When coins are retired (destroyed)

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Long Beard, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. Long Beard

    Long Beard Active Member

    When the mint decided to end silver in 1965 and replace it with a much harder nickel-copper composition I don't think they fully realized at the time how long these last in circulation before being deemed unfit and confined to destruction. Thinking about the whole process involved, I begin to wonder why the mint pumps out hundreds of millions of any given denomination from year to year. In fact, the mintage numbers seem to grow over the years. I would like to believe that the number destroyed, which is recorded, would dictate the number to replace with new strikes based on financial and economic need.

    To explain what I mean, lets say they destroyed one quarter of an estimated 1.5 billion quarters from the years 1965 to 1998. Leaving out the 1975/76 Bicentennial issue and ending before the Statehood to reduce collector input. That would be 375,000,000 confined to the scrap pile. The average mintage from those years is around 800,000,000. Looking at the average numbers, this is nearly half of what's struck as replacement. Looking at those years, and weighing the collector affect, this appears about right. However, adding in the quarters struck since 1999, averaging around 20,000,000 per year (five designs at 400,000,000 each), the numbers now become unrealistic. Despite the popularity, many are found in circulation mingling with many still from the pre-statehood years. So what am I missing? Why are they striking far more than the economy could ever use?
    Robert Ransom likes this.
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  3. bugi1976

    bugi1976 Member

    people throw them awy, bring them abroad or put them in jars...
  4. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    So, you're saying the re-population is greater than the de-population which results in a continuing growth in the population? It should be no surprise. Entities entrusted to protect, defend and promote our welfare do the same. I have to be careful what I post. Seriously, it does make you wonder where all those coins find a home. Perhaps someone will post a detailed response.:):):):):)
  5. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Recalled for destruction? Records of such destruction? That's news to me! Where did you get this information? ~ Chris
    Hookman likes this.
  6. QuintupleSovereign

    QuintupleSovereign Well-Known Member

    I suspect that the pre-1982 cents are being gradually withdrawn from circulation.
  7. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    Well, in the old days, the Annual Report of the Director of the Mint always had a section on "uncurrent coin" reclaimed for re-striking. In later editions, this broke out silver reclaimed from those coins (which of course was no longer made into new coins). I saw something about "mutilated and uncurrent coins" in a later edition.
  8. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    What and where is this information on the destruction of coins? The Mint makes tins of coins simply because we the people, put them everywhere. In jars and bottles, in car ashtrays and believe it or not, we've made floors and toilet seats from them.
  9. calcol

    calcol Supporter! Supporter

    I doubt banks scan coins for ones older than a certain date to return for destruction. It is probably coins that have physical defects and get rejected by sorting machines that go back to the Mint or Fed for destruction. Or not. Harley Spiller in his book, Keep the Change, tells a story about a banker friend and what he does with "ruined" coins and currency. Tellers deposit such items in special containers. Periodically, the banker dumps the containers in a box, then tapes it shut and makes sure it has no identifying marks. Then in the dark of night, he tosses it in a dumpster outside the bank. Says it's cheaper to dispose of the ruined money this way than go through all the accounting, overhead, and shipping to the Mint or Fed.

    Corn Man and LA_Geezer like this.
  10. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    Until early in this century the mint destroyed very few clad quarters. Even now the numbers are quite low compared to production. Yes, they get truckload after truckload of mixed coins damaged in municipal incinerators and these do add up but there are still very few worn and damaged coins culled out of circulation. Many of these are quarters that won't go through coin counting machines at the coin distribution centers.

    Coins are being lost and destroyed one at a time for the main part or getting burned up in fires or bulldozed after floods. They get sucked up into vacuum cleaners and recycled in old cars. They aren't worth much any longer so many are in huge change jars and then the whole accumulation is destroyed by some means.
  11. OCPadrino

    OCPadrino New Member

    I'd take a small percentage of just what sits at the bottom of fountains everywhere.
    Kentucky likes this.
  12. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    On my first visit to a friends's apartment in which he had strewn, literally, thousands and thousands of coins all over the floors of every room in his place. He had this aversion to carrying coins in his pockets; at times he would refuse change from cashiers. I thought he was unique until I entered the apartment of a local artist on which there was paper currency of every denomination scattered about his place in a similar fashion. There may have been thousands of dollars in this artist's place.
  13. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 64 years

    Unfortunately, I'm not sitting on a gold mine yet.
  14. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    The over production is unnecessary as less and less coins are being used for commerce and in vending machines, parking meters and tolls (etc.) as those machines have been redesigned to accept bills, credit cards and EZ Passes.
    Cash is still used but more and more people use credit and debit card for all transactions no matter how small. They could produce one tenth the amount of coins and there would still be more than enough, as the old coins can easily circulate for many decades. Look at the 1965 clad quarter. It's already 55 years old and there is no shortage of them.
    As for the pennies and pre 1982 cents they are not needed. Everything can be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel or dime without any significant loss or gain over the long term. Inflation has made these coins almost worthless and more and more people don't even take them. They leave them in the self serve change cup and even throw them away.
    LA_Geezer and Cosmokk like this.
  15. Bill H.

    Bill H. Member

    The mint produces coins based on the DEMAND for said coins. The Federal Reserve places orders based on the regional banks orders which is based on the local institutions orders. Each bank AND business holds a supply of coins they believe they'll need to operate their business. Think about the many Barber coins you've seen in your collecting "career". Many are good to fine condition. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, these were WORKING coins. Trading hands numerous times a day for decades. Today, people don't generally spend the coins they receive in change. They get thrown in a jar and sometimes get recycled to a bank or coinstar. The individual coins don't circulate like they used to. Hence, the need to produce more for the modern economy. My "2 cents" worth.
  16. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 64 years

    That's the problem with coinage today. How many people actually use coins in commerce today? When I pay cash for something I pull out a few paper notes and any coinage in return goes into my pocket and then a jar when I get home. When the jar is getting full I take it to the bank, where they put it through their change counter and deposit the amount into my account. I wonder how much change the average person has in a jar or box. About the only time I use change is when I need quarters for the car wash. Given that most car washes now have credit card readers, the change option may faze out over time.
    Cheech9712 likes this.
  17. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Ask yourself how many coins you have lost in your lifetime. Now multiply that by the number of US citizens. Any ideas as to why the Mint produces so many.
  18. Spark1951

    Spark1951 Accomplishment, not Activity Supporter

    I use change coins and cash every day I buy groceries.

    I pay for one item first with cash, like some celery for $1.39. Then I plunk in 38 pennies or other coins until $1.01 remains. Then I feed two 1 dollar bills and get 99 cents in coins as change (It feeds my coin hunting addiction). I pay for the rest with a card.

    I found a MS63 Homestead quarter yesterday that also has the “snow on the roof” attribute recognized by Wexler and others. All the others were spenders: too much wear...Spark
  19. Nyatii

    Nyatii I like running w/scissors. Makes me feel dangerous

    I think I found part of the problem.
    Cheech9712, wxcoin and Robert Ransom like this.
  20. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    I think you found most of the problem.
    Cheech9712 and Nyatii like this.
  21. Michael K

    Michael K Well-Known Member

    I seriously doubt, the demand on the mint over the last 21 years,
    was to produce (approx.) 50 billion quarters. Not even including S business strikes and proofs and silver poofs.
    There are probably almost enough quarters leftover from 1965-1998 to meet our day to day needs.
    While there are (330? million people in the US) let's say 250 million use quarters. That's 200 quarters for every person to keep in a jar over the last 21 years. How many of those get lost or destroyed? 3? No one needs 197 quarters (for business purposes) at any one time. And everyone has that many.
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