The pace of producing U.S. coins for circulation in July was the quickest since August 2020, according to the latest batch of manufacturing figures from the United States Mint.
More than 1.5 billion coins — spread across cents, nickels, dimes and quarters — were struck last month, marking an 11.6% increase from June and an 11.3% decline from July of last year when more coins were minted than in any month since January 2017.
High Coin Production Output During COVID
The United States Mint was asked to step up their pressing pace to help stem coin circulation issues brought about by the COVID pandemic. With another high output month now in the books, the Mint extended its streak of producing 1+ billion coins to six months in a row. The bureau has actually minted over 1 billion coins in thirteen of the last fifteen months. For some perspective, it registered only 7 months of production levels atop 1 billion coins in each of the calendar years 2018 and 2019.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. Mint has been working "almost six days a week with mandatory overtime at our circulating facilities throughout the country," Mint Director David J. Ryder noted Aug. 25 in a roundtable discussion with members of the numismatic media. "The Federal Reserve is taking absolutely everything we manufacture."
Sustaining full production since the coronavirus started is "a testament to Dave Croft (Associate Director of Manufacturing) and his team and the workers at our facilities who have just been doing a fabulous job while maintaining a safe environment."
In getting back to the numbers, here’s how July compares to others in the past year:
July 2020 to July 2021 Circulating Coin Production
|July 2021||1,505.24 M||3|
|June 2021||1,348.60 M||7|
|May 2021||1,473.06 M||4|
|April 2021||1,320.28 M||8|
|March 2021||1,134.84 M||11|
|February 2021||1,163.40 M||10|
|January 2021||919.52 M||12|
|December 2020||903.50 M||13|
|November 2020||1,165.10 M||9|
|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|
The Federal Reserve orders more 1-cent coins from the U.S. Mint than any other denomination even as data shows it costs 1.76 cents to make and distribute each one. The Mint made 858 million Lincoln cents last month, representing 57% of the circulating-quality coins produced.
In month-over month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in July saw:
- 9.7% more Lincoln cents,
- 3.1% fewer Jefferson nickels,
- 21.3% more Roosevelt dimes, and
- 20.9% more quarters.
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 add to a combined 12.8 million halves — 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 July 2021
|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 743.2 million coins and the Philadelphia Mint made 762.04 million coins for the combined 1,505,240,000 coins.
Year to date, the Denver Mint has struck 4,622,340,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint has struck 4,242,600,000 coins for a combined 8,864,940,000 coins, which is 7.8% more than the 8,221,420,000 coins minted through the same period in 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 near 15.2 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 July.
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 870.6 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.