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Mintages Look Interesting
July 19, 2010

There is an interesting mintage phenomenon developing this year.

Presidential dollars are being produced in greater numbers than America the Beautiful quarters.

When the Hot Springs National Park quarter production figure was revealed to be 59.6 million coins (divided 29 million to Denver and 30.6 million to Philadelphia), I thought perhaps the late introduction and more limited production time might be responsible for the low figure.

However, the Yellowstone National Park quarter has come in at a not much higher level of 68.4 million (divided 34.8 million Denver and 33.6 million Philadelphia).

Both numbers were handily beaten by the first two Presidential dollars struck this year. Millard Fillmore came in at 74.48 million (divided 36.96 million Denver and 37.52 Philadelphia) and Franklin Pierce came in at 76.58 million (divided 38.36 million Denver and 38.22 Philadelphia).

To be sure, the Presidential dollar totals have declined dramatically from the 340.36 million Washington mintage level of 2007, but 2010 output seems to have found a plateau. That the plateau is higher than where America the Beautiful quarters are sitting is worth noting.

The quarter still is heavily used in commerce and presumably more collectors go for the quarter than the dollar coin, but then again perhaps not.

Have we hit the point where the denomination for the coin struck for circulation whether one cent or $1 no longer matters much to collectors?

Or is this still simply a phenomenon where the excess supply of state quarters continues to depress current quarter mintages?

I can make a case either way. Where the choice of collecting cents or silver dollars mattered a great deal to me in the 1960s when my funds were limited, nowadays inflation has reduced the relative importance of coin face values and age has upped my income.

Do the face value of current coins matter to you when deciding what to collect?

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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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