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Time to Look at Our Shared Past
September 22, 2008

Today, the U.S. Mint formally unveils to the public the four new reverse designs for the Lincoln cent. In the coming months, many of us will have the opportunity to return to our hobby roots as they are issued.

The 200th anniversary of the birth of Lincoln will be marked in 2009 as well as the 100th anniversary of the birth of the cent that carries his image, which was designed by Victor David Brenner.

Many, if not most, collectors consider the Lincoln cent their starting point in the hobby. Certainly in my generation this was true.

I suppose technically I did not start collecting with the Lincoln cent because my very first numismatic memory centers on a red seal $2 United States Note that my father gave me when I was six or seven years old.

It grabbed my attention enough that I kept it and I still have it. But there was no way a young child of almost 50 years ago would start collecting paper money.

Lincoln cents provided the inspiration in the year I turned eight. Whitman albums provided the road map and the time I spent filling the holes and learning about mints, mint marks and mintages as I filled the die-cut holes brought me fully into the field.

That's what I will be thinking about as we celebrate the Lincoln bicentennial. That's what I imagine many other collectors will be thinking about as well.

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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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