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More Lincoln Calls to Come
December 12, 2008

As the days count down toward 2009, I think more and more about the numismatic Year of Abraham Lincoln.

The 200th anniversary of his birth comes along Feb. 12. The year is also the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln cent.

Cent dealer John Wells gave me a call this week to talk about current production figures. He mentioned that they were very low. I have written a few blogs this year about low coin production overall.

He is certainly right. Through November, the U.S. Mint has struck only 5,408,400,000 cents. In the year 2000, the annual total was over 14 billion.

This mintage number does not make the coins rare, but it gives collectors something to think about as they make plans for the next collecting year.

With demand low from the economy overall, the Mint should have no problem striking the four new designs it has planned for 2009.

With the current recession, it might seem silly to worry about the Mint's coining capacity, but at least since the 1960s, the Mint's ability to meet the economy's demand for cents has been one of the ongoing nagging worries. Sporadic cent shortages and composition changes through the years keep the pot boiling.

Any hoarding next year will not likely be motivated by a motive to make a profit on the metallic value. I checked and see that the cent has a metallic value of .00228420. That's probably more decimal places than you need, but the Web site is nothing if not thorough.

Even the old 95-percent copper alloy cent of 1982 and before is worth less than a cent in metallic value. It has been a long time since this has been true.

Lincoln's year is just about here. I look forward to more calls from John Wells and others who specialize in this very popular coin series.

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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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