Circulating Coin Production- Chester Arthur Dollars and El Yunque Quarters

The United States Mint has provided updated circulating coin production figures, covering the month of February 2012. Total production figures have also been indicated for the Chester Arthur Presidential Dollar and the El Yunque National Forest Quarter.

For the month of February 2012, circulating coin production reached 579.86 million. This is a decline from the previous month when 802.50 million coins were struck, but a rise from the year ago period which saw 534.14 million coins struck.

Cents, nickels, and dimes accounted for more than 90% of production for the current month. Production figures by denomination and mint facility are shown below. The first number column represents the total for the month, while the second column represents the year to date total.

2012 US Mint Coin Production Figures
Feb 2012 YTD 2012
Lincoln Cent – Denver 113.20 M 275.60 M
Lincoln Cent – Phil. 235.20 M 541.20 M
Jefferson Nickel – Denver 20.64 M 61.68 M
Jefferson Nickel – Phil. 55.20 M 97.44 M
Roosevelt Dime – Denver 50.50 M 134.50 M
Roosevelt Dime – Phil. 52.50 M 162.50 M
Quarters – Denver 21.80 M 46.80 M
Quarters – Phil. 22.00 M 47.80 M
Kennedy Half – Denver 0 1.70 M
Kennedy Half – Phil. 0 1.80 M
Native Am Dollar – Denver 1.96 M 2.80 M
Native Am Dollar – Phil. 2.80 M 2.80 M
Pres Dollar – Denver 1.96 M 2.80 M
Pres Dollar – Phil. 2.10 M 2.94 M
Total 579.86 M 1,382.36 M

In addition to the overall numbers, the Mint also provided production totals by design for the first 2012-dated America the Beautiful Quarter and Presidential Dollar. The US Mint has typically provided these totals once the production for a specific design has been concluded. They have specifically reserved the right to re-start production for quarter designs during the same calendar year. I am trying to obtain confirmation whether the same is true for Presidential Dollars. In the past, once production of Presidential Dollars had concluded, it was not subsequently re-started.

For the 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter, production was indicated as 25 million at Denver and 25.8 million at Philadelphia, for an overall total of 50.8 million. This represents yet another new mintage low for the series. Previously, the Olympic National Park Quarter had the lowest mintage at a combined 61 million. Here’s a table of mintages for each release of the series so far.

The low production for the latest quarter design is very surprising. Near the end of last year, the US Mint seemed to be increasing production of quarters. The total for the Chickasaw Quarter was more than double the previous release, but rather than the signal of a new trend, this might have just been an anomaly. We might be looking at a third year of extremely low production totals for the America the Beautiful Quarters.

For the Chester Arthur Dollar, production was indicated as 2.80 million at Denver and 2.94 million at Philadelphia, for an overall total of 5.74 million. This is a huge decline from the previous release featuring James Garfield, which had production of 74.2 million.

In December, the Treasury Department announced the suspension of production of Presidential Dollars for circulation. Only a limited number would continue to be produced to satisfy demand from collectors. The US Mint’s production of 5.74 million Chester Arthur Dollars is likely based on the projected demand from collectors.

Curiously, there is still no release date provided for the start of sales for the Chester Arthur Dollar rolls or other 2012 Presidential Dollar products.

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Comments

  1. says

    Very strange numbers. The mintage of Chester A. Arthur coins now exceeds the Kennedy halves and yet they still won’t put them up for sale. Likewise, the low production of El Yunque makes absolutely no sense to me in the face of Chickasaw.

    As always, thanks for the analysis Michael.

  2. limalo says

    Michael,

    You may want to check some of the figures in the February column versus the year-to-date (YTD) column. In some case, February is higher than YTD, for example, Jefferson Nickel Philadelphia shows 55.20 M in Feb. but only 42.24 M for the YTD. Other like that are Native American Denver showing 1.96 M in Feb. and 0.84 M YTD, Native American Philadelphia 2.80 M in Feb. but only O for YTD, Presidential Dollar Denver is 1.96 M for Feb. vs. 0.84 M YTD, and Pres Dollar Phila. is 2.10 M Feb vs. 0.84 M YTD. Sorry to be picky but some of these numbers seem to be reversed for February versus YTD.

    As usual, though, thanks for a great website/blog.

    LL

  3. Fosnock says

    What is really strange is I found a El Yunque in circulation. I have yet to see any of the 2011 quarters in circulation and only 3 2010s

  4. auxmike says

    I might pick up some rolls of Kennedy halves, you can’t beat those mintage stats! ATB quarters, I think I’ve had 4 at the most since their inception…
    I guess all those pennies keep going in the jars in everyone’s homes,LOL!

  5. Michael says

    I mixed up the YTD column. I will fix that.

    Also, according to the Mint, the Chester Arthur Dollar figures are preliminary. If numismatic sales prove robust, the US Mint will restart production.

  6. vaughnster says

    Ordered two SSB proofs Monday afternoon and they arrived today. That’s the kind of service we deserve!

  7. VA Bob says

    auxmike- The Kennedy half’s have been closely around those mintages for the last 10 years. I just wish they were handled a little better for the collector rolls. After all there is a premium on them, the collector should get something for their money besides a fancy paper wrapper. Sometimes they look beat up. Glad they lowered the prices a bit.

  8. Louis says

    Kennedys are only made for collectors, whereas the quarters are at least in theory circulation coins, so a low mintage for one is not the same as a low mintage for the other.

  9. Tom P. says

    @VA Bob

    It would also be really nice if they had ‘heads’ on at least one side of the roll. Very annoying to get rolls with both sides ‘tails’.

    I also picked up an El Yunque quarter in circulation yesterday.

    To me they are basing the new Presidential dollar mintages on the Sac. dollars. I think they are still making too many. There was only 1 Sac. dollar per year, now there are 4 Presidential dollars per year. At $30+ per roll, it’s alot of money to pay for all 8 rolls.

  10. Jeff says

    Fosnoch,
    I see 2011 quarters all the time. I do not live in a metero area either. What’s the problem ?

  11. says

    Jeff,

    You are one of a few then. I live in a major metropolitan area with a local Fed branch maybe 30-40 minutes away, and I never see quarters newer than 2008. I’ve seen maybe five 2010s, a handful of 2009s, and no 2011s. The overwhelming evidence I’ve seen is that the coins are just not circulating.

    No one in my local area has any idea what the AtB program is, but they all seem to know about the state quarter program. There’s a major problem with these coins circulating.

  12. Nate says

    I’ve seen one Chickasaw. Nobody I know has a clue about what AtBs are. Maybe if they start circulating in out years it will draws peoples interest in the series and help values of the earlier AtB circulating/bullion/numismatic issues. One can hope….

  13. Dolores says

    Off-Topic Anyone receive their SSB proof yet. I bought first day offered and no email yet as to shipping.

  14. Fosnock says

    Jeff:
    No idea what is up. I have been forced to buy them from the mint or E-bay. I do not live in a major metropolitan area but it is a good mid-sized city. After a couple of post here I went to my credit union (I hate banks), and even they could not even get them (at least at that time). I have found all my ATBs at a Wendy’s located next to the airport, which indicates that they might have come from out of town

  15. Fosnock says

    Boy I’m I a hypocrite, after all my talk I ordered the 2012 NATIONAL INFANTRY SPECIAL SET. I figured why not, and it is starting to sound like a winner. In the worst case scenario it can set next to my braille set. Thanks for the update Michael!

  16. Brad says

    Fosnock,

    Hee hee, I had practically forgotten about the braille set. I have a couple of those myself. It’s the poster child for the statement “low-mintage does not necessarily equal high value.” Only a serious surge in silver will bail me out of that purchase! 🙂

    And by the way, I too am starting to consider picking up the DOF set after an initial chilly reception. If it sells out early, it might have some short-term value before people come to their senses.

  17. says

    Brad and Fosnock,

    I would not be so dismissive of the infantry coins.

    I think it is an ugly coin, one of the worst in years, and at this pace of sales we’re definitely going to see a sellout of the DoF and there’s some potential for a sellout of the entire issue. It was poorly advertised too with only really coin bloggers writing much about it. No one on MNB ever seems to comment much about it.

    And yet the thing is just flying off the shelves, the Mint can’t keep it in stock. If you look at the product page for it right now, none of the infantry coins are actually available for immediate shipping. Maybe we’ll start seeing a slowdown in sales with the release of the SSB coin?

    Regardless, I think the DoF has the potential for a semi-quick sellout, so you might see some secondary market value for it.

  18. Brad says

    Captain,

    Yeah, I’m pretty certain I’ll be buying at least one of the DOF sets, maybe two or three. I’m keeping an eye on the weekly sales figure and will be sure to get in before it’s too late. I’m wondering if the Mint will ship them in the white cardboard envelope packaging to protect the covers, or if they’ll just ship loose in shrinkwrap. The covers look pretty prone to creasing, and for me that would spoil the product’s appearance somewhat. A little bit of protection in transit would be nice. That brown paper bag material they use is pretty much worthless.

  19. vaughnster says

    As posted earlier, I received both SSB proof coins yesterday and it is one of the nicest looking commemoratives in recent memory. One of the few coins where BOTH obverse and reverse are equally appealing to look at. I may pick up a few more. I agree with several posts about the DOF sets being secondary winners. They should easily sell out before the June ship date which may create some built up demand leading up to the shipping date, kind of like, but nowhere near, the ASE 25th Anniversay set. Best of all you don’t get charged until they ship. I purchased a few to keep and a few more to possibly flip. At $52 a set, it’s not a tremendous anount of money to take a flyer on these.

  20. JohnT58 says

    Michael,
    Given the correction to the mintage tables, the following statements no longer seem to apply. While the mintage number for El Yungue still lag the Chickasaw production, their numbers are now greater than the previous ATB releases with a month of production remaining.

    For the 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter, production was indicated as 25 million at Denver and 25.8 million at Philadelphia, for an overall total of 50.8 million. This represents yet another new mintage low for the series. Previously, the Olympic National Park Quarter had the lowest mintage at a combined 61 million. Here’s a table of mintages for each release of the series so far.

    The low production for the latest quarter design is very surprising. Near the end of last year, the US Mint seemed to be increasing production of quarters. The total for the Chickasaw Quarter was more than double the previous release, but rather than the signal of a new trend, this might have just been an anomaly. We might be looking at a third year of extremely low production totals for the America the Beautiful Quarters.

  21. Hidalgo says

    I am reading the blog entries for the DOF set. I am not so certain that it will sell out as quickly as folks here think it might. Typically, any new item sells in large quantities when first introduced. Then sales numbers taper off. Since no one can predict the future, all I can say is “time will tell.”

  22. vaughnster says

    Hidalgo–

    In two weeks time 75% of the DOF sets have sold. The Mint won’t ship until June, three months from now. I think it’s definitely a safe bet that the sets will sell out. I’m guessing by the end of March. I wouldn’t wait too long. This is a pretty cool set that is drawing a lot of interest.

  23. Brad says

    It looks like we COULD have our first First Spouse casualty of the year coming soon. The Julia Grant proof coin is backordered now. It could be close to a sellout, or it could simply need more COA’s printed up. I just thought you might like to know to watch it.

  24. Fosnock says

    JohnT58,

    The mintage level for the El Yunque quarters was not involved in the mix-up and remains the same at 50.8 million. You can always check the mintage’s from the US mint’s website

  25. JohnT58 says

    Fosnock,
    These numbers are what is posted in the blog above:

    2011 US Mint Coin Production Figures

    Feb 2012 YTD 2012

    Quarters – Denver 21.80 M 46.80 M
    Quarters – Phil. 22.00 M 47.80 M

    If my math is correct that adds up to 94.6 million, not 50.8 million. Something is not right.

  26. Nate says

    Did anyone see that a couple of DOF sets have been sold recently on eBay for $70? I don’t know why buyers don’t do a simple Google search to learn that they can buy direct from the Mint at issue price. I feel bad for them but people should do a little research before they go buying something…

  27. Michael says

    Based on what the US Mint is reporting, the 2012 YTD total production for quarters is 94.6 million. The total production for El Yunque Quarters is 50.8 million.

    The extra 43.8 million would presumably reflect the start of production for the Chaco Culture Quarters.

  28. DCDave says

    The DOF set does not do it for me (fake dog tag and all). Not a great design.
    When common sense sets in, even as a sell out, I don’t see it having the desirability that the Lincolon Chronicles did (with the cool pennies included too). I actually think the Braille set is more interesting.

    The SSB silver is cool looking, but way too high mintage for eventual premium, but I will buy it cause I want to keep it.

  29. Louis says

    Vaughnster,
    65%, not 75%, of the DOF sets have sold out. I do think we will see a sell out, but that is no guarantee of a premium. And as Michael explained, the unavailability of other silver products during the weeks it has been on sale may have played a role. As Hidalgo said, we will see……..

  30. vaughnster says

    Louis–

    This is what CoinNews.net reported on March 7th–“It would appear that the Infantry Soldier Silver Dollar Defenders of Freedom Sets are moving toward a sell out as 73.4% of the authorized 50,000 have been taken in just over two weeks.”

    I’m not going to argue about it but that is where I got the statistic.

  31. DNA says

    The Chickasaws are just as hard to find in circulation as the other four 2011 Quarters, despite the huge increase in mintage. I’ve found only two Chickasaws so far, compared to four or more of every other 2011 design. I got an El Yunque in change three days ago.

  32. Louis says

    Vaughnster,

    I was going by Michael’s figures as mentioned in the post above and as posted on Coin Update. Plus, I get the same figures every week from the Mint and just divided them as Michael did above. I would not rely on CoinNews.net.

  33. Starter Set says

    Are they trying to build hype or something by constantly delaying the pres coins? This is redic!

  34. Hidalgo says

    @StarterSet – I believe the change in the law (and thus, quantities mandated by law to be minted) are impacting the release/sales of the Presidential coins. The coins may have already been minted, but likely are not ready (or are currently being) packaged for sale in the future.

    Patience is a virtue :o) . The coins will be offered.

  35. Hidalgo says

    @Michael – the low mintages for the 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter just goes to show that low mintages alone do not drive secondary market values. There’s got to be demand in the marketplace.

    I remember reading your blog article about the declining mintages for the US Territory coins. Yes, they reached historic lows (for clad coins) but that does not seem to have resulted in significant secondary market price increases for these coins.

    Also, when I look at the “low mintage” special edition Canadian, Perth, and other world coins, many of them sell for just a fraction above their original sales prices.

    I bought two of the 2011 Army gold uncirculated coins and the 2011 W burnished $50 eagle coins. I am patiently waiting to see a significant price increase with these coins. If I see no movement by next year, I’ll sell them on eBay :o)

  36. says

    Hidalgo,

    On the issue of low mintages for the clad coins leading to higher premiums, it might be worth mentioning that you’re not necessarily going to have a takeoff in premiums overnight. You’re more likely to start seeing premiums go up, in my opinion, when the AtB series concludes or is nearing its end and you get people trying to acquire the whole set in one go, or trying to fill the holes in their coin albums. Should the Mint finally become able to disburse later issues of the coins to the general public and raise awareness of the AtB program, that may also generate enough interest on previous low mintage issues to cause a surge in premiums.

    Even then I would not expect premiums to get really high. You are never ever going to get $20 per quarter or something.

    Another thing also hurting the AtB quarters is the gold and silver craze. With the over-focus on gold and silver coins, interest in clad coinage has dropped. I remember even when premiums started to go up on the army uncirculated half-dollars, a lot of people were dismissive of it because it was a clad product. Right now it’s going on eBay for $70-$80 bucks.

    I think you may see a turnaround in this situation if/when gold and silver prices finally stabilize.

  37. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    Remember the Mint reserves the right to produce quarters within the calendar year, so the 2012 El Yunque quarter mintage is still preliminary.

  38. Tim says

    Since 2010 I have made my group of co-workers (45 in all) aware of the ATB quarters by printing each issues design on a 8×11 sheet of paper. They now know what it is they are finding in their change and now will not part with them, so that backfired on me!!! One guy this week had 3 of the latest El Y’s and had not even noticed until I brought it up at the coffee break. None of them had a clue about the new program. The money the mint continues to loose makes no sense.

  39. Hidalgo says

    @Captain – I’m not so sure about premiums going up when the ATB series concludes. I certainly have not seen premiums go up with the State/Territory quarters because or scarcity. The silver quarters, in general, have gone up in value because of their bullion value. But the 1999 silver quarters have fallen significantly in value.

    I agree that non-PM coins (e.g., clad, copper, nickel, etc.) are not very appealing to collectors/investors right now. The 2011 Army clad uncirculated coin is an exception to the general rule. But there typically are exceptions to what is considered to be the norm.

    By the way, sales of $70 – $80 for the uncirculated clad 2011 Army halves appear to be for M69 graded coins. Not all coins are graded. Such coins in their OGP sell for less.

  40. says

    Hidalgo,

    I’ve seen OGP army uncircs go for $70-$80 for “buy it now” on a semi-frequent basis (see this auction by way of example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2011-D-Uncirculated-Half-Dollar-Clad-Army-Commemorative-Coin-ARM6-/220968015631?pt=Coins_US_Individual&hash=item3372b8570f), though you’re right it’s more common for them to be a bit lower at $60-$70. The NGC 69s seem to go for that or a little bit more. The PCGS 69s, though, I’ve seen in the mid-$100 range.

    As for the state and territory quarters, they are still very plentiful and are easily found in day-to-day change. Just for fun in 2010, I put together an album of the regular 50 state quarters within a few weeks just from coins I found in normal business transactions. Only some of the later issues of the territories seem to be rare like Northern Marianas, though I will admit I haven’t seen any territory quarters in my change in quite some time.

    The main reason why I think the AtBs could perform well is because the majority don’t seem to be circulating very widely and the potential for people to become interested in the older issues when the Mint finally makes the general public aware of the program. I remain fairly optimistic of the chances for small premiums on uncirculated varieties of the low-mintage issues.

  41. DCDave says

    Reality Check:

    Coin collecting is bad as an investment. Pretty much all clad sets sell for below issue price. Pretty much all PM products will end up doing worse than if you bought true “bullion” over time.

    Though there are a few long term “winners” there are more long term “winners” in stocks (ie. Apple, Google, IBM).

    Also, a portfolio of stocks are easier to store.

    The idea of collecting for “gifts” also is not a good reason, since most people don’t really care about coins and would much rather have an itouch or a $40 itune gift card over a silver quarter set.

    So….collect what you like AND take time to look at your collection or what’s the point!

  42. Matt L. DeTectre says

    Just a reminder to those who use eBay “buy now” prices to establish a coin’s value. The “buy now” price is an asking price. Unless you track the coin on eBay and watch what happens to it the “buy now” price is sometimes the sellers fantasy price. A better way of determining current value is to track coins with bids placed on them to see what they go for.

    “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero.” Voltaire

  43. Hidalgo says

    @Matt. Value is what someone is willing to pay for an item. So I always look at the prices collectors paid for CLOSED eBay auctions for identical coins (including year, mint mark, condition/grade, etc.) to determine a coin’s value at the time.

    I’ve done this for years. It’s the only way I can figure out what a “fair” price is if I plan to sell a coin using the Buy it Now option on eBay.

  44. Matt L. DeTectre says

    Hidalgo, correct. That was what I meant when I suggested we track what like coins are bid at. The closed auction is what was paid by the bidder whether though a “buy now” or bid process. What someone is willing to pay is their bid. Many sellers, probably most, don’t set “fantasy” prices but there are some so due diligence is required. I believe we are both suggesting a similar process for determining a current value with emphsis on “current” as I don’t know how long eBay keeps their closed auctions available for revew.

    “If printing money is the way to economic prosperity where did Zimbabwe go wrong.” James G. Rickards

  45. Coin Collector says

    Regarding the ATB quarters made for circulation, it is impossible to predict if or when they will carry a premium.

    Note that many now desireable coins originally made for circulation were totally ignored when they were originally released, and it often takes many decades for collectors to develop an interest in them.

    We must remember that supply and demand both play a part in the value of coins. Low mintages don’t guarantee a high future value if demand is also very low. Kennedy half dollars are a good example of this. I suspect that demand for Kennedy coins won’t go up soon because it doesn’t circulate (many people are hardly aware of it’s existance) and quite frankly, it is a very boring coin, with the design remaining the same since 1964. In fact, it is possible that Kennedy prices could go down as young collectors avoid them and older collectors die off or otherwise leave the hobby. No matter how minimal mintages are, as long as supply remains above demand prices will stay low.

    The ATB quarter situation is interesting because they are mass circulation coins with historically low mintages. Production of a single mintmark/design (for some coins) of around 35 million means that only 1 in 10 Americans can own a P & D set, and that only 1 in 5 Americans can own a single coin of a given design. Because these are circulating coins, each with a unique design, with extremely low mintages, there is potential for an increase in value. (Current mintage figures per design are comparable to the 1950’s, but the U.S. population has nearly tripled since then)

    The real question is about demand: Will there ever be any? As noted in other posts, very few people outside the collecting community even know about the ATB series. Unlike the state quarters there has been no publicity. It’s possible the public might have no interest because there are so many designs already in circulation that new designs are no longer a novelty. And quite frankly, with high unemployment, steadily rising inflation, declining real income, the housing crash and subsequent foreclosure crisis, and near record gas prices, I think most people right now are so focused on trying to survive that they don’t care about collecting quarters, ATB or otherwise.

    I think the future value of the ATB series wil be determined by several issues. First, will coins remain relevant in our increasingly cashless society? The less people use coins, the less they look at them, the less they will likely collect. Second, are coins interesting to collect when they are nearly worthless? My dad used to talk about how he could buy two pieces of candy for a penny, go to the movies for a dime, or buy a bottle of coke for a nickel. People used to carry coins because they had real purchasing power. These days, nobody wants to carry coins because they are nearly worthless. Again, people who don’t use coins or carry them are unlikely to develop interest in collecting them. Third, are current low mintages only temporary, caused by the bad economy and extremely high production of the state quarters series? If current production is the new reality, it is unlikely the ATB quarters will ever have much collector following. But if mintages eventually soar into the hundreds of millions, it is possible that the public could develop an interest in the series and cause a modest rise in prices for low mintage years as they try to put together a full set.

    I hope that eventual improvement in the economy will renew interest in saving coins, but as a coin collector I fear that we may be seeing a permanent shift in the way coins are produced, used, and collected.

  46. Shutter says

    So I always look at the prices collectors paid for CLOSED eBay auctions

    Using eBay to determine value is pretty unreliable. All you need is a small handful of idiots to bid up prices on something, and you get a temporary bubble. Recently a few silver eagles from Millennium set graded MS69, sold for over $200 (on sold for $280). That’s more than S or P coins from 2011 Anniversary Set were going for. I’m pretty sure that coin was not worth $280 then and is not worth it now.

  47. Hidalgo says

    @Coin Collector – great write-up. I enjoyed reading your comments and you made a number of legitimate points.

    @Shutter – to each his (or her) own.

  48. Two Cents says

    Whenever I do price research on eBay, I do what statisticians do — throw out the obvious highs and lows and look at the average and median numbers. I also look at the historical record (eBay keeps past auctions for approximately 90 days) to look for patterns and trends. And don’t forget to add in shipping to see what the real costs are to the buyers.

    Even completed auctions with no bidders can provide useful information, such as a coin’s upper price point. If no one is eager to bid on a coin with a Buy It Now or starting price of $xxx, then the value of the coin is most likely less than that.

    All this helps me to see if a particular coin or set is reasonable, overpriced or a bargain.

    On rare occasions, you can find shill bidding on eBay, where certain bidders appear to be confederates of the seller (or the seller with multiple IDs) to drive the price up. You can sometimes look at a lot of similar auctions and see patterns that indicate that something like this is happening.

  49. dan says

    Coin Collector

    Enjoyed your post about collecting. I would like to add one more thing. I think its part of that “New Normal” that I have heard people mention.. Not to date but myself but I started collecting with the coinage from my paper route. Nowadays collecting coins is competing with computer games, tweeting, texting and instant messaging. I have tried to keep grandkids, neices and nephews intrested but its a losing battle. I am afraid that with all you mentioned and this, the demand may just keep dwindling.

  50. SmallPotatos says

    This will probably be the last post on this article, as Michael has already published two mote after this one, but i wanted to say that i received my first 2012 coin in change this morning, it is a 2012 penny that i got at starbucks.

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