Penny Costs 3.07 Cents to Make in 2023, Nickel Costs 11.54 Cents; US Mint Realizes $249M in Seigniorage

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CoinNews photo 2023 Lincoln cent
In 2023, the U.S. Mint spent 3.07 cents to make and distribute each Lincoln cent. The Mint’s cost for each Jefferson nickel was 11.54 cents.

In its 2023 Annual Report, the United States Mint disclosed that the cost of manufacturing coins increased across all denominations, and for the eighteenth straight year, the unit cost for both pennies and nickels was above their face values.

The U.S. Mint struck over 10.5 billion coins for circulation during the fiscal year, down from 12.1 billion coins in the prior one.

"FY 2023 circulating coin shipments to the Federal Reserve Bank decreased by 1.6 billion units (13.2 percent) to a total 10.5 billion coins compared to last year. The year saw decreases in shipments of all denominations except the half-dollar, which resulted in decreased revenue and seigniorage compared to last year," the U.S. Mint’s annual report said.

The U.S. Mint generates revenue from the sale of coins at face value when they are shipped to Federal Reserve Banks for distribution into circulation.

Cos to Make Pennies and Nickels

In FY 2023, the U.S. Mint’s toll to make, administer and distribute the 1-cent coin increased to 3.07 cents from 2.72 cents (12.9%) and the unit cost for the 5-cent coin rose to 11.54 cents from 10.41 cents (10.9%).

Despite reduced production totals leading to increased per-unit costs, the U.S. Mint did experience a break in the prices of the metals used in making coins throughout the year.

"FY 2023 average spot prices for nickel decreased 5.1 percent to $23,481.25 per tonne, average copper prices also decreased 8.5 percent to $8,437.44 per tonne, and average zinc prices decreased 22.3 percent to $2,772.07 per tonne," the U.S. Mint’s report noted.

Lincoln cents have a composition of 2.5% copper with the balance zinc, while five-cent coins are minted with 25% nickel and the balance copper. Dimes, quarters, and half dollars are each composed of 8.33% nickel with the balance in copper.

Cost to Make Dimes, Quarters and Half Dollars

Unlike cents and nickels, the U.S. Mint was profitable in minting dimes, quarters, and half dollars, as the cost of manufacturing and distributing them was lower than their face values.

In FY2023, unit costs increased:

  • for the dime to 5.30 cents from 5.03 cents (5.4%),
  • for the quarter to 11.63 cents from 11.11 cents (4.7%), and
  • for the half dollar to 25.98 cents from 17.15 cents (51.5%).

The following two tables summarize Mint costs for the cent through half dollar in fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023.

FY 2023 Unit Cost to Produce and Distribute 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, and 50c Coins

One-Cent Five-Cent Dime Quarter Half Dollar
Cost of Goods Sold ($) 0.0272 0.1003 0.0463 0.1004 0.2203
Sales, General & Administrative ($) 0.0032 0.0138 0.0061 0.0145 0.0339
Distribution to Reserve Banks ($) 0.0003 0.0013 0.0006 0.0014 0.0056
Total Unit Cost ($) 0.0307 0.1154 0.0530 0.1163 0.2598

 

FY 2022 Unit Cost to Produce and Distribute 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, and 50c Coins

One-Cent Five-Cent Dime Quarter Half Dollar
Cost of Goods Sold ($) 0.0243 0.0917 0.0442 0.0975 0.1286
Sales, General & Administrative ($) 0.0026 0.0109 0.0054 0.0120 0.0286
Distribution to Reserve Banks ($) 0.0003 0.0015 0.0007 0.0016 0.0143
Total Unit Cost ($) 0.0272 0.1041 0.0503 0.1111 0.1715

 

FY 2021 Unit Cost to Produce and Distribute 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, and 50c Coins

One-Cent Five-Cent Dime Quarter Half Dollar
Cost of Goods Sold ($) 0.0181 0.0744 0.0386 0.0843 0.0917
Sales, General & Administrative ($) 0.0026 0.0095 0.0047 0.0106 0.0167
Distribution to Reserve Banks ($) 0.0003 0.0013 0.0006 0.0014 0.0083
Total Unit Cost ($) 0.0210 0.0852 0.0439 0.0963 0.1167

 

In profit from seigniorage — the difference between the face value and cost of producing and distributing circulating coins, the dime realized $125.5 million in FY 2023, while the quarter brought in $304 million. The U.S. Mint transfers seigniorage to the Treasury General Fund to help finance the national debt. Relatively few half dollars were produced for circulation compared to other denominations, resulting in the U.S. Mint earning $4.3 million from them.

In contrast, the cent and nickel have lost money since 2006.

Unit Costs and Seigniorage for Cent and Nickel from 2005 to 2023

Fiscal Year Lincoln Cent Unit Cost Jefferson Nickel Unit Cost Combined 1c and 5c Seigniorage (in millions)
2005 0.0097 0.0484 $4.40
2006 0.0121 0.0597 ($32.90)
2007 0.0167 0.0953 ($98.60)
2008 0.0142 0.0883 ($47.00)
2009 0.0162 0.0603 ($22.00)
2010 0.0179 0.0922 ($42.60)
2011 0.0241 0.1118 ($116.70)
2012 0.0200 0.1009 ($109.20)
2013 0.0183 0.0941 ($104.50)
2014 0.0166 0.0809 ($90.50)
2015 0.0143 0.0744 ($74.40)
2016 0.0150 0.0632 ($66.80)
2017 0.0182 0.0660 ($89.80)
2018 0.0206 0.0753 ($119.00)
2019 0.0199 0.0762 ($102.90)
2020 0.0176 0.0742 ($101.00)
2021 0.0210 0.0852 ($144.60)
2022 0.0272 0.1041 ($171.00)
2023 0.0307 0.1154 ($178.60)

 

The U.S. Mint produces and issues circulating coins to Federal Reserve Banks in quantities to support their service to commercial banks and other financial institutions. FY 2023 compared to the prior year saw production reductions across all but one denomination — the half dollar. During the fiscal year, the U.S. Mint shipped a total of:

  • 4.136 billion cents, down 23.2% from the previous year,
  • 1.416 billion nickels, down 1.8% from the previous year,
  • 2.666 billion dimes, down 6.4% from the previous year,
  • 2.274 billion quarters, down 6.3% from the previous year, and
  • 18 million half dollars, up 157.1% from the previous year.

The five denominations together comprise 10.51 billion coins, marking a decrease of 1.6 billion, or 13.2%, from the 12.111 billion coins delivered in FY 2022.

The Federal Reserve pays face value for each coin they receive and, as such, the U.S. Mint’s FY 2023 revenue for circulating coins totaled $956.1 million, down 6.3% from $1,020.7 million in FY 2022.

2023 Coin Shipments, Costs and Seigniorage
(coins and dollars in millions)

One-Cent Five-Cent Dime Quarter Half Dollar Mutilated & Other Total
Coins Shipments 4,136 1,416 2,666 2,274 18 10,510
Value of Shipments $41.4 $70.8 $266.6 $568.4 $8.9 $956.1
Gross Cost $127.4 $163.4 $141.1 $264.4 $4.6 $6.2 $707.1
Seigniorage ($86.0) ($92.6) $125.5 $304.0 $4.3 ($6.2) $249.0

 

2022 Coin Shipments, Costs and Seigniorage
(coins and dollars in millions)

One-Cent Five-Cent Dime Quarter Half Dollar Mutilated & Other Total
Coins Shipments 5,387 1,442 2,849 2,426 7 12,111
Value of Shipments $53.9 $72.1 $284.9 $606.3 $3.5 $1,020.7
Gross Cost $146.9 $150.1 $143.3 $269.2 $1.2 ($0.2) $710.5
Seigniorage ($93.0) ($78.0) $141.6 $337.1 $2.3 $0.2 $310.2

 

2021 Coin Shipments, Costs and Seigniorage
(coins and dollars in millions)

One-Cent Five-Cent Dime Quarter Half Dollar Mutilated & Other Total
Coins Shipments 7,613 1,736 3,066 2,274 12 14,701
Value of Shipments $76.1 $86.8 $306.6 $568.5 $6 $1,044.0
Gross Cost $159.7 $147.8 $134.6 $219.2 $1.4 $0.1 $662.8
Seigniorage ($83.6) ($61.0) $172.0 $349.3 $4.6 ($0.1) $381.2

 

After subtracting the year’s cost to produce the coins, which totaled $707.1 million, the U.S. Mint’s circulating profit or seigniorage totaled $249 million, representing a decrease of $61.2 million, or 19.7%, from $310.2 million in FY 2022.

The Federal Government operates on a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.

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Craig

It suddenly came to me why the mint is charging $1000 to press a 1 oz. Au coin, they’re using this excess money from sales to pay for their cost shortcomings in pressing coins for circulation. At least they’re cutting their costs a bit by minting lower amounts of the denominations from circulation. I wonder if they’re cutting their number of employees. I doubt it since government jobs have been going hyperbolic over the past few years. Well they won’t be getting that $1000 from me to offset their loses, but I’ll be contributing a lesser amount from the Morgan… Read more »

c_q

the mint is not operating at a net loss yet, just that their net profit (which goes to the federal government) is coming less from seigniorage and more from precious metal collector coin sales (e.g. that $1000 surcharge). and the mint has become much more reliant on these high-surcharge coins to help the federal budget – about 110% of that profit comes from precious metal coin sales (that’s not a typo – for 2022, of the $130m profit sent to the federal budget by the mint, $140m came from precious metal coins sales – everything else the mint sold actually… Read more »

Craig

I didn’t say the mint was operating at a loss, only that they are charging ridiculous premiums to the gullible to offset losses from pressing circulating coins. As far as to whether or not the mint is operating at a loss or profit, you’ll have to either believe their P/L statement or not. We all know the government would never fudge any document…right.

c_q

those ridiculous premiums aren’t just offsetting losses from circulating coins – they are contributing to the budget, so effectively it is a voluntary tax on coin collectors. originally these premiums were a lot more modest, enough to cover precious metal price fluctuations and packaging, but now they can adjust those prices dynamically so there’s no real need to have such a large premium – except to raise money for the federal budget. oh and as far as whether the financial statements are accurate – generally there are too many people involved in making the statements that if someone tried to… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by c_q
Dazed and Coinfused

Maybe. Maybe not. Trump has operated in New York since at least the 80s (home alone movie. Lol) and it took til now to determine that his Financials are worthy to thr point of shutting down his businesses in New York. What? 500 of his closest advisors are said to have been part of the cover up (not really 500, but you know, gotta have that gasp factor). We know he was being audited, as that’s why he didn’t post numbers during his first race and unable to provide them 4 years later. I know thr gubmint slow, but 5… Read more »

Craig

Dazed, I remember all of the tidbits you inserted in your post, and It just amazes me no one is ever held to account for anything, as long as they’re part of the deep state or swamp. I am impressed with your recall of all these incidences which clearly shows your mind is working far better than our current president, whomever that may be. They sure did round up all of those evil insurrectionists(?) in short order, but can’t find the person that left a packet of coke/crack in the white house. Curious. Maybe they just need more surveillance cameras.I’ve… Read more »

Dazed and Coinfused

I remember comey making his decision after not even calling Hillary to question. My guess is if she had child p0rn on her server she’d be arrested. If on her gubmint server, then it would have been national security which means forced retirement with buyout and full benefits. But classified info that could be hacked or stolen is perfectly fine as she testified for 9 hours before any real investigation done. No follow up. Innocent people don’t hire a computer guy to bleach bit wedding photos. Nor do they destroy several laptops and cell phones. They are taxpayer devices. We… Read more »

Craig

Dazed. they found that mother of the girlfriend killer guilty and I believe she’s getting life in prison for it. The father goes on trial next. Unfortunately for them, they’re of the wrong colour. You are right about news channels being scripted, that’s the main reason I only watch 1 program a night. It is sad. and funny at the same time, that key words are used and repeated on every individual show, what are the odds? No independent thought allowed these days. Are you buying the recent presidential silver medals? They are a steal for just $75. I guess… Read more »

Dazed and Coinfused

Oh my. John Stewart (not a fan, never really watched his show, but I commend him for his fight to help the nine eleven cops and firefighter and rescue workers get benefits) is back (I guess the constant switching of dei talking heads was a losing formula, plus hard to write for a black one day, a LGBT thr next, a white the next (though rare)) to take on the election. And to the amazed, he actually targeted biden more than Trump. More goofs and gaffs and even a close up begging people to realize what 20 years different makes.… Read more »

c_q

pleeeeeeze stop making cents – really! 99% wind up in drawers and cups after 1 use. I already see some store cashiers just round up to a nickel just to not mess with fishing them out, and virtually nobody spends them except by dumping jar-fulls into a coinstar machine. it’s nutty to keep making them when it costs 3x their value, requiring the mint to make ends meet in other ways as the chart above shows total seigniorage (government coin-producing profit) going down $60-70m each year, at that rate it will run a deficit by about 2026 (which the mint… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by c_q
Dazed and Coinfused

It’s the old, gotta spend money to make money theory, so with the 36 trillion we spent, Americans are gonna be rich rich rich. No wonder everyone is invading this racist, ageist, bigoted, self serving country in record numbers. FWIW. A fox cyron showed about 2.6 or 2.8 million entering US (can’t recall if it included got aways or not) and for biden it was 7.9. Mind you 1 million are from just the beginning of the year. And the numbers are going up daily. That is why I said 10 million in the other post. Where Craig’s comment of… Read more »

c_q

um, i was just talking about coins, you know…

Dazed and Coinfused

I know. Cause and effect. Mint decides to go all woke, and ostracizes it’s main demographic. Virtue signaling is the beacon to which these people are flocking here. They know the people in charge are going to kiss every square inch of their a55. They will be kings. And if you fail to appease them, they become tyrants. cause is the beacons being lot, effect is the border being over run. The cause is designed to show wokeness and gubmint support of your cause or your people. Effect they print more coins pushing us further into debt due to more… Read more »

c_q

I don’t rebut arguments on coin web sites that are not primarily about coins because you know, it’s a web site about coins not politics. the only reason to bring up the budget is not political but practical – administrations of both parties for decades have used the mint as a cash cow, but especially more in the last 10 years or so. and my position is that from a practical perspective, it makes no sense for any administration, dem or rep, to keep losing money making billions of tiny value coins hardly anyone uses anyway, regardless of ‘why’ they… Read more »

Craig

It does keep all those government employees employed. If one all of a sudden lowered the amount of coinage being pressed by 50-75%, wouldn’t it make logical sense to reduce the number of employees too. That never looks good for a politician. I’ve always wondered why we produce so many coins per year. Are there that many coins lost by consumers each year? Are we using them as lures for fishing or targets at the gun range? I’ve found a penny along a road that could’ve been run over a thousand times and I could still use it for commerce.… Read more »

c_q

there are only 3 mints making coins (ok well 4 if you count west point, but that seems to be a smallish operation compared to the others). the SF mint is smallest of the 3 and doesn’t make circulating coins anyway, so it’s probably the easiest one to shut down from a practical perspective. and although yes local politicians would be upset at losing the mint, it wouldn’t be too hard to turn it into housing which is in short supply in SF and that might make the politicians feel a little better at least. if you do the math,… Read more »

Dazed and Coinfused

Pennies and nickels are part of that necessary evil I spoke about long ago. The people collecting the coins are most likely greatest generation, silent generation, or gen x. So older folks either already on social security or soon will be if the money still there. So by your explanation, because budget is part of it and thieving hands are in the cookie jar then politics is absolutely part of the coin discussion. Boycott beer because a man chick likes it. Boycott chicken place because their religion closes the store on Sunday and by extention are responsible for the events… Read more »

Dazed and Coinfused

In a digital world I find it difficult to believe that pennies must be pressed exponentially more than other coins..Biden economy is rip roaring, but yet the penny was 2.4 cent to make last year and the nickel was I think 8 cent. Bit yet in a year it has gone up a lot. Is it because they have to issue different pics each coin? Not sure why the old school penny with Lincoln bust and memorial now has to be a shield or a law degree, or stove pipe hat, or theater tickets, or telegraph poles, emancipation proclamation, beard,… Read more »

Dazed and Coinfused

Left out wide open, not left wife. Some other autocorrect issues but I am sure you can decipher them. Smart phone. The technology that will soon fly us around the world, drive for us, and monitor our applications. Can’t imagine if it is so unable to properly interpret what I wrote (which didn’t need correcting to begin with) how bad it’ll be when EV self drive cars and tractor trailers become more prevalent

Craig

Dazed, the funniest part of watching ole unky joe during his ‘speech’ was when he said ‘I’m the president and I put this country back on its feet.’ I only feel sorry for anyone that still has confidence in our government. I think if I had to leave this country, France or Spain would be my preference destinations…great food and topography!

Dazed and Coinfused

Spain is nice. I contemplated belize. Or maybe Sweden or Finland. But their language is crazy. I guess with cell phone I can translate in real time. So impersonal though. Near Ireland and Scotland maybe, but not in England, unless countryside with castles nearby. South Africa maybe, but that’s similar to the US circa 1850s. After apartheid, I’m sure war wounds are not healed and revenge is being plotted. Philippines maybe, or Marshall Islands, but that is still US. Then again, no matter where you move, you still have to pay taxes to uncle Sam.

Craig

I do like Mexico as well, at least Cancun, but I haven’t been there for many years. The last time I traveled to Cancun all I saw was Mexican military walking around with AK 47’s, reminded me too much of Chicago. I’m always thinking in terms of risk/reward and when I see situations like that I’m taking way too much risk. Now , the only way I’d go to Mexico is if they’d let me carry and from what I hear, they frown on that. I wonder why some folks on this thread get concerned over a measly 250 million… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Craig
Morgan

Don’t kid yourself that all of those countries will let people from here move there, any more than we will let anyone who wants to from those countries move here. Check any immigration information site to discover that many of them require an extremely large — for me at least — bank deposit in an account there to be considered for permanent residency.

Dazed and Coinfused

I’ve checked. Some require $100,000 in checking account with a $50k or more income per person. Others say you have to live there 10 years. Some you have to renew your status and prove your income every 2 years and you’ll never be allowed to apply for citizenship. Some you have to find employment in the country and then prove you have a job before they allow you to apply for entry. Now Europe charges for a visa. Used to be free for Americans but now it helps their coffers. I doubt they will use that newfound money to contribute… Read more »

Dazed and Coinfused

So both coins became more to make than the face value in 2005. My guess is the cost of revenge for 9 eleven. But that was break even give or take. So under Obama and trump the cost went up almost exponentially. Obama took it to 1/2 cent give or take and trump took it to about a half cent increase as well. And under biden in about 3 years has added a full cent to the cost. I just did penny, I didn’t factor nickel. Obama took cost down it looks like. Trump added about 2 cent and biden… Read more »

Dazed and Coinfused

I want more transparency. Actually I demand it.

On these counters I want the previous sale the last sales the percentage I’m difference and also add column to show how many left available. If unlimited say unlimited. Or show percentage sold based on amount available . Such as

1000 200 2% and 99.3% avail or 1200 out of 450,000 or 1209 out of unlimited. Or 1200 out of 567,988 of unlimited pressed so far.

And maybe even add an unsold counter. Like 2017 liberty, xx,000 sold 340,000 unsold out of 400,000 with 30,956 returned and unsellable or melted

Domenic Vaiasicca

Can the cent be mixed/made out of a cheaper material and could the nickel be a “sandwich” coin like the dime,quarter and half? Otherwise i say axe the cent

c_q

the cent is already down to just a copper-coated piece of zinc, it’s going to be hard to make it cheaper and still be made of metal. they could do plastic cheaply but that probably wouldn’t fly, people want metal. they tried aluminum once but it was too light. they tried steel also, that didn’t work out so great either. even if there was a cheap metal out there, most likely the biggest cost of the cent isn’t the metal but the worker time needed to actually make the cent and move them around. the nickel however could be made… Read more »

Seth Riesling

c_q,

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, they made ration tokens & tax tokens out of a very cheap “fiber” material in red & blue colors. But, like you said, the current labor/wages cost would still be above 1 cent, but they could do the nickel in fiber & save money, but they wouldn’t work in vending machines (& the vending lobby in D.C. would never allow that).

NumisdudeTX

Dazed and Coinfused

Pieces of 10 I tell ya. Brits have really tiny coins. Just make penny smaller to where it cost. 004 to make

Dazed and Coinfused

If only there was a coin that is virtually free to make. Something always accessible. I can’t quite grasp it. I’m thinking analog. Something that is a bit of a mystery, cryptic you could say. I can almost see it in my mind. It isn’t a heavy coin that I see in an aluminum or steel color. A LITEral COIN so to speak, that isn’t heavy. Something that can appear magically from the ETHER net. One that is pan numeral. Binary even. Nope. Not a clue. Maybe one day the tech will catch up. Can you imagine coin searching in… Read more »

c_q

those aren’t ‘virtually free’ to make – they require a fair amount of computer power, which consumes energy and requires hardware that over time wears out and has to be replaced, plus of course you need to have space and ventilation for these things, it adds up. if you are talking about ‘mining’ bitcoin, the cost is $10000 or so for each one. but even for others it may be cheaper to mine, but still many orders of magnitude more than $.03 per coin. and once you have them made, to actually use them by transacting on a blockchain requires… Read more »

Dazed and Coinfused

Well technically, can be any digital coin, bitcoin is mined as that was the selling premise. Think of it like a new credit card. You just increased your spending by say $20,000 (just you) and the bank put 20,000 in your account instantly. Didn’t cost hardly anything, so versus making a die, and getting metals and pressing a 1 cent coin. They just issue cyber cents or whatever. Same as dogwcoin. Made as a joke. Was worth what .000000000001 cent and now I don’t know haven’t checked in a while but think it was 11.736363837377738977 cent each. I know it… Read more »