Long Beard's Blog

02 Aug 2020

A Similar Scenario

Coins | Long Beard

One of the hottest current topics which goes beyond the numismatic community is the coin shortage. The subject for this week looks back to the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920 for comparison to COVID-19 as it applies to coinage. Specifically 1922 when only the Lincoln Cent Peace Dollar were struck.First, one must understand that there is no "shortage" of coinage as billions have and are being struck by the mints adding to what already exists in Reserve vaults. The issuestems from a supply chain disruption caused by the closure of businesses which keep the coinage flowing.While I found no definitive proof of a supplyissue during the Spanish Flu, only the manner in which it affected large and small cities alike, the certainty of the same would seem logical.While the conclusions drawn are of my own opinion, a look at the mintage numbers becomes a strong indicator for history repeating it's self. Enjoy!

1922 was an interesting year as only two denominations were struck. A measly 7,160,000 Cents and 84,275,000 Dollars between three mints. Putting that in perspective requires looking at the production totals of all denomination before, duringand immediately after the pandemic.

1917- 501,019,804

1918- 538,061,000

1919- 738,642,000

1920- 630,259,400

1921- 159,615,473

1923- 251,735,000

So, total output actually rose in the midst of a pandemic which ultimately claimed millions of lives and most certainly disrupted business and commerce. The actual ramifications from the incident occurred one year later andlasting two years.

Now, comparing the same figures fromtwo years before and during COVID-19.

2018- 13,125,000,000

2019- 11,900,000,000

2020- 1,209,670,000 as of June

In 2019, the mint contributed 17% of newly struck coin to the supply chain. Currently running at full capacity, despite employee safety protocols, the monthly projection is 1.65 billion per month which would end the year reasonable close to the previous. By comparison, just short of one billion per month were struck in 2019.

The conclusion? Look at the figures of 1917 and 1918, the year before and the first of the pandemic. Those numbers are eerily reflective of 2019 and 2020 should the projected output hold true. As businesses begin reopening and circulation increases to ease the supply issue, newly minted coin should decrease over the next few years and continue until normal flow resumes. Does this mean a year without certain denominations being struck as was the case in 1922? Personally, having studied the numbers and economic climate of both time periods, perhaps a few may not see a mintage in coming years.Yet this seems highly unlikely. However, even a drop to say, 750 million total production for all denominations would make things very interesting for the collecting community. Only time will tell.



Level 4

Very interesting! I love reading people’s thoughts on the current situation unless they’re trying to say we’re going into a “cashless society.”


Level 6

I still say there is no shortage. It's a transportation/delivery problem.


Level 5

I liked our study of the coin shortage. Nice blog!


Level 7

The Mint has had a hard time with the virus. To have a shortage of our regular coinage is a reflection of that. I think that the mint is not telling us the whole story.. Like I said it has more secrets than the Kremlin. I'm willing to bet that more employees were sick than they knew. Example West Point closing. .. Then they came out with another man made rarity. The ASE emergency. Now that had 2,4000,00 coins. There still selling these. Everywhere.I don't think the people bought into this. I mean a letter stating what happened. Is there a big difference if it's made at West Point of Philadelphia? It's the same coin. . That gives them the right to charge 299.00. Not me. I'm tired of this. Thanks for the blog

I. R. Bama

Level 5

I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the subject,,,,,

If the treasury decides that there is no need to mint coins next year, because there are plenty of coins backed up in vaults, they may mint very little, or non eat all, like in the Philippines. For a coin to be "rare" today, I still think it needs less than 6 million minted, and with minting technology today, I'm pretty sure a few hours could produce that many.


Level 6

One factor to consider is the number of actual circulating type coins produced. Currently and for many years, we have had only four different coins produced for circulation. Back during the Spanish Flu, we also had the Half Dollar for circulation as well as Gold Coins and Silver Dollars reemerging in 1920/1921. I have a strong feeling that with the Billions of coins produced nowadays, even in an off year say 6 billion total, that is much more than the numismatic community can absorb. There will be late night TV show hucksters that tout the rare 2020 coins, telling you to set aside your rolls of nickels now. It's all a chimera to me.


Level 5

Look's like the mint better get busy ! Hopefully things will get better and life back to more normal times. Very good work on the blog, you put some work into this. Good job ! Very interesting. Keep staying safe and healthy.

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