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Any Good News Out There? Yes!
August 25, 2011

Amid all of the dramatic headlines of gold reaching new highs, large swings in stock market values and threatened paper currencies, there are elements of good news for Americans who feel beleaguered at the family budget level.

Coin production is going up.

Big deal, you might exclaim.

But a big deal it might be.

A growing economy cannot function without the money the public wants to use to conduct the transactions that comprise their daily lives.

The public is demanding more coins for next year, according to Deputy Mint Director Richard Peterson whose news conference Aug. 19 at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont offered up the information that the Federal Reserve has ordered 9.8 billion coins for the next 12 months.

One of the Fed’s jobs is to supply coins to the nation’s banking system. The Mint’s job is to supply the Fed.

This new Fed order continues an upward trend that began after the Mint’s output plunged to 1950s levels in 2009.

In that terrible year the Mint struck just 3.5 billion coins.

In 2010 the Mint struck 6.4 billion coins.

This year looks to be on track for 8.5 billion coins.

Of course, the rate of increase is slowing down. That sequence shows gains of 79.6 percent, 33.0 percent and 15.6 percent.

Up, up and up.

If only the stock market could string three up years in a row like that. The nation’s investors wouldn’t be feeling the need for finding a financial bunker.

As a small caveat, I should point out that the U.S. Mint thinks in fiscal years and collectors think in calendar years. I am writing these from the collector point of view, so there will be some variation as the 2011 and 2012 numbers become set in concrete.

But it is the upward trend that is most important to all of us.

With the fear of recession all around, some good news is welcome.

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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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