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Unfinished in More Ways Than One
May 16, 2011

I received a cent in change yesterday that startled me. It was part of a handful of coins totaling 84 cents that was due me as change from a $5 bill for a $4.16 purchase.

It was the fourth Lincoln cent design of 2009 honoring Lincoln’s Presidency. The reverse depicts the U.S. Capitol with the unfinished dome, which was under construction during the Civil War.

The coin was placed in my hand with the reverse side up, so the Capitol design is what I saw first.

Here we are a year and a half after the design was created and I am wracking my brain trying to remember if I have ever received one of these in change before.

I certainly reacted as if I had not.

The 2009-D coin appears to have been around a while. It is already losing the brilliant luster of a new cent as small brownish spots are taking hold in the fields on both sides.

Considering all the collector hullabaloo about the lack of these coins in circulation in 2009, I am surprised I do not hear more about them from readers.

Have they given up on them?

Or are others more used to them than I apparently am?

I did look at the other coins, but other than a 1973-D cent, it was a pretty nondescript batch of coins from recent years. I mention the 1973-D only because it is 95 percent copper and you do not see many of the copper ones floating around here any longer.

And, yes, I am still watching the price of silver. If the pattern of 1980 holds, it will close around $34.15 today and $33 tomorrow and then bounce up to $34.85 on Wednesday and $37.75 on Thursday.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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