Updated figures are available for the United States Mint’s circulating coinage production through the end of March 2012. Production figures jumped compared to the prior month and year ago period, although the gains were generated by increases for the smallest denominations which offset losses for the higher denominations.
For the month of March 2012, circulating coin production reached 786.46 million coins. This is up from the prior month when 579.86 million coins were produced and up from the year ago period when 485.50 million coins were struck.
A breakdown of production by denomination and mint facility is shown below. Figures are included for the latest month along with a year to date total through the end of March 2012.
|2012 US Mint Coin Production Figures|
|Mar 2012||YTD 2012|
|Lincoln Cent – Denver||281.60 M||557.20 M|
|Lincoln Cent – Phil.||271.60 M||812.80 M|
|Jefferson Nickel – Denver||67.44 M||129.12 M|
|Jefferson Nickel – Phil.||48.00 M||145.44 M|
|Roosevelt Dime – Denver||52.50 M||187.00 M|
|Roosevelt Dime – Phil.||57.00 M||219.50 M|
|Quarters – Denver||0.20 M||47.00 M|
|Quarters – Phil.||0||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||1.68 M||4.48 M|
|Pres Dollar – Phil.||1.68 M||4.62 M|
|Total||786.46 M||2,164.06 M|
The cent, nickel, and dime accounted for 98.9% of production for the month. Remaining production consisted of a minor number of quarters and 8.12 million $1 coins.
For a separate article on Coin Update, I compared the production totals for the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2011. Although the number of coins produced is actually up for the current year, there are significant shifts in production by denomination. Specifically, the production of cents, nickels, and dimes is up, while production of quarters and $1 coins is down. These shifts will have a significant impact on the amount of seigniorage generated through circulating coin production.
At the broadest level, the US Mint was not responsible for the unprofitable shifts in coin production. The Treasury Department made the decision to suspend production of the $1 coin for circulation, resulting in a sharp decline in production for the denomination. The production levels for the remaining circulating denominations are based on orders placed by the Federal Reserve Banks, which are apparently requesting mostly cents, nickels, and dimes. Effectively, the Mint has been forced to stop producing their most profitable denomination and while increasing production of their least profitable denominations.
While higher metal costs had been chipping away at seigniorage generation for years, recent events might bring the situation to a more immediate conclusion. The authority to alter coinage compositions or denominations currently rests with Congress. They will likely be giving situation some close attention when the US Mint delivers its first report required under the Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act, due near the end of this year.