Copper 2009 Lincoln Cents


I wanted to do a full post on something I mentioned in the forum of the newly created Lincoln Cent Group on Coin Network.

One aspect of the upcoming 2009 Lincoln Cents that does not seem to be getting much attention is the 95% copper numismatic versions of the coins that will be issued. Authorization to produce these coins was included in legislation for the 2009 redesign. From the legislation:

The Secretary of the Treasury shall issue 1-cent coins in 2009 with the exact metallic content as the 1-cent coin contained in 1909 in such number as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for numismatic purposes.

The current composition of the Lincoln Cent is 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. The original composition was 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc.

So far the only mention from the US Mint on this copper version of the 2009 Cents is included on their website as follows:

The Secretary of the Treasury shall mint and issue numismatic one-cent coins in 2009 with the exact metallic content as contained in the 1909 one-cent coin (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc). These numismatic versions will be included in the United States Mint’s annual product offerings.

Based on this, it sounds like the Copper 2009 Lincoln Cents would only be included in 2009 Mint Sets and 2009 Proof Sets. In my opinion, this would be a very anticlimactic way to offer this special version of the cent.

The copper Lincoln Cents would be included along with 14 other coins (or 28 for the Mint Set) in sealed Mint packaging. The composition difference would barely be noticeable, and the distinction of these specially issued coins would be lost.

My recommendation to the US Mint: offer the 95% copper 2009 Lincoln Cents in bags and rolls.

The US Mint has not announced their product line up for 2009, but presumably Lincoln Cent bags and rolls would be a part of it. Offering a special version of the cents would be preferable to offering the regular zinc cents at the typically high premiums charged for US Mint issued bags and rolls.

I think that this kind of offering would be popular with collectors. The cents contained in the bags and rolls would represent the only circulation quality strike 2009 Lincoln Cents with a composition of 95% copper. By comparison, the Mint Set would contain a satin finish (SMS) version of the copper cent. The Proof Sets would contain a Proof version of the copper cent. Coins found in circulation would have the zinc composition.

No matter how many of the bags and rolls the US Mint sells, the final mintage for these circulation strike copper cents will end up in the millions. This would compare to final mintages in the billions for the zinc versions. The Copper 2009 Lincoln Cent would become a unique, lower mintage coin for this important year.

So far, collector response to the upcoming 2009 Lincoln Cents has seemed relatively muted. The US Mint has the opportunity to do something interesting with this special offering. Let’s see what they do in 2009.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    LOL–how many times will the mint have to reprice real copper pennies??

    Sorry I guess I’ve become to jaded by 2008′s fiascos

  2. Anonymous says

    Sir, After inquiring in a letter to the US Mint regarding the possible minting of the 2009 Lincoln cent in a proof version, I received this written answer on October 10, 2008:
    “At this time there are no plans to offer the 2009 US Mint pennies in a proof set”.
    While if true, this doesn’t speak to the possibility of the Mint producing a proof version of each of the 2009 Lincoln pennies if for no reason other than the 2009 US Mint Proof set

  3. astroguy says

    I was wondering about this, too. I kinda assumed, though, that they would offer it much like the proof SBA in 1999, just a stand-alone coin in a li’l cheap-o case.

    As to why collector response is muted, I think that it’s because we’re worn out with the state quarter program (which “officially” has now ended according to the Mint, but we’re on to 6 new coins next year plus another 10-20 years of state/federal parks after that) plus the 4 president dollars next year plus the new Sacagawea dollar next year … it’s just too much! I, at least, only have so much enthusiasm to give!

  4. Anonymous says

    The copper versions will most certainly be included in the mint and proof sets, no doubt about it, like the state quarters, sac dollars and pres dollars… I am only 50% sure they will do a stand alone cent set… Some pressure from the current pres might just force that issue.. I think that out of respect for Lincoln, there should be a stand alone set, but as a collector, I hope not, there would be more of them that way…… Less money for them later on making them seem less important to non collectors and investors..

  5. Michael says

    Since I wrote this post, the US Mint has announced a 5 Coin Lincoln set that will contain the 4 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents and the 2009 Lincoln Commemorative.

    They are also working on making 2009 Lincoln Cents available for sale by the roll, but I think these will likely be the zinc versions.

  6. Anonymous says

    The 95% Copper Cents ought to have something included onto the design of these coins such as “95% Copper” or “Honest Abe Cent” in order to distinguish them from the current circulating Copper plated Zinc cents. This would require an act of Congress to change the design of a coin or to create purely commemorative coins.

  7. Anonymous says

    A dead horse can only be beat so many times before the stench is overpowering.

    That said I will hold my nose, breath through my mouth and beat it once again.

    Congress in their infinite quest to stay their inevitable removal from public life and early retirement, have again shot themselves in the foot.

    Having voted to extend the mintage period for the 2009Lincoln cent they have left the door open for the US Mint to create yet more products using these 95% copper Lincoln cents..

    Don't be surprised if next year you see the US Mint offering Proof and Satin Finish Lincoln cents in a "LIMITED EDITION" set along with the new 2010 Lincoln cent.

    There are no plans to make 95% Lincoln cent dated 2010at this time but be sure some Congress (man or woman) will be tacking this stipulation onto a new piece of legislation in order to get it passed..

    Like the "Girl Scout Commemorative Bill" you may see it as a rider on a bill for "Hog Futures Enrichment" or some such unrelated legislation.

    At this time the mint has not announced this option is on the books.

    But:

    In the words for Scarlett O'Hara " Fiddly De" I can't think about that now.

    After all "Tomorrow is another day."

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