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Quarter mintage extends decline

The long decline in quarter production continues. Just as every design in last year’s District of Columbia and U.S. Territories program was lower than the prior one, so too is the first design of the America the Beautiful series.

Quarter production for the Hot Springs, Ark., coin dropped 18 percent to 59.6 million pieces as compared to the Northern Mariana Islands total of 72.8 million.

Output for the Hot Springs design was evenly divided. Philadelphia cranked out 30.6 million coins and Denver came it at 29 million.

If production stabilizes at this level, the 2010 quarter total would fall just short of 300 million pieces divided among five designs and two mints.

However if the rate of decline were to match that of 2009 where the six-design series saw almost 58 percent fewer quarters produced at the end as at the beginning that would result in the final design of 2010 coming in at just over 25 million coins, or roughly 12.5 million apiece from each mint.

How low can quarter mintages go before collectors start nibbling?