Shortly after the 2009 Lincoln Cent launch, I wrote a post which mentioned the high prices paid for rolls of the new coins on eBay. One week later, the incredible price levels continue.
A quick review of recently completed eBay auctions shows unmarked rolls selling for $30 to $50 each. Single pennies have sold for $2 to $4 each. Rolls with a Lincoln postage stamp and cancellation from the first day of issue at Hogdenville, Kentucky have sold for over $200. Most astoundingly, a single 2009-P Lincoln Cent graded NGC MS66RD and attributed “First Day of Issue” has sold for $400.
As I explained previously, the excessive prices being paid for 2009 Lincoln Cents is largely the result of the temporary unavailability of the coins through normal channels. Federal Reserve Banks have been inundated by coins as a result of the slowing economy, which has caused them to suspend orders for new coins. Many seem to have taken thtemporary unavailability as an indication of rarity.
According to circulating production figures from the US Mint for the month of January 2009, 294 million of the new pennies have already been produced. Annualized, this number equates to a total mintage of 3.5 billion. Has there ever been a rare collectible where 3.5 billion of the items exist?
Eventually, 2009 Lincoln Cents will be distributed through the normal channels and the public will be able to obtain them from banks at face value. Whenever this occurs, the new coins will even start to appear in pocket change from daily transactions.
Even before this point, it’s possible that the US Mint might start selling rolls of the new cents directly to collectors. They are reportedly making a “concerted effort” to do so, amidst dealing with several other issues. If and when rolls are available from the US Mint, the offering price likely would not exceed $5 per roll.
It’s really hard to imagine a situation whereby the coins will retain their current high values after the temporary unavailability comes to an end. Perhaps the rolls marked from the launch ceremony at Hogdenville will hold their value, but for the early buyers of most of the 2009 Lincoln Cents, it probably won’t be a happy ending.