U.S. Mint Produces 501.9 Million Coins in October; Kennedy 50c Mintages Now the Highest Since 1996

Kennedy half dollar and quarters
So far in 2023, the U.S. Mint has struck 44.8 million Kennedy half dollars, the most since 1996.

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

Month Mintages Rank
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

Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cent 126,800,000 126,024,000 252,824,000
Jefferson Nickel 30,720,000 30,237,000 60,957,000
Roosevelt Dime 0 20,000 20,000
Quarters 84,400,000 84,000,000 168,400,000
Kennedy Half-Dollar 16,000,000 3,710,000 19,710,000
Native American $1 Coin 0 0 0
Total 257,920,000 243,991,000 501,911,000


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.

YTD Totals

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:
Denver 2088M 707.28M 1238.5M 1232M 27.8M 1.12M 5294.7M
Philadelphia 2050.024M 665.287M 1362.52M 1234.8M 17.01M 1.12M 5330.8M
Total 4138.024M 1372.567M 2601.02M 2466.8M 44.81M 2.24M 10625.5M


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.

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

Denver Philadelphia Total
Lincoln Cent 2,088,000,000 2,050,024,000 4,138,024,000
Jefferson Nickel 707,280,000 665,287,000 1,372,567,000
Roosevelt Dime 1,238,500,000 1,362,520,000 2,601,020,000
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
Kennedy Half-Dollar 27,800,000 17,010,000 44,810,000
Native American $1 Coin 1,120,000 1,120,000 2,240,000
Total 5,208,300,000 5,245,361,000 10,453,661,000


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Mike Unser write: “Kennedy 50c Mintages Now the Highest Since 1996” I’d like to add, so is whomever(Highest) is ordering these from the Mint as a collectible and the person in charge of the ordering done by the Fed! Where do these Kennedy halves end up?


With 45,000,000 Kennedy’s minted, who in the world feels compelled to collect them? Where do they end up?…excellent question, as I have yet to receive one in change this year (granted I rarely ever use physical money these days). Our consumers must be using these coins in harsh ways, maybe using them for target practice or as a fishing line weight (saving our planet by substituting for lead weights) for the mint to press so many. After all, these are hefty coins, and I’d assume we have billions of Kennedy half’s already in circulation for commerce purposes.


Craig, funny you mention the weights for fishing. I’ve kidded befor about taking either a 2014 Baseball Hall or Fame or 2019 Apollo Commemorative coin, drilling a small hole at 12 and 6 o’clock. Then attach a treble hook via snap ring at 6 and a snap swivel at noon, for an official US Mint Jiggign Spoon for Big Game Fish! The concavity or curvature of the 2 Commems I mention would lend themselves to some serious lure, “action”! LOL

Dazed and Coinfused

Maybe due to the entry wound in the throat, the lyndon b Johnson library or Russian embassy probably got them all as trophies. Never know


High JFK Half Dollars mintages, Maybe someone is trying to corner the market on those half$. Just like the Hunt Brothers tried to do with silver during the 1980’s.


Raphaelo, I’m thinking that the US Government is stockpiling them to be used eventually for weaponry/ammo for the military complex? So yeah, they are cornering the market! Or the Fed just want to make sure that they can easily make change for a dollar? LOL “Federal Reserve Inventories of $1 Coins at 1.155 Billion” by Mike Unser, 2018


Domenic Vaiasicca

Where are they and who uses them?


Domenic, again great question. Paul Gilkes wrote for Coin World law year: “2021 and 2022 circulation Sixty-six percent of the 15,166,400 circulation-quality finish 2021 Kennedy half dollars struck by the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, combined were shipped by the U.S. Mint to the Federal Reserve for release into circulation. U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White indicated that 10.3 million 2021 Kennedy half dollars — 6.2 million 2021-D coins and 4.1 million 2021-P coins — were produced for circulation release. The 2021 coins were the first half dollars placed into circulation by the Federal Reserve since 2001, a full two decades.” “2021… Read more »

Frankie Fontaine

Cash money for all…
in Zimbabwe


My tellers tell me they haven’t see any new half dollars, they’re all dated 2001 or earlier.

Frankie Fontaine

Yeah baby at the bank, naah I pay USM 2x face….. maroons


Okay, I *definitely* want to know where those Kennedy halves are going. Do you think it’s a coin-op business switching to half-dollars so customers don’t have to plunk in quite so many quarters? I certainly haven’t seen any end up in my till: I can tell you that much

And no wonder I haven’t seen a Jovita Idar quarter yet..small mintage


And to reply to myself since I forgot: Do you think mintages have been trending downward not because cash usage is way down but because the extra coins produced during the pandemic are finally being recirculated via CoinStars and like redistribution hubs, thus temporarily dampening demand?


one word: casinos

the el cortez in las vegas probably – although most casinos have ditched coins entirely, the el cortez is old school and they could easily be asking for a large chunk of those halves to use.