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Four Lincolns Too Many?
October 17, 2008

Collector opinions sometimes surprise me. That they have opinions is a given. That they are willing to express them is a given. I count on nothing less.

But what surprises me is a number of negative opinions expressed about the four Lincoln cents that will be issued in 2009 to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the 16th President of the United States.

These opinions aren't about the designs. It is about the quantity. They think four is too many.

Why am I surprised? Well, we have had 50 state quarter designs. Next year we get six designs for the District of Columbia and associated territories of the United States. Complaints aimed at them centered on whether they should be considered part of the state quarter program. I don't recall anybody saying that we just can't tolerate six more designs.

We have four Presidential dollars each year for approximately 10 years. The focus of complaints was where "In God We Trust" was located, not that a set of 40 or so Presidents was too much or that the 40 or so First Ladies in gold were over the top.

After all of this, four Lincoln cent designs are an expression of Mint greed?

Technically that isn't true because Congress ordered the Mint to issue them, But even if the Mint had pulled the idea out of the air and said, "Four cents, let's do them," it seems odd that what are likely to be the cheapest offerings to collectors in years are what are having the potshots taken at them.

It seems to me the timing is great. Next year money will likely be tight for collectors, so what better way is there to help them keep their interest and activity level up than four Lincoln cents?

Besides, metals have fallen so much that the Mint probably won't lose money on the circulation strikes.

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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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