The first 2009 United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Sets have started to arrive. This year’s set went on sale relatively late in the year, beginning on October 1, 2009. The 2009 Mint Set contains a total of 36 different coins from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. The 2009 Lincoln Cents have a special composition of 95% copper, 3% zinc, and 2% tin. I have received my own sets and have a few observations to share after having them in hand.
The sets came packaged similarly to the prior year, sealed in a brown cardboard box with a barcode and product code on the outside of the box. There are two separate holders inside, which contain coins from the Denver and Philadelphia Mints. The holders have the same width as the prior year, but are greater in height to accommodate an extra row of coins.
The outside design of the holders is the exact same city skyline image used for the 2008 Mint Set. This packaging was pictured on the US Mint’s website, but I was hoping that it was just a placeholder image or prototype. The repeat in packaging is a little disappointing. The US Mint has used a different design for the envelope or holder for the annual Mint Sets since 1984. I can identify most 1984-2008 Mint Sets by their package design or image, and always considered this to be a unique reflection of the times.
about the Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent
Coins Contains in your 2009 United
States Mint Uncircualted Coin Set
Given the metallic composition used for the 2009 uncirculated one-cent coins — the same used for the original 1909 Lincoln Cents — the alloy readily tarnishes. The United States Mint has used anti-tarnish treatments to minimize this impact on the appearance of the uncirculated coins. However, the alloy used for the one-cent coins in this year’s uncirculated coin set is expected to tarnish more over time than the previous years’ plated zinc one-cent coins.
The US Mint had delayed the release of 2009 Mint Set due to the unique tarnish issues created by the 95% copper Lincoln Cents. Even though they apparently resolved the tarnish issues over the short term, they are providing for the possibility that the tarnish issue may still present over a longer time period.
I examined a few 2009 Mint Sets and found the overall quality of the coins to be about the same as last year’s except for the Philadelphia Mint Lincoln Cents. Most of these were mark free with pristine surfaces. Even though satin finish coins are specially struck and handled, most tend to pick up at least some light contact marks or abrasions. These better quality 2009-P Lincoln Cents might have just been the luck of the draw and not indicative of the quality of the coins in all sets.
As might be expected, some people are already selling the satin finish 95% copper 2009 Lincoln Cents on eBay. Some have been sold in sets of eight coins, which seem to be selling for $7 to $15 per set. Others are putting together twelve coin sets of the 95% copper 2009 Lincoln Cents, which include the satin finish issues and the proof issues. Someone is also selling satin finish rolls of 50 coins, which would require the break up of 50 2009 Mint Sets to create. Overall, these don’t seem to be making as big a stir on the secondary market as when the 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents were first available. View the current eBay auctions here.