This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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If October U.S. Mint production was a television reality show, the quarter would be the star.
After a very sluggish year, in October the Mint’s two coining facilities in Denver and Philadelphia spit out approximately 20 percent of the entire 2010 annual mintage to date.
To be sure the raw numbers were only 68.8 million coins – a pale shadow of state quarter production. However, 20 percent is still 20 percent.
These were divided precisely at 34.4 million each from the “D” and “P” mints. The “P” mint holds a slight lead for the running total for 2010 at 173.6 million versus 173.4 million.
For the year the Mint has struck 347 million quarters, which is not even a mediocre total from one production facility for one state quarter design.
Even with the five 2010 America the Beautiful designs, demand for new quarters is lagging badly.
Nickel production actually was a tad more on a percentage basis than the quarter performance, but rounding yields the same 20 percent of annual production figure. Since it was starting from a higher level, the nickel output seems less startling.
Dime production has nearly reach 1 billion for 2010, returning to 2008 production levels, the first denomination actively used in circulation to return to pre-crisis demand levels.
Presidential dollar and Native American dollar production moves ahead at a pace set by demand from the Federal Reserve that it says is what is mandated by the authorizing laws regardless of need in the real economy.
Since October is the first month of the new fiscal year for the federal government, multiplying the monthly totals for the cent through quarter by 12 provides a glimpse into what the Mint thinks will be needed to sustain the economy next year.
From that perspective, it looks like 5.1 billion cents, 1 billion nickels, 1.63 billion dimes and 826 million quarters will have 2011 dates on them.