For the fourth consecutive month, the United States Mint reduced its coin production pace in September. Furthermore, not only was the total under one billion for the first time this year, but it was also the lowest for a month since December 2019.
Last month, the U.S. Mint struck just over 546 million coins, including cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars, marking a 47% decrease from August and a 45.6% drop from September 2022. The month also signifies the seventh this year in which Kennedy halves were produced, with their total now above 25 million, the most since 2001.
Here’s how the month ranks against others in the past year:
September 2022 to September 2023 Circulating Coin Production
|September 2023||546.03 M||13|
|August 2023||1,030.38 M||9|
|July 2023||1,139.30 M||7|
|June 2023||1,297.18 M||2|
|May 2023||1,417.78 M||1|
|April 2023||1,250.32 M||3|
|March 2023||1,187.94 M||5|
|February 2023||1,054.16 M||8|
|January 2023||1,200.46 M||4|
|December 2022||846.50 M||12|
|November 2022||906.00 M||11|
|October 2022||1,177.14 M||6|
|September 2022||1,003.72 M||10|
The main mission of the U.S. Mint is to manufacture coins in response to public demand. The Mint produces, sells and then delivers circulating coins to Federal Reserve Banks to support their service to commercial banks and other financial institutions.
Even though it costs the Mint 2.72 cents to make and distribute each 1-cent coin, the Federal Reserve always orders more of them than any other denomination.
In September, the Mint struck 180 million Lincoln cents, which accounted for 33% of the circulating-quality coins made for the month. This continues a trend that began in May 2022, when the percentage of cents produced in a given month fell below 50%. Historically, before then, more than half of the coins produced in each month were cents. For instance, in January of last year, 59.8% of the circulating coins minted were cents, which contrasts with the current situation.
In month-over-month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in September declined by:
- 58.3% for Lincoln cents,
- 15.4% for Jefferson nickels,
- 68.1% for Roosevelt dimes, and
- 19.9% for quarters.
2023 Kennedy Half Dollar Mintages Reach 25.1 Million
In addition to cents, nickels, dimes, and quarters, the U.S. Mint also produces dollars and half dollars in circulating quality. While the Federal Reserve no longer orders Native American $1 coins, they are still minted in circulating quality for coin collectors. This was also true for Kennedy half dollars until recently, specifically beginning in 2021.
Typically, in January, the U.S. Mint produces both denominations in the expected amounts needed for the entire year. However, this remains the case only for Native American dollars, as Kennedy halves saw their mintages increase in multiple months in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
In the past two fiscal years (2021 and 2022), the Federal Reserve unexpectedly ordered millions more Kennedy half dollars for circulation, with amounts of about 12 million and 7 million, respectively. It’s expected that Kennedy half dollars have been produced for general circulation in 2023 as well, with the total struck increasing by 6.3 million in September, 4.8 million in August, 3.2 million in July, 1.7 million in May, 2.5 million in April, 2.2 million in March, and 4.4 million in January.
As of now, the combined total of halves is 25.1 million, the highest since the 40.7 million in 2001, with 11.8 million from Denver and 13.3 million from Philadelphia. This is in comparison to the 2022 production runs, which totaled 4.9 million from Denver and 4.8 million from Philadelphia, for a combined total of 9.7 million coins.
The mintages of Native American dollars have remained unchanged since January, with splits of 1.12 million from the Denver Mint and 1.12 million from the Philadelphia Mint, for a combined total of 2.24 million coins. In contrast, the 2022 dollar recorded equal splits of 980,000 from each facility, for a total of 1.96 million coins.
On Feb. 6, U.S. Mint started selling rolls, bags and boxes of 2023 Native American dollars. On May 15, the bureau started offering collectors rolls and bags of circulating 2023 Kennedy halves.
This next table shows a summary of all the circulating-quality coins produced last month:
U.S. Mint Circulating Coin Production in September 2023
|Native American $1 Coin||0||0||0|
Regarding overall production totals for September, the Denver Mint struck 316.94 million coins, while the Philadelphia Mint made 229.09 million coins, resulting in a combined production of 546,030,000 coins.
Year to date, the Denver Mint has struck 5,036,800,000 coins, and the Philadelphia Mint has made 4,086,800,000 coins, for a total production of 10,123,600,000 coins. This figure is 5.3% lower than the 10,690,740,000 coins manufactured during the same period in 2022.
If the current production pace were to continue through December, the annual mintage for 2023 would be near 13.5 billion coins. In comparison, the U.S. Mint produced over 13.6 billion coins for circulation in 2022.
This next table lists coin production totals by denomination and by U.S. Mint facility:
YTD 2023 Circulating Coin Production by Denomination
|1 ¢||5 ¢||10 ¢||25 ¢||50 ¢||N.A. $1||Total:|
2023 Eleanor Roosevelt Quarter Mintages Released
In addition to the 2023 Native American dollar with its one-year-only design, the U.S. Mint through September released the first four of five coins for 2023 from their four-year program of American Women Quarters™. These four quarters represent the sixth through ninth in the series, and each features a unique design.
- Bessie Coleman quarters began circulating on Jan. 3, and on Feb. 14, the Mint offered rolls and bags of the quarter for purchase by the public.
- Edith Kanakaʻole quarters started circulating on March 27 and were also made available in Mint rolls and bags on the same day.
- Eleanor Roosevelt quarters entered circulation and became available in rolls and bags on June 6.
- Jovita Idar quarters began circulating on Aug. 14 and were made available in rolls and bags on Aug. 15.
For the first time, mintages for the Roosevelt quarter have been published, with 349.8 million from Denver and 413.4 million from Philadelphia, for a combined 763.2 million quarters. This is the highest mintage total for any quarter in the series to date.
The final quarter design for this year, featuring Maria Tallchief, is scheduled to be released on Oct. 23.
Of note, when examining the coin production by denomination in the table above, there are 174.6 million more quarters produced through September than indicated in the production breakdown by coin design in the table below. The alignment of the two figures will occur toward the end of the year when mintages for the Jovita Idar and Maria Tallchief quarters become available.
This table breaks down this year’s reported mintages by coin design, including quarters:
Published 2023 Circulating Production by Coin Design
|Bessie Coleman Quarter||317,200,000||302,000,000||619,200,000|
|Edith Kanaka’Ole Quarter||368,600,000||372,800,000||741,400,000|
|Eleanor Roosevelt Quarter||349,800,000||413,400,000||763,200,000|
|Jovita Idar Quarter||–||–||–|
|Maria Tallchief Quarter||–||–||–|
|Native American $1 Coin||1,120,000||1,120,000||2,240,000|