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September Mint Production Drops
October 05, 2009

Mint production in the month of September ran at the lowest level since March I discovered after I turned my computer on this morning and began checking around various Web sites.

The overall September total of 181.96 million coins is somewhat larger than the March total of 165.04 million.

After the March drop, production recovered to roughly 350 million coins per month. The Mint tries to minimize monthly production fluctuations, but September was the end of the fiscal year, so perhaps there was less flexibility.

September cent production actually fell below the March total of 98 million coins to 93.2 million pieces.

For the first time in this year’s quarter program, the output of the current design was almost identical to the prior one.

The quarter honoring the U.S. Virgin Islands has an overall mintage of 82 million split evenly between the Denver and Philadelphia mints. Neither figure fell below the 39.6 million Denver output of the prior American Samoa design. That retains the title of having the lowest mintage of the 2009 quarters.

Combined, there are just slightly more American Samoa quarters as the total is 82.2 million.

What this means is the two 41 million totals from Denver and Philadelphia for the U.S. Virgin Islands share the title of being the second lowest mintages for any 2009 quarter.

We now await the production of the Northern Mariana Islands quarter to see if the low mintage distinction will be shifted from the Denver American Samoa quarter, or if it will retain the honor.

No dimes and no nickels were produced in September, but a small number of half dollars raised the annual total so far to 3.6 million coins, up by 200,000 pieces produced at Denver from the August total of 3.4 million, or 1.7 million each at Denver and Philadelphia.

Even though the numbers are on the low side, distribution patterns around the country seem to be improving and giving collectors the impression of greater availability than was the case in the first part of the year.

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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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