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Meanwhile, in the Real World
November 10, 2010

The world may be worrying about the U.S. government’s ability to create money out of thin air at the moment, but one portion of the money machine, the U.S. Mint, is more firmly anchored in the real demands of commerce.

If businesses need new coins, businesses get new coins. If they do not need them, the coins are not made. Simple.

The release of the Mint’s October production numbers shows that it is on track to strike just over twice as many coins this year as it did in 2009.

Now whatever anyone might be experiencing regarding rising prices, it would seem we can all agree that prices have not doubled since last year, so there must be some real business going on out there in the nation’s shopping malls. That is great news after a recession.

The Mint struck 730.22 million coins in October. That is up from 690.02 million in September. The rise broke a three-month streak of declining numbers.

So far this year, the Mint has struck almost 5.8 billion coins. It is on track to strike over 7 billion in the calendar year if the trend holds.

Production of cents alone now stands at 3.6 billion, more than the 3.5 billion coins of all denominations struck last year.

With economic news seemingly going from hot to cold and then back again almost faster than a 24-hour news cycle, it is reassuring that at the very real level of coins in the cash register, economic conditions seem brighter.

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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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