US Mint Coin Production March 2012

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.

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  1. says

    Quarter production just keeps falling and falling. The stockpile of state quarters at the Federal Reserve must be gigantic. I wonder if the AtB circulating quarters will ever get off the ground at this rate…

    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.

    I think even more than that, what will get Congress’ attention will be when the US Mint releases its financials to show what will probably be a loss.


    A better question might be “Why is the Federal Reserve ordering so many cents?”

  2. Shutter says

    I can actually understand pennies. A lot of them get taken out of circulation (couch coushions, penny jars). With new designs in the last couple of years, more people are hanging on to them. Also a bunch of people are fishing for older copper pennies and hoarding them. Besides, it’s only 28% increase over 2011 pace. But nickels? Seriously? We really need 78% more of them? In my experience it the least used coin. If you have supply of all others, it’s the only coin that you never need more than 1, when giving change.

  3. auxmike says

    I hope we follow Canada’s bold move and wean ourselves off of the cent. They cost too much to make, and the public hates them! I’ve seen people pick out pennies from their pocket and literally pitch them away. If the dollar bill ever gets put out to pasture there sure will be plenty of dollar coins to get started with….

  4. Sam says

    So I have to ask, with this large production, why is it so hard to get uncirculated rolls? bank tellers look at you like you have two heads when you ask for new rolls

  5. ClevelandRocks says

    Looks like DC was correct. No price decrease. Average spot in middle of lower tier, but today’s am fix $1654. He may have to wait maybe a year or two to purchase his 2011 gold Buffalo from the Mint.

    Look forward to the weekly sales report. Should show pathetic sales.

  6. stephen m. says

    Do away with the penny, maybe. I think the nickel will be with us for a while and with their copper content it could be cheaper to make now instead of later.

  7. SmallPotatos says

    Where are all these new coins? I have received maybe 6 dimes, and a dozen cents that are 2012. haven’t seen a single nickle yet that is 2012, and rarely see anything that is 2009 to 2011. I agree with Sam, go and ask for new rolls, even at the bank where supposedly they ‘distribute’ the rolls to other banks, and the tellers are dumbfounded.

  8. Jeremy says

    @DCDave, perhaps that may depend on what you calculate your time to be worth. Is there value in the circulating copper pennies, absolutely!

  9. DCDave says

    @Jeremy, you would need to collect over 10,000 pre-1983 pennies to net $150. Not worth MY time.

  10. DCDave says

    To all copper penny collectors: 70 1964 dimes ($7 face) are worth more than 10,000 ($100 face) pre-1983 pennies, any questions?

  11. Jeremy says

    @DCDave, the argument presented is based on current economic conditions and US dollar strength. However, why did they discontinue the use of copper for the penny to begin with?

    You’re basing those calculations by today’s dollar standards while many others maybe more future oriented. Not only will copper continue to maintain value, perhaps indefinitely, they may also contain numismatic value for generations to come.

    I often wonder how many people gave much thought to the currency they used on a daily basis as a means of historical reference and significance for generations of the future. I saw a news story regarding the elimination of the penny from Canadian coin circulation in which pennies were placed on the ground in order to determine if there were any interest by passers by. None took notice, I can only assume since people are accustomed to these coins in handling them in their everyday lives and in a sense have taken them for granted. However, once they are removed from circulation and become scarce
    coins tend to generate an interest in which the value perceived is greater than the value considered when they had circulated.

  12. DCDave says

    I think the copper ’09 Lincolns will be good colectables in years to come, but don’t think copper will ever make more sense to own than silver or gold. They stopped making copper cents since it was a money looser, especially when you make hundreds of millions of them. My point is that collecting older pennies may be fun, it will not be profitable due to the amount of them (and weight) needed to make any significant $$$. Gold and silver look prettier anyhow. Silver gets “toned” and copper gets “brown”….

    Many classic commemorative silver sells for highest premiums, not for the quality (MS rating) per se, but for how cool the oxidation looks. Can’t say that about old copper coins. They always have most premiums for original red unoxidized look.

  13. Jeremy says

    I don’t think anyone could logically conceive of copper ever having a value beyond that of gold or silver. However, copper was discontinued as the metal content of the circulating penny due to inflationary cost. Copper may tarnish to a brown color as it oxidizes just as silver will ultimately turn black, “toning” is just part of the process, if exposed to the elements as well.

    Furthermore, there is an opportunity to cull coins containing metal of value beyond that of face value, why not take advantage? The storage argument wouldn’t really become an issue unless you have multiple thousands of dollars worth. Furthermore, once again, the profitability is being based on US currency standards of TODAY. Neither is the US and global monetary policies being considered nor is that of, as stated earlier, potential numismatic value.

  14. stephen m. says

    I like to check my change to see what treasures i may have recevied back in change. Today it was a 1949 Lincoln cent. No it isn’t really worth much today but i’ll keep it just the same.

  15. says

    In the 2009 United States Mint Lincoln coin & Chronicles set, commemorating President Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday and the 100th Anniversary of the first US coin to bear an image of a President, the four special One Cent pieces with the scenes: Birth if Kentucky, Formative years in Indiana, Professional life in Illinois, & Presidency in Washington, D.C. on the reverse were mint in 95% copper ( the composition of the one cent pieces in the year of Mr. Lincoln’s birth). Excellent uniqueness for us Collectors. I was wondering if, since the annual Silver Proof sets produces by the US Mint for Collectors includes unique 90% Mint Silver composition of the Half Dollar, Quarter, and Dime, why couldn’t the US Mint include a 95% Copper Penny each year in this “special” Collector’s set also. The Mint could raise the price of this improved “Silver/Copper Proof” set and the Collector’s would buy everyone produced.

  16. Buckeye says

    The only 2012 coin I’ve received from circulation is a penny my folks brought back in change – during their vacation in Aruba. I was amused, it would seem you have to travel out of the country to get a coin minted this year.

  17. retiredpara says

    Who cares? Our money has been debased since the Federal Reserve started printing notes, and our coinage has been ruined since ’65. Bet you wish those dimes and quarters were still silver! Then again, no one understands why our Constitution calls for gold and silver to be money, period.

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