The current economic situation has caused a slow down in commercial activity and brought many long hoarded coins back into circulation. As a result, production figures for new coins are down dramatically. It’s a frequent observation that recessions produce key date coins, will this hold true for the current cycle?
The table below lists the 2009 coin production figures published by the US Mint for the first two months of the year. Some denominations have the separate designs split out (such as the quarters). In the past, once a figure had been posted for an individual design, this has represented the final production number. The figures for the static designs (and the Lincoln Cent which has not been separated by design) continue to increase as new months are reported.
|2009 Coin Production (Jan 2009 – Feb 2009)|
|Lincoln Cent||194.40 M||342.40 M|
|Jefferson Nickel||23.04 M||30.24 M|
|Roosevelt Dime||67.50 M||41.50 M|
|District of Columbia Quarter||83.60 M||88.80 M|
|Puerto Rico Quarter||53.00 M||86.00 M|
|Kennedy Half||1.70 M||1.70 M|
|Native American Dollar||7.28 M||0.70 M|
|William Henry Harrison Dollar||43.26 M||55.16 M|
While the numbers are uniformly low, there are a few figures that are of particular interest. The Lincoln Cent figure might represent a comparatively huge decline from prior years. Last year, each Mint produced more than 2.5 billion cents. If the figures above represent the total production for the “Birth and Early Childhood” design, this would be just a fraction of the usual cent mintage. Availability of the 2009 Lincoln Cent continues to be sporadic, except for the US Mint offering, which already pegs the value at $4.50 per roll.
The Jefferson Nickel and Roosevelt Dime figures will be figures to watch as we move further into the year. If the numbers above are annualized, the final mintages will have a drop of about 50% from the prior year levels. More importantly, I think these two denominations are much less likely to be saved by collectors since they are overshadowed by this year’s quarters and pennies. The availability of BU circulation strikes for this year might eventually be very limited.
The figures for the first two quarters from the District of Columbia & US Territories Quarters Program represent a sharp drop from the production figures for the prior State Quarters series. Last year, each mint produced roughly 200 – 250 million of each quarter. The lowest mintage for the entire State Quarters series was the Oklahoma Quarter with 194.6 Million. The figures above indicate that the 2009-D Puerto Rico Quarter has a production of only 53 million. A circulating quarter has not had a mintage this low since 1962.
One thing to note about the figures. They seem to represent coin production for coins minted during 2009. It’s possible that the US Mint produced 2009-dated coins during December 2008, which may be included in the prior year numbers. This is particularly evident for the Native American Dollars figure- the prior year figure experienced a huge jump in December, which seems to be attributable to 2009 Native American Dollars produced rather than an extra run of 2008 Sacagawea Dollars. For this reason, some of the production figures might not translate directly into the final mintages.
Nevertheless, there will most likely be some very low mintage 2009 coins when all is said and done. It won’t be easy, but if you can acquire fresh rolls of 2009 coins from your bank at face value and put them away, I think you will be rewarded down the road.
I will follow up on the 2009 coin production situation as we move through the year, but you can also track the numbers directly on the US Mint’s website here.