Strange tale told by cent mintage numbers

Adding a “P” mintmark to the Philadelphia cent of 2017 should increase demand for the coin, right?

Wrong.

So far the opposite has happened.

Production in the first three months of 2017 is actually lower.

The U.S. Mint reports that so far 1,182,800,000 Philadelphia cents have been struck dated 2017.

This is down over 100 million pieces from the same point last year when 1,284,000,000 were produced.

Perhaps stranger still, cent output in Denver has added the lost 100 million.

This year’s production stands at 1,198,400,000 cents from Denver versus 1,097,200,000 in 2016.

Strangest fact of all, cent output this year is absolutely identical to cent output last year at this time.

The combined number produced in Philadelphia and Denver for this year versus last year is the same at 2,381,200,000.

Is there any significance to this other than oohing and aahing over large numbers?

Most collectors would assume that interest in the new 2017-P mintmarked cent would be higher as a result of this special mintmark addition to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the mint in Philadelphia.

That does not seem to be happening.

Perhaps supplies of cents generally are backed up more than usual in the banking system on the East Coast.

Or, is the Mint is simply making it harder to find the Philadelphia coin this year?

However hard it might be for collectors to find the new 2017-P cent in their change, it is nothing like what happened in 2009 when the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth was celebrated with four special designs.

The economy collapsed at the time of issue in 2009..

Demand for cents collapsed with it to 50-year lows.

Some collectors never found all four designs in their change.

That will not happen this year.

If they want a 2017-P they will eventually find one.

There are almost 1.2 billion of the new Philadelphia coins out there and more are coming in the next nine months.

If production is similar to last year, there will be 4.7 billion of the new Philadelphia coins circulating out there with the “P” mintmark.

That should make most collectors happy.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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