Brian asks: How much does it cost the mint to produce the cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar? Also, where can I get detailed information on the coining process? The U.S Mint website doesn’t go into detail at all. Another question, does the mint make a new master hub for each coin every year? If not, then how do they change the year on the coin? One more question, where can I find the mintage figures for all types of U.S. coins?
- The cost of producing coins varies with metal values, cost of machinery and labor. Seignorage, or the profit on minting coins increased enormously when precious metal was eliminated from circulating coinage. Today, the U.S. Mint loses money in the production of cents and nickels, but makes a profit on all the other denominations it produces. Current costs for the cent are 1.8 cents each, the nickel, 9.4 cents, the dime, 4.6 cents, and the quarter, 11 cents. Since the change in composition of the cent in 1982, Mint officials feel they’ve reached the limit of cost savings for that denomination but they continue to pursue a substitute for nickel in the five cent piece.
- A good source for information on the coinage process and its history is:
U.S. Mint and Coinage by Don Taxay.
Sanford Durst Numismatic Publications, New York
- In the 19th century dates and mint marks were stamped into the working dies by hand allowing for the same hub to be used for a number of years (that’s why there are so many date varieties). In modern times the date is on the master hub requiring a new hub each year. Technology has made this cost effective. Very recently the mint mark has also become part of the master hub (I guess no more mint mark varieties either).
- You can get the mintage figures for each coin, year and mint mark by purchasing the very useful and inexpensive A Guide Book of United States Coins 2014: The Official Red Book