Cent Scarcest in 50 Years
By Numismatic News
Lincoln cent with the Birthplace design on the
reverse is the scarcest cent struck for
circulation in over 40 years if you measure by a
single mint's output and the scarcest since 1954
if you lump the output together.
The Philadelphia Mint struck 284.8 million of
the coins. The Denver Mint struck 350 million.
The combined total is 634.8 million pieces.
Not since 1954 has the combined output of the
nation's minting facilities been so low.
You have to go back to 1968 to find an
individual mint's cent output that is lower than
the 2009 Philadelphia Mint total. In that year,
the San Francisco Mint cranked out 258,270,001
cents for circulation.
In an interesting parallel, collectors in 1968
were eagerly looking for the new cents because
they were the first identifiable output from the
San Francisco Mint since 1955. Many collectors
considered the "S" mintmark to be almost magical
because coins with it were often lower in number
than the totals of other mints.
Collectors also were rather starved for
something interesting in their change. There had
been no mintmarks used since the 1964 coinage.
The 2009 Birthplace design is also almost
magical because it has proven so difficult for
many collectors to find in their change.
Low coin demand because of the recession has
dramatically slowed the normal cent release
process and many banks have not been inclined to
spend the money to obtain supplies of the
The next design of the four to be employed this
year debuts in Indiana May 14. It marks
Lincoln's Formative Years in that state. Site of
the special introduction ceremony will be the
Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln City, Ind.
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