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Cent Above All
April 13, 2010

Numismatic News has been running weekly reader poll questions for quite a while now – so long in fact that I can’t quite remember when we started doing it.

Any question that relates to the U.S, cent blows every other one out of the water in terms of the rate of response.

What is it about the cent that generates such passion?

My interest in the denomination is rooted in my fruitless search to find a 1909-S VDB as I filled my Lincoln cent albums in the mid 1960s.

Did I expect to find one? No, not really. The 484,000 mintage I had memorized from the Red Book was a pretty daunting figure.

Yet a guy on my paper route had found one. Why not me?

I never saw it. Maybe he was just pulling my leg, but it was a hopeful story for someone like me to continue chasing the dream for probably longer than common sense dictated.

Eventually, though, I abandoned searching for the Holy Grail of Lincolns. It wasn’t worth the search time. I was doing much better with other denominations.

But that love of the cent lingers. The memories came back last year as I looked for the 2009 designs and wrote about their scarcity. They came back as I looked at my first Union Shield 2010 coin.

It would seem that almost all collectors must feel the same way, too, or why would they respond with such passion to weekly poll questions about the Lincoln cent?

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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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