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Nickels, dimes head to 50-year low

Production of nickels and dimes is running at low levels not seen in almost 50 years.

However, whether the final mintage total at the end of the calendar year 2009 stays low enough for the coins to command premiums on the secondary market is something that might have collectors on edge until New Year’s.

So far, fewer than 40 million nickels have been struck at each of the two mints striking coins for circulation. (See tables for exact numbers.)

These totals make them of the same order of magnitude as production levels from the late 1950s.

Dime mintages for 2009 are higher, but they also fit easily with the mintages of the 1950s. Philadelphia is just under 100 million and Denver just under 50 million.

With the Federal Reserve not needing any more in the current fiscal year, the totals might stay where they are. However, the next fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and new demand could occur to prompt further production.

The Mint has also said that it will stockpile some coins this year. Could some of them be additional nickels and dimes?

This bears watching.

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