October saw the United States Mint’s coin production pace decrease for the fifth month in a row. Moreover, not only did the total fall below one billion coins for just the second time this year and for the second consecutive month, but it also once again marked the lowest monthly production since December 2019.
Last month, the U.S. Mint struck just over 501.9 million coins for circulation, including cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars, registering an 8.1% decrease from September and a 57.4% tumble from October 2022. The month also signifies the eighth one this year in which Kennedy halves were produced, with their number surging by 19.71 million in October alone, bringing the total to nearly 45 million, the highest since 1996.
Here’s how the month ranks against others in the past year:
October 2022 to October 2023 Circulating Coin Production
|October 2023||501.911 M||13|
|September 2023||546.03 M||12|
|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||11|
|November 2022||906.00 M||10|
|October 2022||1,177.14 M||6|
Back to More Pennies
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 October, the Mint struck 252.8 million Lincoln cents, accounting for 50.4% of all circulating-quality coins produced for the month. In the months from May 2022 through September 2023, this percentage was frequently below 50%, often well below it. For example, in September, the percentage dropped to 33%. Historically, prior to May 2022 (and now again in October), more than half of the coins produced each month were cents.
In month-over-month comparisons for coins used daily by Americans, production totals in October saw:
- 40.46% more Lincoln cents,
- 46.08% fewer Jefferson nickels,
- 99.98% fewer Roosevelt dimes, and
- 1.32% more quarters.
2023 Kennedy Half Dollar Mintages Jump to 44.81 Million After October Increase of 19.71 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, the U.S. Mint continues to make them in circulating quality for numismatic products sold to coin collectors. This practice was also true for Kennedy half dollars until recently, specifically starting 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 of Kennedy half dollars for circulation. They have also been produced for general circulation in 2023, with the total struck increasing significantly: 19.71 million in October alone, 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.
Year to date, the combined total of halves is 44.81 million, the highest since 1996 when it reached 49.1 million, comprising 27.8 million from Denver and 17.01 million from Philadelphia. This is a significant increase compared to the 2022 production runs, which only totaled 4.9 million from Denver and 4.8 million from Philadelphia, resulting in a combined total of just 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.
In terms of numismatic products containing the two denominations, on Feb. 6, U.S. Mint started selling rolls, bags and boxes of 2023 Native American dollars, while on May 15, the bureau began offering 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 October 2023
|Native American $1 Coin||0||0||0|
Regarding overall production totals for October, the Denver Mint struck 257.92 million coins, while the Philadelphia Mint made 243.99 million coins, resulting in a combined production of 501,911,000 coins.
Year to date, the Denver Mint has struck 5,294,700,000 coins, the Philadelphia Mint has made 5,330,761,000 coins, totaling 10,625,461,000 coins, which is 10.5% lower than the 11,867,880,000 coins manufactured during the same period in 2022.
If the current production pace were to continue through December, the annual mintage for 2023 would top 12.7 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 Jovita Idar Quarter Mintages Released
In addition to the 2023 Native American dollar with its one-year-only design, the U.S. Mint released five coins for 2023 from their four-year program of American Women Quarters™. These five quarters represent the sixth through tenth 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.
- Maria Tallchief quarters started circulating on Oct. 19 and, on the same day, were made available in rolls and bags.
For the first time, mintages for the Jovita Idar quarter have been published, with 110 million from Denver and 61.2 million from Philadelphia, for a combined total of 171.2 million quarters. If these figures remain unchanged, the Idar quarter will have the lowest mintages — by either mint facility as well as combined — in the series to date.
Of note, when examining the coin production by denomination in the table above, there are 171.8 million more quarters produced through October than indicated in the production breakdown by coin design in the table below. The alignment of the two figures will occur when mintages for the final Maria Tallchief quarter 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||110,000,000||61,200,000||171,200,000|
|Maria Tallchief Quarter||–||–||–|
|Native American $1 Coin||1,120,000||1,120,000||2,240,000|