The United States Mint has published the latest production figures for the Hot Springs National Park Quarter, and the numbers suggest they will end with the lowest mintage of any quarter-dollar since 1955.
A total of 59,600,000 million were produced, with 29,000,000 from the Mint’s facility in Denver and 30,600,000 from its plant in Philadelphia.
[Editor’s update: In October 2010, the Mint indicated it produced more of the coins, with the latest figures showing a new total of 69,600,000, with 34,000,000 from Denver and 35,600,000 from Philadelphia.]
The Hot Springs quarter did not begin entering circulation until April 19, 2010, and its production only started in March 2010. The America the Beautiful Quarters™ series kicked off to a later than normal start, as the U.S. Mint had to build the new coin program to honor the 56 different national parks and national sites between 2010-2021.
Still, that is only a minor point. The quantity of coins made for circulation is dictated by commercial demand, and that has been extremely low since the throws of the U.S. recession began.
The tide may be turning. The Mint struck more coinage in May than in any other month in more than a year. This could indicate rising figures for forthcoming quarters, which would actually make the Hot Springs National Park Quarters more sought after from a comparative scarcity perspective.
When the 50 State Quarters Program™ launched in 1999, the very first Delaware coin had a production run of 774,82,000. That same year nearly 1.35 billion Connecticut quarters were struck for circulation. These provide a distinctive picture as to how small the Hot Springs issue is as the first America the Beautiful Quarters’ release.
In another contrasting example, last year’s District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program™ was also seriously affected by the economic downturn. Yet, the DC quarter hit 172,400,000. The final Northern Mariana Islands issue was the lowest, but still came in at a much higher 72,800,000 as compared to the Hot Springs quarter.
As an important point, Hot Springs mintages could still increase this year. During the first week of June the United States Mint announced a new purchase program where businesses could order America the Beautiful Quarters in bulk bags, and that:
"Orders for previously released coins will be accepted as long as unassigned inventory exists. The United States Mint may produce additional coins to satisfy orders throughout the year for the first few designs if time and resources permit; however, there is no guarantee, and orders may be refused. As the end of the calendar year approaches, flexibility in supplying previously released quarters diminishes."
As such, it is within the realm of possibility that the absolute final production figures for the Hot Springs National Park Quarter will not be known until early 2011.