’s a summary of all circulating-quality coins produced last month:
US Mint Circulating Coin Production in May 2021
|Kennedy Half Dollars||900,000||300,000||1,200,000|
|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 779.88 million coins and the Philadelphia Mint made 693.18 million coins for the combined 1,473,06,000 coins.
Year-to-date, the Denver Mint has struck 3,204,040,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint has made 2,807,060,000 coins for a combined 6,011,100,000 coins, which is 22% more than the 4,927,200,000 coins minted through the first five months of 2020.
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 top 14.4 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 May.
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 483.2 million in quarters that the U.S. Mint has yet to officially assign to a design. These are 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.