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Take Back Some Cents
January 12, 2011

The most interesting thing about December coin production at the U.S. Mint’s coining facility was not that output was only 80.2 million coins, the lowest monthly rate for 2010, but the fact that the Philadelphia cent total actually went down.

It was reported that for November, the Philadelphia Mint had struck 1,970,430,000 coins in the first 11 months of the calendar year. In December, the Philly cent total stood at 1,963,630,000.


We’ve seen adjustments to the weekly statistical report that include downward movements, but I don’t recall a downward adjustment in monthly circulating coin totals before.

Perhaps I haven’t been observant. Certainly for much of my career, monthly Mint production has been of little interest to coin collectors.

It has only been in the last couple of years with plunging production and multiple cent designs that collectors once again began to seriously pay attention to monthly and annual mintages.

For the 12 months, the Mint’s two facilities at Denver and Philadelphia cranked out 4,010,830,000 Union Shield cents, up 70 percent from the 2,354,000,000 struck in 2009 when there were four different designs.

The only other denominations struck in December were nickels, dimes and Native American dollars and their numbers hardly added up to a rounding error. And all were struck in Denver. The only action for Philadelphia was among the accountants.

For the year, 6,373,110,000 coins were struck, up 80 percent from calendar year 2009.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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