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No Quarters at Denver in March
April 07, 2009

No quarters were struck by the Denver Mint in the month of March and Philadelphia coined just 200,000 pieces.

Those startling numbers have set collectors who are already circling around the new District of Columbia and Territorial quarter program because of the unusually low mintages running for their calculators to figure out just how low the Guam production total might go.

If the banking system doesn't need quarters, the Guam issue could make the current frenzy over the Birthplace Lincoln cent look like the appetizer before the speculative banquet.

For the month of March there were cents produced, but once again the rate of production is declining. Just 98 million were struck. Most of those, or 90 million, were struck at Philadelphia and just 8 million were coined at Denver. This brings total cent production this year to 634,800,000.

Both these sets of figures confirm an e-mail I had earlier this month from a collector who said there didn't seem to be any production activity at the Denver Mint. He knew someone who had just taken a public tour.

There were no half dollars or Native American dollars produced in March at either mint.

Denver also struck no dimes in March and Philadelphia struck just 11 million pieces.

However, Denver wasn't completely shut down in March. In addition to the small number of cents, it produced 3,120,000 nickels and 29,260,000 Presidential dollars. Philadelphia contributed 12,960,000 nickels and 10,500,000 Presidential dollars.

Overall, just 165,030,000 coins were struck by both mints together. If the pace would continue like this, which isn't likely, the total coinage for the year would be just under 2.7 billion coins.

A production plunge of this magnitude would confirm financial pundits who are calling the current recession the worst since the 1930s.

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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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