Nickels & Dimes

Have you been looking at the US Mint’s production numbers for the 2010 nickels and dimes?

Collectors look forward to finding the new coins in their pocket change, but the 2009 dimes and nickels cannot be readily found.

The Mint produced 86.64M nickels and 146.00M dimes during the calendar year 2009. This included 46.80M nickels and 49.50M dimes at the Denver Mint. In Philadelphia, the production was 39.84M nickels and 96.50M dimes.

Through March of 2010, the US Mint has only struck 19.00M dimes and all of those at the Philadelphia Mint.

Remember in the Director’s letter in the US Mint’s 2009 Annual Report, Director Moy advised that the Federal Reserve Banks’ requests for new coinage were down.

Granted, the 2010 production numbers only show through March, but at 19M dimes, that’s only 13% of the dime production of all of 2009 for 25% of the 2010 year. Plus, there’s 0% production of nickels for 25% of the year.

Added together, 19M is only 8% of the total 2009 nickel and dime production.

Of course, when you consider the coin presses can strike between 500 and 800 coins per minute, it would not be difficult to strike more coins in nine months than were struck in twelve months in 2009. When you look at over 1.6B (that’s “B” for Billion) nickels and dimes were struck in 2008, the Mint would have no difficulty in meeting a larger demand.

But, if the demand is not there and the costs of copper and nickel increase in the cupro-nickel alloy, the Mint will keep their production numbers down to cut expenses.

If the demand increases, they will, of necessity, produce the required coins.

With people’s spending habits down and with people cashing in their pocket change that historically was just laid aside and almost forgotten about, the banks will in all likelihood continue to maintain a sufficient quantity of coinage without needing new coins struck.

As for you collectors wanting to find the new coins, you need to keep an eagle eye out for any 2009 or 2010 nickels and dimes. If you have a friend in the banking industry, you can quiz them about when their bank will be getting new coinage.

Still, it may be difficult to obtain any new 2009 or 2010 dimes. Banks order coinage as they need it, but the rolls they receive could be older coins, not the newer mintages.

A true collector enjoys the challenge of the treasure hunt and the thrill of the find. So, figuratively speaking, get out the deerstalker hat, the herringbone coat and the large, round magnifying glass then begin your hunt for the new nickels and dimes!