United States Mint Statement on Circulating Coins

Press Release July 23, 2020

WASHINGTON – The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in the disruption of the supply channels of circulating coinage – the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters that the American people and businesses use in their day-to-day transactions. The United States Mint is part of the solution to this issue, but we need your help as well.

In normal circumstances, retail transactions and coin recyclers return a significant amount of coins to circulation on a daily basis. However, precautions taken to slow the spread of the virus have resulted in reduced retail sales activity and significantly decreased deposits from third-party coin processors, resulting in increased orders for newly minted coins produced by the United States Mint (Mint). Third-party coin processors and retail activity account for the majority of coins put into circulation each year. For example, in 2019, the Mint contributed 17% of newly-minted circulating coins paid into the supply chain, with the remainder coming from third-party coin processors and retail activity.

Simply put, there is an adequate amount of coins in the economy, but the slowed pace of circulation has meant that sufficient quantities of coins are sometimes not readily available where needed. You may be experiencing this in your local communities. We are asking for your help in improving this coin supply issue.

You can do so by paying for things with exact change and by returning spare change to circulation. Until coin circulation patterns return to normal, it may be more difficult for retailers and small businesses to accept cash payments. For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment and cash transactions rely on coins to make change. We ask that the American public start spending their coins, depositing them, or exchanging them for currency at financial institutions or taking them to a coin redemption kiosk. The coin supply problem can be solved with each of us doing our part.

As important as it is to get more coins circulating, safety is paramount. Please be sure to follow all safety and health guidelines and rules when visiting retailers, small businesses, grocery stores, and financial institutions.

The Mint acted quickly and decisively during the early phases of the crisis to implement measures to mitigate the risk of employee exposure to COVID-19. These measures included temporarily reducing the number of employees per shift in order to enhance social distancing. Throughout the public health challenge, the Mint has continued to meet its essential mission of manufacturing coins to facilitate national commerce. At the same time, the Mint continues to take all appropriate steps to safeguard the health and safety of our workforce. The Mint has been operating at full production capacity since mid-June, minting almost 1.6 billion coins during the month of June. The Mint is on track to produce 1.65 billion coins per month for the remainder of the year. By comparison, in 2019, the Mint produced an average of 1 billion coins per month. We have increased production while still prioritizing the health and well-being of our employees and maintaining a reduced risk of their exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

As always, and especially during this challenging time, the Mint is committed to supporting our Nation’s economy and commerce through the production of circulating coinage.

Here is a link to B-roll of United States Mint coin production: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4vMPqKcJtI.

Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.

United States Mint Announces 2020 American Innovation™ $1 Coin Program Designs

Press Release June 30, 2020

WASHINGTON – The United States Mint (Mint) today officially announced the designs for the 2020 American Innovation™ $1 Coin Program. The new designs will appear on the reverses (tails) of $1 coins honoring innovations and/or innovators from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and South Carolina.

Mint Chief Engraver Joseph Menna created and sculpted the Maryland American Innovation $1 Coin design. Mint Artistic Infusion Program artists created the designs for the remaining 2020 American Innovation $1 Coins, which Mint Medallic Artists sculpted. Here’s what the public can expect to see:

American Innovation – Connecticut
Designer: Richard Masters
Sculptor-Engraver: Renata Gordon
The Connecticut $1 Coin recognizes the Gerber Variable Scale. The design depicts the scale being used to increase a geometric shape by 200 percent, a shape that resembles the state of Connecticut. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “GERBER VARIABLE SCALE,” and “CONNECTICUT.”

American Innovation – Massachusetts
Designer: Emily Damstra
Sculptor-Engraver: Eric David Custer
The Massachusetts $1 Coin recognizes the invention of the telephone. The design depicts the dial of an early rotary telephone. Inscriptions are “MASSACHUSETTS,” “TELE-PHONE,” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”

American Innovation – Maryland
Designer: Joseph Menna
Sculptor-Engraver: Joseph Menna
The Maryland $1 Coin pays homage to the Hubble Space Telescope. The design depicts the telescope orbiting the earth surrounded by a field of stars. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE,” and “MARYLAND.”

American Innovation – South Carolina
Designer: Justin Kunz
Sculptor-Engraver: Phebe Hemphill
The South Carolina $1 Coin recognizes educator and civil rights activist Septima Poinsette Clark. The design depicts Ms. Clark marching with three young African American students who carry books and an American flag, representing that education and literacy among oppressed people are necessary for empowerment and enjoyment of civil rights. Inscriptions are “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “SEPTIMA CLARK,” and “SOUTH CAROLINA.”

Images are available at https://www.usmint.gov/news/image-library/american-innovation-dollar.

American Innovation $1 Coins feature a common obverse (heads) design depicting a dramatic representation of the Statue of Liberty and the required inscriptions “$1” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”

On-sale dates for products containing the 2020 American Innovation $1 Coins will be published on the Mint’s Product Schedule here. When available, the Mint will accept orders at catalog.usmint.gov/. Information about shipping options is available at catalog.usmint.gov/customer-service/shipping.html.

The American Innovation $1 Coin Program is a multi-year series featuring distinctive reverse designs that pay homage to America’s ingenuity and celebrate the pioneering efforts of individuals or groups from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories.

About the United States Mint
Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.

United States Mint Celebrates Carson City Mint Sesquicentennial

U.S. Mint Press Release February 4, 2020

CARSON CITY, NV – United States Mint Director David J. Ryder today joined officials of the state of Nevada and representatives of the Nevada State Museum to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first coin produced at the Carson City Mint.

Director Ryder reflected on the facility’s legacy: “The Carson City Mint holds a special place in the United States Mint’s history. Some of our most beautiful coins were produced here, including the iconic Morgan Silver Dollar, which is still popular with collectors today. I am proud to acknowledge the people who worked here and the important role the facility played in the community.”

An Act of Congress established the Carson City Mint in 1863 to address the coinage needs brought about by the discovery of the Comstock Lode. The facility operated from 1870 to 1899 and produced gold and silver coins, including dimes, twenty-cent pieces, quarters, half dollars, Trade dollars, Morgan dollars, five-dollar gold pieces, ten-dollar gold pieces, and twenty-dollar gold pieces. From 1899 to 1933, the building served as a United States Assay Office for gold and silver. The building was sold to the state of Nevada in 1939.

Ryder joined Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Lt. Governor Kate Marshall, Congressman Mark Amodei, State Treasurer Zach Conine, Mayor Robert Crowell, Nevada State Museum Director Myron Freedman, and History Curator Robert Nylen to celebrate this milestone.

The event kicked off with the symbolic opening of the historic front doors of the Carson City Mint and the ringing of the Mint Bell by Director Ryder. Additional highlights included the ceremonial striking of a Nevada State Museum .999 fine silver medallion on the historic Coin Press 1, which struck the first “CC” mint mark coin in 1870. A lecture program, buffet lunch reception, and cake cutting rounded out the celebration.

About the United States Mint
Congress created the United States Mint in 1792, and the Mint became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. As the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage, the Mint is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; silver and bronze medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. Its numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to taxpayers.

Over $5.6 Million in U.S. Coins Sold in Baltimore

Posted on June 6, 2019 courtesy of Numismatic News Staff

Santa Ana, CA –  Collectors from across the country descended on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in the days leading up to Memorial Day, where two days of exciting auction sessions in their May 2019 Official Auction of the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Summer Expo. Highlighted by the Drummer, Fairmont and Newmark Collections, over $5.6 million in United States coins and Numismatic Americana were sold, kicking off an exciting summer season of auction events for the firm. All prices include the 20% buyer’s premium.

The Baltimore Auction featured an astounding selection of Flying Eagle and Indian Head cents. Several rarities from these series were presented in Session 1, including a Proof-65 RD (PCGS) 1865 cent which brought $13,200 (lot 29) and a Gem MS-66+ RD (PCGS) 1898 cent that realized $10,800 (lot 80).

A surviving Proof 1865 Indian cent, this coin is a significant example of the rare Snow-PR1 die pairing.  Sold for $13,200. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

Small cents continued to shine in Session 2, which featured the Rarities Night portion of the sale followed the Fairmont Collection of US Gold Coinage.

A beautiful Proof-66 (PCGS) 1856 Flying Eagle cent sold for $50,400 in lot 1005, and a Proof-65 BN (PCGS) CAC 1864 Indian Head cent with L on Ribbon earned $45,600 in lot 1016. Strong demand was demonstrated for key-dates and iconic rarities throughout the session, as was demonstrated by the $99,000 price realized by the MS-66+ FH (PCGS) CAC 1916 Standing Liberty quarter in lot 1059.

The star of the evening was the incredible 1879 Flowing Hair Stella offered in lot 1089. Certified Proof-66 UCAM by NGC with only three examples finer, it brought $234,000.

Three exceptional $50 slugs from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition were offered in the session, highlighted by a MS-64 (PCGS) Octagonal example (lot 1135), that earned $90,000. Bringing the session to the close was the Fairmont Collection, featuring desirable key-date issues from the Liberty Head gold series. An AU-58 (PCGS) CAC 1854-S double eagle was the highlight of this offering, realizing $21,600 in lot 1177.

The production of small-diameter cent patterns began in 1850, and by 1856 the desire to create a new format cent for circulation was great. The Mint in Philadelphia struck close to 1,000 examples of James B. Longacre’s Flying Eagle design type for distribution to important individuals.  (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)
An eagerly sought key date issue, this 1916 Standing Liberty quarter sold for $99,000.  Just 52,000 of this year were minted. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

As a “type coin,” the 1879 Flowing Hair Stella is a significant numismatic rarity, even more so from a market availability standpoint given the strong demand among advanced collectors. Sold for $234,000. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)
The San Francisco Mint struck 1,500 examples of this 1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 for sale at the Exposition.  The original asking price was $100, but later discounted when offered within sets. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

The most highly anticipated item of the sale was offered in Session 4, where an original striking of the Washington Before Boston medal in silver was presented (lot 3031). A newly discovered piece, this example was certified Specimen-61 by PCGS and is one of just 11 examples known. After intense activity, it sold for $156,000.

Attracting similar excitement was the 1905 Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural medal in lot 3060. Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, produced by Tiffany, and struck in bronze, it realized $31,200.

As reported in last week’s Numismatic News Express, this example of the famous Washington Before Boston Medal in silver drew $156,000 in the auction. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

Selling for $31,200, an American Classic MCMV (1905) Theodore Roosevelt inaugural bronze medal is one of just 150 examples authorized to be produced by Tiffany in bronze. It was found in the consignor’s grandmother’s jewelry box after her passing. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)

The session was brought to a close with an exciting offering of colonial and early American coins, including a selection of New Jersey coppers from the Collection of Larry L. Terrell. Highlights from the Terrell Collection included an EF-45 (PCGS) 1786 Maris 15-T that brought $5,280 (lot 3201) and a Condition Census EF-40 (PCGS) 1787 Maris 73-aa that realized $8,400 (lot 3241). A VF-30 (PCGS) Albany Church Penny in lot 3255 brought $21,600 and an AU-53 (PCGS) Washington Funeral Urn medal with GW on the Base earned $26,400 in lot 3268, claiming the top price among colonial issues.

The Albany Church pennies are attributed to the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, New York and were produced as a result of a resolution passed by the church elders on January 4, 1790. These pieces were intended to provide parishioners with coppers to place in the Sunday offering plates. (Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers)
A 1787 New Jersey Copper Maris 73-aa, which was overstruck on an 1787 Connecticut Copper realized $8,400 at the Stack’s Bowers Whitman Expo on May 24. (Image courtesy of Stack’s ToppinBowers)

1851-O 3 Cent Silver NGC Specimen 65 Unique Branch Mint “Specimen” Strike The Only New Orleans Date 3 Cent Date

Branch Mint Specimen Strike and Proof coinage represents the rarest of the rare in American numismatics.

To understand just how special these coins really are, one must understand how coins were struck at Branch Mint facilities.

The Branch Mints, including New Orleans, were set up for a commercial need. Philadelphia was the hub, and the other Mints just part of a spoke. The hub (Philadelphia) made coins for commerce and to serve special collector interests, like making pattern coins and Proofs.

The Branch Mints were designed for one need only, to produce coins to demand for the regions they were in. That is why one almost never hears of the existence of a Branch Mint Proof or Specimen striking, because those Mints were neither asked to prepare such coinage and also lacked the equipment that Philadelphia had to do so.

Record keeping was not perfect in those days. There’s no reason to suggest a Branch Mint Employee was required to write down on paper that a coin was prepared in a special manner. Their existence often leaves the coin world stunned without explanation, but many very well educated theories can be devised.

The legendary late numismatist Walter Breen stated that just 4 Proofs were made of the Philadelphia Mint 1851 3 Cent Silver piece. The only notable mention of one of those coins selling was in a 2012 auction for a PCGS PR66 for $172,500. An important coin, but not nearly as important as a Branch Mint issue.

Since the 1851-O is the first and only Branch Mint 3 Cent coin ever created, it is easy to theorize that a special ceremony must have ensued the moment this coin was made. While small, it packs rarity with a big punch. Its existence isn’t even known by most experts, and it’s only because of our far reaching resources we were able to discover its location and bring it to you now.

These coins would have been lifetime achievements for many of the greatest collectors who ever lived, had they only known of them. Research has advanced this field of study significantly in recent years, and today we are better able to understand just how important these fascinating pieces of US Mint history really are.

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Gun Money: A Fools Promise

Courtesy of PCGS, by Dylan Dominguez

In the late 17th century, James II served as the Roman Catholic King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He reigned from 1685-1688. During the last year of his reign, he was overthrown by Dutch Protestant William III and his army. William III ruled from 1689-1702. Since James II was no longer in power, he began to rebuild his army to fight back against William III and take back the throne.

In 1688, James II needed his military to stay with him and fight William III. Although he needed the help of these men, he was running low on resources and even more importantly, money, to fund his military. Running low on ideas, James II thought of issuing “Gun Money”. Using this idea, he was able to convince his army to take base metal coinage for payment. This saved him a large amount of money because he was able to use metals such as Copper, Brass, and Pewter which were very easy to obtain at the time. These coins were made to guarantee that after the war was over, James II would allow everyone who was given these coins to redeem them for the weight of silver and gold once they win the war.

One of the reasons commonly believed as to why these coins are called “Gun Money” is that most of the metal that was used in the minting process for these coins came from melted down guns. However, (in actuality), church bells were mostly used in the process of creating these coins. Gun Money was produced for two years from 1689 to 1690. In the first year, most of the coins were produced containing only Shillings, Six Pence, and half-crowns. In the second year, one more denomination was added, producing: Shillings, Six Pence, half crowns, and crowns.

When the war ended in 1691, James II and his army lost, and he never fulfilled his promise to exchange the “Gun Money” for the weight in gold and silver that he owed his army. Overall, these coins have an amazing history and story behind them. Who knows where all the metal came from? I can only imagine what was melted down to produce these coins. All the coins that were produced by James II and the mint contain a bit of different history in each coin.

Coinage legislation left out the word “The”

Courtesy of Numismatic News by RICHARD GIEDROYC

Why is “The” missing from the inscription “United States of America” on our coins?

Section 10 of the Mint Act of April 2, 1792, says, “…with this inscription, ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,’…” Once this tradition was established, nobody saw any need to change it. Particularly in the early days when dies were hand-made, they economized in every possible way, so perhaps this was another reason for not adding the extra three letters.

I have a 1964-D dime that has been examined by several dealers who tell me it is a proof. Can this be true?

It is unlikely that your ’64-D dime is a proof, as the information that proof coins were struck only at Philadelphia that year is correct. What you may have is a first strike from new dies, which often will have an appearance similar to a proof. Send the coin to an authentication service if you are still in doubt.

Going through a lot of cents, I notice that a number have weak or missing letters in “STATES OF,” or the “E” and sometimes the dot in “E PLURIBUS.” What causes this?

This is a frequent question, since such defects are readily noticed. That very frequency is an indication of the value – none – because of the high mintages involved. The cause is poor die design, a perennial failing of U.S. coins, which allows too much metal to flow into the obverse design, not leaving enough to come up in the reverse design. If you check the wheat cents, you will find the same weakness on the “O” in “ONE” on a high percentage of the coins.

Weren’t there actually three different date sizes for the 1960 cents – a small, medium, and large date?

This is another situation akin to the problems with the different mintmarks on the 1979 and 1981 proof coins. Shortly after the small date 1960 and 1960-D cents were first reported, enthusiastic collectors reported that there were three sizes, and for a time the medium dates were advertised right along with the small. Later it was conclusively proved, based on Mint records, that only two different size dates were used for 1960.

I’ve heard that there is a $1,000 reward for a certain variety of the 1964 nickels. I have one, so will you get the reward for me, please?

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I know of no variety of any kind in the minting of specifically the 1964 or 1964-D nickels that is worth $1,000, or even a significant fraction of that figure. The only one I can think of off hand is the “PLURIDUS” variety, attributed by the Mint to die abrasion, which is worth upwards of $150 to $175, depending on the grade. I don’t know of any legitimate offer of a “reward” for coin varieties, either.

What are so-called dollars?

They are privately issued medals or tokens similar in size to the old silver dollars.

American Eagle Sales as of 3/28/2019

March 28, 2019

The following chart includes the year to date totals for 2019 Gold and Silver American Eagle Sales from the U.S. Mint as of 5pm on March 28th. The chart also shows the difference in sales from our last report on March 22nd.

Gold and Silver American Eagle Sales
CoinSales in oz. /#coins+ from 3/21/2019
One oz.
Half oz.
Quarter oz.
Tenth oz.
CoinSales in oz. /#coins+ from 3/21/2019
One oz.

Superb 1875-S Twenty Cent Piece NGC MS67

The twenty cent denomination is one of the great failures in American numismatics. There was never any great need for it. Its use was limited to the West, where consumers would often pay a quarter for items worth a bit (one reale, or 12.5 cents) and receive a dime back in change. Copper did not circulate in the Pacific states, so consumers were often shortchanged by two cents. The twenty cent denomination was suggested by Nevada Senator John P. Jones as a way of solving that problem. It never caught on, and the denomination was abandoned for circulation in 1876, one year after it was first introduced. The 1875-S is the most plentiful issue in the short-lived series, claiming a mintage of 1.1 million coins. The NGC census stands at just 8 with 1 higher. Listed at $24,200 in both the CDN CPG and NGC price guide.

Offered at $22,000

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Gold ingots top Heritage’s $11 million Long Beach sale

California Gold Rush-era relics from the shipwreck of the S.S. Central America were among the top sellers in Heritage’s Jan. 29-Feb. 3 Long Beach Signature Auction, held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Expo.

Altogether, prices topped $11 million, with after-auction sales continuing through Feb. 6. Of the six top lots, five were gold ingots found in the S.S. Central America shipwreck, highlighted by the very large size 174.04-ounce Harris, Marchand & Co. gold ingot.

This is the sole ingot from the firm’s Marysville office recovered in the shipwreck, and it is distinctive enough to warrant a significant writeup in Q. David Bowers’ A California Gold Rush History. It sold for $528,000.

Additional gold ingots in this auction included a Kellogg & Humbert 97.19- ounce, which brought $204,000; a Blake & Co. 19.30-ounce, $156,000; a Blake & Co. small-sized 14.31-ounce, $144,000; and a Justh & Hunter 50.50-ounce, $121,333.

A pair of Panama-Pacific $50 gold commemoratives, each graded MS64, further represented California highlights, having been minted in San Francisco and commemorating the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The rarer round piece brought a sale price of $114,000, while the iconic octagonal coin sold for $81,000.

Bringing the highest price for coins was the ever-popular 1879 Flowing Hair Stella, this one graded PRF64 Deep Cameo by the Professional Coin Grading Service.

Technically a pattern, this piece has been enthusiastically collected as a regular issue since its manufacture, most likely due to its odd denomination. It exchanged hands for $210,000.

Additional highlights included:

All prices realized reported here include a 20% buyer’s premium.