Friday, June 19, 2009

2009 Lincoln Pennies

I have previously discussed the 2009 Lincoln penny, which features four new designs to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the first Lincoln penny. The designs on the 2009 penny will only be used this year - new designs will be featured on pennies in 2010 and during subsequent years.

The first 2009 penny design, featuring a design commemorating Lincoln's birth and early childhood in Kentucky, was released on February 12, 2009. I live in Chicago, IL, and I have yet to see any 2009 pennies having this first design. Apparently 634 million pennies having this design were minted, but I have yet to see one in circulation.

The second penny design, featuring a design commemorating Lincoln's formative years in Indiana, was released on May 14, 2009. I recently received pennies featuring this design as change at my local grocery store. I went straight to my bank after receiving those pennies in change and was able to purchase 10 uncirculated rolls of the 2009 pennies with the second design.

As far as I can tell, many people have been hoarding 2009 pennies. Collectors have been purchasing rolls of the 2009 pennies from banks and consumers receiving the 2009 pennies in change are also saving them. Demand for the 2009 pennies is very high and collectors have been selling 2009 pennies on eBay at prices above the 1-cent face value of the pennies.

The mintage for the 2009 pennies is far lower than it has been in years past. I have read that because the U.S. economy in mired in a deep recession, people having been using the change that they have accumulated over the years to either purchase goods or to deposit into their bank accounts. As a result, there are many more old coins in circulation right now than there has been in years past. Consequently, the U.S. Mint has been minting far fewer coins than it has in previous years.

The mintage of 2009 pennies is supposedly going to be maybe 25% of what it has been in recent years. The combination of relatively low mintage combined with the high demand by collectors for the 2009 pennies means that they are very hard to find. Anyone who has at least somewhat of a passing interest in coin collecting should seriously consider saving 2009 pennies if that person ever receives such pennies as change for a purchase.