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'Generation Billions' Meets Downsized Mintages
February 02, 2010

Mint production continues to slide. The figures for January, while up from zero in December, show that only 218,410,000 coins were struck.

The bulk of the mintage was in dollar coins that the public doesn’t want or need and new one-cent coins that the public does not need but collectors are anxious to find because they have a new reverse design.

There were 74.48 million Presidential dollars struck, which seems to indicate that the Mint remains on the path of building up an excess supply. Of course, the design has changed, as we have entered the fourth year of the Presidential program.

Native American dollar production amounted to 25.2 million coins.

Cent production totals were 115,230,000 in January. Denver came in with an even 50 million and Philadelphia chipped in 65,230,000 pieces.

With the early reports of the coins emanating from Puerto Rico, the hobby knew the new cent coins were in the pipeline, but where else they will turn up besides the coin exchange in Springfield, Ill., Feb. 11 is still mostly a mystery.

A mintage of 3.5 million half dollars provided the Mint with enough coins to get the 2010 bag and roll quantities out there. This was divided as 1.7 million coins from Denver and 1.8 million coins from Philadelphia.

No nickels or dimes were struck.

There are also no quarters. This might strike collectors as strange, but word from the World Money Fair in Berlin is that the release date for the America the Beautiful quarter series will be in late April.

Design work apparently lags because of the original lateness of the congressional authorization, giving the Mint less than its optimal lead time.

Do these mintage numbers seem strange to you in any way?

As a collector who grew up as part of “Generation Billions,” these totals seem tiny.

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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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