Mail Bag – Will Coronavirus Cause a Coin Shortage?

What a world we live in readers, here on March 31, 2020. My guess is that the vast majority of you are in “Shelter in Place” mode as I have been the the past couple of weeks here in Colorado. My sincere hope is that all of you are safe and healthy as we struggle globally with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The pandemic has certainly had an impact on Numismatics with the Mint announcing product delays for collectable items. But Phil’s question is a more practical question for our lives day-to-day. Will there be a coin shortage in 2020?

They write…


With the Mint changing the release dates of some new stuff coming out and warning of future delays, will there be a coin shortage in 2020 of regular coins? What do you think?


The short answer from me Phil is no, there will be no circulation coinage shortage in 2020. Keep in mind that the Mint produced 10 billion coins in 2019. Last month alone, 1 billion coins were minted. Add this plus the reserves of coins sitting in vaults at banks and the Federal Reserve, there will be plenty of coins to go around.

That said, what could happen is that we see low mintages of 2020 coins across the board. While Mint Director Ryder indicated that Numismatic products were delayed or impacted by Coronavirus, he gave no indication that circulation production was impacted. But it isn’t hard to put together that the Mint’s facilities are effectively in lock down too. They are likely running limited crews to produce coins to keep minimum safe distance requirements, maximum number of people in a place, and so forth. Logically it stands to reason that we will not see a lot of 2020 coins unless the Mint picks up the pace from say June or July onward (assuming that the worst of Coronavirus is over by then). So it is possible that this year, we will see less than what has been the average number of coins produced. Usually the Mint produces around 10 billion coins on average. Could we see a 7 or 8 billion coin year? Absolutely a possibility in my mind.

For me, the March production report will be the telling sign. That report should be out the second week of April and I suspect it will give us a true indicator of just how limited coin production is right now for the Mint.

Thanks for taking the time to write in Phil. Stay healthy and safe.

For those who have a Mail Bag question, use the contact form on the About page to send it to me.

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