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Log cabin

With production now finished for the first two of four 2009 Abraham Lincoln cent designs, scarcity patterns are starting to be discernible.

Lowest mintage so far is the 284,400,000 total for the Philadelphia Birthplace design depicting a log cabin representing the 16th President’s Kentucky roots.

Second lowest is the 350,400,000 Birthplace cents struck by the Denver Mint.

The combined total from the two circulating coin production facilities is 634,800,000 of the Birthplace design.

Third on the scarcity scale is the Denver Formative Years design, which shows Lincoln seated on a log reading after a session of splitting rails while he lived in Indiana. The “D” mint output was 363,600,000.
Philadelphia cranked out 376,000,000 of the Formative Years issue.

The two mints combined for a 739,600,000 cent total for the Formative Years design, up almost 17 percent from the first design.

While it is premature to crown the first P-mint cent of the year the low-mintage champ, there is a good chance it will work out that way in the end.

Indications are that the economy is recovering at least somewhat from the deepest slump since the Depression. Combine the likely increased coin demand that will go with this trend and the Mint’s efforts to satisfy public demand for the new cent and the odds seem to favor continuing modest mintage increases for the third and fourth designs of 2009.

The third design, depicting Lincoln as a lawyer at the Illinois state Capitol in Springfield, will debut there in the middle of August. Collectors and others who attend will be able to buy the new cents for face value. Collectors also will be offered the two-roll sets of the new coins directly by the Mint for $8.95 each. The Mint is already signing up collectors for these coins through its subscription service.

The Illinois ceremony could easily attract a large a crowd as did the Lincoln City, Ind., ceremony in May.

Before this year started, who would have thought buying cents for face value could be such a motivator?

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