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So Far, First 2009 Philadelphia Cent the Key
July 10, 2009

There are almost 17 percent more Formative Years 2009 Lincoln cents than the log cabin Birthplace design.

Final mintage figures for the second design in the four-design series is 739,600,000. This compares to 634,800,000 for the first design.

The second design mintage total breaks down as 376,000,000 pieces struck in Philadelphia and 363,600,000 struck in Denver.

This compares to 284,400,000 Philadelphia pieces for the log cabin design and 350,400,000 for the Denver version.

What do these numbers tell us?

So far, the Philadelphia log cabin design has the lowest mintage.

But will it end up the key to the set?

Could be.

Obviously, the increase in mintage for the second design could be the beginning of a trend. The question is whether the higher figures for the second design were a Mint response to the public clamor to see more of the new cents, or whether it is a routine increase due to an improvement in the overall economy and coin demand generally.

I lean to the first possibility. If you look at overall monthly production numbers for all denominations combined, they are not rising. That probably means the economy is not demanding additional coins.

So that must mean that collectors and others who are anxious to get the new Lincoln cents are the determining factor.

If that is the case, the first design's 284,400,000 Philadelphia mintage will probably remain the lowest mintage of the eight-coin circulating set.

Because the cents in the collector sets will be made of the old 95 percent copper alloy, there is no easy way for hobbyists to assemble complete sets of both compositions.

Normally, buying the annual mint set got you one of everything. But this year's set when it comes will not have the zinc alloy cents in it. That is an opening for dealers to put together cent sets much as they did in 1982 for the two compositions that were used in that year.

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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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