The pace of producing U.S. coins for circulation slowed for a third month straight month in September yet the amount struck hurdled the 1 billion level for an eighth month in a row, according to latest manufacturing figures published by the United States Mint.
Nearly 1.17 billion coins — spread across cents, nickels, dimes, and quarters — were minted last month, representing declines of 1.5% from August and 17.8% from September 2020.
Here’s how the month compares to others in the past year:
September 2020 to September 2021 Circulating Coin Production
|September 2021||1,169.28 M||8|
|August 2021||1,187.32 M||7|
|July 2021||1,505.24 M||1|
|June 2021||1,348.60 M||5|
|May 2021||1,473.06 M||2|
|April 2021||1,320.28 M||6|
|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||4|
|September 2020||1,422.59 M||3|
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 605.6 million Lincoln cents last month, representing 51.8% of the circulating-quality coins produced.
In month-over month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in September saw:
- 19.6% fewer Lincoln cents,
- 14% more Jefferson nickels,
- 31.8% more Roosevelt dimes, and
- 41.2% 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. In May, production increased by 900,000 from Denver and 300,000 from Philadelphia. Finally, the Philadelphia Mint in August produced another 300,000.
Together, the months add to a combined 13.1 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 September 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 661.4 million coins and the Philadelphia Mint made 507.88 million coins for the combined 1,169,280,000 coins.
Year to date, the Denver Mint has struck 5,788,020,000 coins and the Philadelphia Mint has struck 5,433,520,000 coins for a combined 11,211,540,000 coins, which is 0.8% fewer than the 11,301,070,000 coins minted through the same period in 2020.
This next table lists coin production totals for 2021 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 14.9 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 August.
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||not reported||not reported||not reported|
|Native American $1 Coin||1,260,000||1,260,000||2,520,000|
There are 1,203,400,000 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.