U.S. Mint 2020 Coin Mintages
Published on 12/18/2020 by APMEX
It’s been a tough year for the U.S. Mint.
If you’ve seen signs in local businesses asking for coins or exact change, you’re not alone. In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns, signs sprouted across the country asking for coins. It wasn’t everywhere, but coin shortages were widespread.
Shortages wracked the entire country in the summer, and have happened again in some areas. Most of these new shortages are primarily in the Midwest and around some major cities. The problem isn’t necessarily that there aren’t enough coins (there are about 40 billion dollars of circulating U.S. coins), but that coins are not moving through the economy. Spending has slowed and coins are stuck.
The U.S. Mint can’t outproduce coin shortages. But it hasn’t been for lack of trying.
Striking New Coins for Circulation
In June, it looked like the U.S. Mint was on track for their fifth straight annual decline in coin mintage figures. But that month the mint struck 1.5 billion coins in a dramatic ramp up of production. Over 800 million of those were Lincoln cents.
In 2019 the U.S. Mint struck over 11.9 billion coins for circulation. In 2020, the mint is on track for well over that. This year’s figures will easily eclipse 15 billion, and that’s only counting circulating coins.
This year saw the release of several annually issued design series. These included the National Park of American Samoa quarter, the Weir Farm National Historic Site quarter, the Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve quarter, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve quarter and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park quarter. These five coins are part of the America the Beautiful quarter series. To this point, there have been over a billion of the Salt River Bay quarters struck. The next highest mintage is Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller with 650 million, then the American Samoa with almost 500 million. Weir Farm and Tallgrass Prairie trail significantly.
Kennedy half dollars and Native American dollars are not struck for circulation any more, but they are still struck for collectors. The Native American dollar design changes every year, with this year’s reverse featuring the 1945 anti-discrimination law of Alaska brought about by Elizabeth Peratrovich. Almost six million Kennedy half dollars have been struck so far this year, and a little over 2.5 million Native American dollars.
The U.S. Mint also creates mint sets, proof coins and bullion coins. Of these, the most significant coins are the 2020 Silver American Eagles. Because of COVID-19, Silver Eagles were in high demand and like all Silver products were in short supply. This necessitated the creation of two emergency issues. Most Silver Eagles are struck at the West Point mint, with San Francisco and Philadelphia occasionally filling in. This year the demand was so high that the Philadelphia Mint had to step in and dramatically boost production, resulting in the second rarest issue of Silver Eagles in its history. The West Point and San Francisco mints were closed at the time due to virus concerns. Only 240,000 of these Philadelphia emergency issues were struck.
Later this year there was a secondary issue of emergency Silver Eagles, this time from the San Francisco Mint. This run is also very limited in mintage, though final figures are not yet available. Early estimates put this at a million, more than the Philadelphia emergency issue.
This year has been a challenging one for the U.S. Mint due to mints closing down because of COVID-19 combined with a run on coins and an unprecedented shortage of Silver bullion. It’s been a unique situation, and one we’re unlikely to see again. But we received one of the rarest Silver Eagles from it. If you’re interested in purchasing any of the collectible coins created by the U.S. Mint in 2020, contact APMEX today.