Stan McDonald - author 's Blog

26 Oct 2021

Coin Hoarding - US Mint Special Issues

Coins | Stan McDonald - author

Coin Hoarding – US Mint Special Issues

By: Stan McDonald – 09.30.2021

Americans love historical coinage, and whenever the US Mint issues unique coins for circulation, collectors, novices, and the general population make efforts to hold onto samples they encounter. Some of the most minted coins have become rare in circulation because of hoarding.

When the Mint issued bicentennial coinage 1976, Washington quarters, and Kennedy halves, it wasn't long before the coins disappeared from circulation. Occasionally a collector can come across an AU or uncirculated bicentennial Washington quarter when the hoarded coins are released to circulation.

Although Kennedy halves are not considered special issues, they never circulated as expected because people rejected the half dollar. Vending machines did not have the equipment to accept the half-dollar, and most cash register draws had no place for the half. In addition, the half was heavy, and people did not accept carrying the coins. The buying power of the half, lessened by inflation, made spending the dollar bill easier for consumers.

In 1999, the US Mint began issuing four state quarters on an annual basis. At first, most of the coinage was hoarded by collectors, some seeking to profit from the inflation selling prices. After a few years of mintages, some collectors lost interest, and many novice collectors discontinued their collections, but this did not stop the massive hoarding. The pre-state quarter issues are still the most common quarters in circulation, even though the massive number of state quarters issued will probably not gain in numismatic value. The mintages of the state quarters and America the Beautiful coinage were reduced as the program continued and ended in 2021.

In 2004, the US Mint issued the Westward Journey series honoring the bi-centennial of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. The 2004 series included two coins, a Peace metal, and a Keelboat design. The 2005 designs included a Bison and an Ocean View, concluding the issues. Most of these coins have been hoarded, especially the Bison nickel, which has become rare in circulation. The mintage for 2004 is 1,445,040,000 and the 2005 mintages are 1,741,200,000. After 2005, the nickel mintages did not exceed 1.2 million per year until 2013, when the Mint struck over 1.2 million coins.

In 2009, the Mint issued the Lincoln Presidential series totaling 2.54 million coins. The 2009 Lincoln cents are rarer in circulation than wheat cents. After searching over 200,000 Lincoln cents and looking for error coins, we noted that about five 2009 Lincoln cents were located per box of 2,500 coins versus 12 wheat cents per box. Our search includes Lincoln cents from New England and Florida, giving us a good indication that there is no difference geographically. The hoarding of this series is unprecedented for any US coin which is widely used in daily transactions.

The hoarding of wheat cents gives new collectors an opportunity to start a collection of coins dated 1940 through 1958. We have put together near-complete sets from our 200,000 coin search, missing some of the 1943 steel cents. Most of the coins we placed into the sets are extra-fine or AU. We surmise that these finds were coins held in small hoards for years, then released to circulation when the hoarder realized the coins have no added numismatic value.


Long Beard

Level 5

Guilty. Need any Bicentennial issues? I have boxes of rolls. I stopped calling mine a collection years ago when it got out of control. The hoard is taking up entirely too much space!

LOL, I never purchased any bicentennial issues because the Mint usually Mints so many that the value never increases.


Level 4

I think I might be guilty of hoarding 2004 and 2005 nickels and 2009 cents. At least a hundred rolls of each. Very nice blog

So, you contributed to the lack of these coins in circulation? LOL

Long Beard

Level 5

I'm right behind you!


Level 5

It’s interesting that the bison is the hardest for you, because here in Georgia, the Bison is the most common! For us, it’s the keelboat that is hard to find.


Level 5

Very interesting. Amazing what hoards of coins are out there. So many jars of change. Everyone should cadh them in at once. The banks would be overwhelmed and tell people to stay away.


Level 6

Good blog. Very interesting. Enjoyed it! ; )


Level 7

It's a shame that all those cents made at West point we will never know. Because The first mint mark of West point were put on the quarters for circulation for us to find.


Level 6

Interesting facts here. The tellers at my bank hate getting half dollars as well as the small dollar coins. Thanks.

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