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Look at the Production Gap
May 30, 2008

Every once in a while I like to go back to basics and check mintages figures for the regular circulating denominations.

Most of the time these numbers don't show much of note. Mintages are enormous and the coins have little chance of attaining much in the way of long-term collector value, but the collector impulse in me keeps me interested.

I've commented previously on the falling production numbers in this recession year as regarding the cent, but there is another curious phenomenon going on.

What's going on in Philadelphia? For the cent through the dime denominations, there is a widening gap between Denver output and Philadelphia output.

For the cent, Denver is producing nearly 50 percent more through April with figures of 923,600,000 as compared to Philadelphia's 612,400,000.

For the nickel, the gap is wider. Denver has produced almost 2.5 times more coins than Philly. The numbers are 143,040,000 as compared to 58,800,000. And what's up with 58,000,000? That number looks more like a figure from the early 1960s.

The gap in dime production is similarly large. Denver has come in during the first four months at 243,500,000 million and Philadelphia at 82,000,000.

Quarter production is more routine with each mint contributing roughly half of the total at 433,400,000 and 437,600,000, respectively.

Is the eastern economy that much weaker than points West? Is Denver that much more productive? Do collectors even give a darn?

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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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