Note: This is a story previously published at peterplanchet.com.That site has a related video.
The US mint has halted production of all Jefferson Nickels and Roosevelt dimes for the remainder of 2009. The final mintage totals for these coins will be similar to the 1950's. In particular, the 2009D Roosevelt dime should end up with mintage of only around 50 million. Compare this to the billions that were produced over a decade ago. Why the halt? The first reason is the move towards a cashless society. As Americans use credits cards for even the smallest of purchases, the need to produce coins and paper money diminishes. The larger reason, however, is the recession. When the economy was doing well, Americans dumped their daily change into boxes or drawers. Now that there's a recession, those boxes and drawers are being tapped. Ergo, there is no need for new coins. It will be interesting to see how many older coins suddenly turn up in circulation.