US Mint suspends mutilated coin redemption program

US Mint suspends mutilated coin redemption program

The program had resumed operations in January 2018 with new guidelines, certifications.


The U.S. Mint, Washington, suspended its mutilated coin redemption program this May. The U.S. Mint receives large bundles of coins that have been mutilated or damaged in the recycling process of used cars, vending machines, laundry machines and other sources. The program has been operated by U.S. Mint for many decades. 

Several years ago, the U.S. Mint suspended this program while pursuing litigation. Scrap recyclers had to store these recovered unusable coins during that period. The U.S. Mint had previously resumed operation of the mutilated coin redemption program in January 2018 as it released new guidelines and certifications for submissions. 

Some of the new guidelines include the establishment of procedures for certifying participants based on submission amounts and frequency, sampling submissions to authenticate material, conducting site visits for certain participants and requiring information about how the submissions came to be bent or partial. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, reports that this was considered a major victory for the recycling industry, which had been stockpiling mutilated coins during the moratorium.

“The [three-year suspension resulted in scrap processors storing millions of dollars in coins for that time period,” says Billy Johnson, chief lobbyist at ISRI.

As recycling technology has advanced the ability to accumulate coins in significant quantities has grown quickly, ISRI reports that this is an integral part of many recycling companies’ operations and product lines. According to an ISRI news release, the association is reaching out to the U.S. Mint to determine why the program was suspended. ISRI hopes to see the program resume operations as soon as possible.

“After a three-year moratorium, ISRI worked with the U.S. Mint to get the mutilated coin redemption program reinstated at the end of 2017,” says Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “It is a major disappointment the Mint has once again suspended the program that is worth millions of dollars to the recycling industry. ISRI, on behalf of its members, is working to identify any issues the Mint may have with the program and will once again offer solutions to get the program reinstated as soon as possible.”

“These coins are worth a lot of money,” Johnson adds. “There is nothing the scrap processor can do, other than redeem them with the Mint. The Mint has operated this program for decades to recoup all the damaged coins from the recycling process.”