Cost to produce and distribute Lincoln cent rose during Fiscal Year 2016

U.S. Mint’s annual report notes that costs of other denominations fell
By , Coin World
Published : 02/25/17
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The cost to produce and distribute copper-plated zinc Lincoln cents during Fiscal Year 2016 increased about 5 percent over the previous year, remaining above face value.

Fiscal Year 2016 was the 11th straight year for the costs to produce the Lincoln cent and Jefferson 5-cent coin to total above the coins’ face value.

The U.S. Mint’s recently released 2016 Annual Report — covering the federal fiscal year from Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016 — states the per-coin cost to strike and distribute Lincoln cents registered at 1.5 cents, up from 1.43 cents in FY 2015, but down from the 1.66-cent cost in FY 2014.

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The U.S. Mint’s research and development project into alternative compositions for U.S. coins indicates at least two alternative compositions are available for the cent that would bring the cost below face value, but neither would maintain the coin’s reddish color.

Meanwhile, the per-coin cost to strike and distribute Jefferson copper-nickel 5-cent coins, Roosevelt copper-nickel clad dimes and America the Beautiful copper-nickel clad quarter dollars all dropped during FY 2016 compared with the previous fiscal year.

The report indicates the following per-coin costs by denomination in three different fiscal years:

➤ Jefferson 5-cent coins — 6.32 cents (2016); 7.44 cents (2015); 8.09 cents (2014).

➤ Roosevelt dimes — 3.08 cents (2016); 3.54 cents (2015); 3.91 cents (2014).

➤ America the Beautiful quarter dollars — 7.63 cents (2016); 8.44 cents (2015); 8.95 cents (2014).

According to the U.S. Mint’s 2016 report, the average spot price of nickel during FY 2016 dropped 30.9 percent from the previous fiscal year, to $9,264.43 per ton.

Average copper prices fell 19.6 percent over the same period to $4,766.68 per ton, while zinc prices over the same period dropped 10.4 percent to $1,868.28 per ton.


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The Jefferson 5-cent coins are struck on planchets composed of an homogenous alloy of 75-percent copper and 25-percent nickel.

The dimes and quarter dollars are made from outer layers of 75-percent copper and 25-percent nickel alloy bonded to a core of pure copper.

The U.S. Mint shipped a total of 16,308,000,000 coins combined, struck at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, for circulation in FY 2016 compared with 16,151,000,000 in FY 2015 and 13,307,000,000 in FY 2014.

The FY 2016 shipments totaled 9,114,000,000 Lincoln cents, 1,578,000,000 Jefferson 5-cent coins, 3,134,000,000 Roosevelt dimes and 2,482,000,000 America the Beautiful quarter dollars. This compares with FY 2015 shipments of 9,155,000,000 Lincoln cents, 1,477,000,000 Jefferson 5-cent coins, 2,874,000,000 Roosevelt dimes and 2,645,000,000 America the Beautiful quarter dollars. FY 2014 shipments totaled 7,920,000,000 Lincoln cents, 1,211,000,000 Jefferson 5-cent coins, 2,223,000,000 Roosevelt dimes and 1,683,000,000 America the Beautiful quarter dollars.


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Seigniorage per $1 of U.S. coins issued reached 52 cents in FY 2016 compared with 49 cents in FY 2015 and 37 cents in FY 2014. Seigniorage reflects the difference between the face value of a coin and the production and distribution costs.

However, FY 2016 revenue from circulating coinage production was $1,104.2 million, down 0.9 percent from FY 2015. 

Several errors with mintage figures were corrected at 10:54 a.m. ET Monday, Feb. 27.

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