Local Help for National Coin Shortage

Door County – The U.S. Mint has been operating at full production capacity, minting almost 1.6 billion coins since mid-June. It’s on track to mint 1.65 billion coins per month for the remainder of the year.

There’s an adequate supply of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in the economy, according to the Federal Reserve. As of April 2020, the U.S. Treasury estimated that the total value of coins in circulation was $47.8 billion, up from $47.4 billion in April 2019.

That coin supply chain moves from the U.S. Mint, which produces the new coins; to the Federal Reserve, which distributes them on behalf of the U.S. Mint; to armored carriers, banks, retailers and consumers who all move the coins around the economy.

COVID-19 interrupted that supply chain when people stopped paying in person and in cash for consumer goods. That meant fewer coins circulating within the economy, creating a shortage. 

A U.S. Coin Task Force was formed in June to identify, implement and promote actions to address disruptions to coin circulation. Banks got on board to help out, including local banks. North Shore Bank, for instance, encouraged people to exchange their coins for bills during July and August and was able to recirculate $830,000 at 46 branches across Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Of that total, $34,000 came from Door County.