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Depends on How You Express It
July 12, 2010

The increasing number of reports of finds of the new 2010 Union Shield cent in circulation is no accident.

The U.S. Mint has been ramping up production.

Because the U.S. Mint doesn’t set coin demand, but only fulfills orders, this means the economy has worked through the surplus of cent coins and is once again demanding new ones in large numbers.

For the month of June, 585.2 million cents were struck. That one-month production equals a quarter of all cents produced in 2009.

Who would have thought that when the special commemorative cent designs for 2009 were authorized in 2005 that the year’s greatest characteristic would be a contraction of coin demand on a scale not see since the Great Depression?

Well, that is just the way it turned out, but in the long run that will probably help keep prices of the cents honoring the Bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth higher than they otherwise would have been had they been issued in a more normal year.

To be sure, 2.354 billion 2009 cents is not a small number, but when you divide it up among four designs and two mints, that brings things down to much more manageable levels.

The 129.6 million of the Philadelphia Presidential design when expressed in 50-coin rolls seems positively scarce at 2.592 million rolls.

That will mean something over the long term.

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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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