Numismatists know that a coin does not have to be old to be interesting. A good number of interesting and attractive coins were struck in 2009. There was something for everyone – four special Lincoln cents, six territorial and District of Columbia quarters to round out the collection of state quarters, five different dollar coins, 13 bullion issues, two commemorative silver dollars and a special reproduction of a famous rarity. Including the nickel, dime and half dollar, that makes a total of 34 basic type coins to collect in this one recent year And this figure does not include mintmarks, proofs, or specially surfaced coins.
Lincoln fans had a lot to enjoy in 2009. Four special cents were minted, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln cent. The four different designs depict four phases of Lincoln’s life. The first coin shows a log cabin, representing Lincoln’s childhood. The second coin depicts young Lincoln sitting on a log reading, representing his formative years. The third coin shows Lincoln speaking in Springfield, Ill., his professional years, and the fourth coin shows the uncompleeted Capitol dome in Washington as it appeared during Lincoln’s presidency. Cents were minted at Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. Certain collector issues were made of 95 percent copper, just like the original 1909 cents, with coins included in mint sets having a satin finish.
The nickel, dime and half dollar were struck in 2009, with the half dollar only available through the Mint as a collector issue – the case since 2002. All three denominations were struck at Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.
Six different quarters were minted in 2009, honoring the District of Columbia and five United States Territories. The coins commemorating the five Territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Northern Marianas) depict the history or traditions of each area, with the Guam coin showing a map of the island. The District of Columbia quarter shows Duke Ellington at his piano, the first time an African American was depicted on a circulating U.S. coin. Quarters were struck in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco.
Silver proof versions of the dime, half dollar and the six quarters were struck for collector sets. A collector could choose to order proof sets including all of the coins, or just the six quarters in silver or copper-nickel clad.
Five different dollar coins of copper-manganese alloy were struck in 2009. The four Presidents honored this year on dollars coins were William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Polk and Zachary Taylor. Also minted was the Native American dollar, depicting Sacagawea on the obverse and a “Three Sisters” design on the reverse. These dollar coins were struck at Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco.
The five First Spouses of the four Presidents honored in 2009 were commemorated on half-ounce gold bullion coins minted at West Point, with a face value of $10. The five First Spouses were Anna Harrison, Letitia and Julia Tyler, Sarah Polk and Margaret Taylor.
Two commemorative silver dollars were struck in 2009. A Lincoln Bicentennial dollar was struck in silver. Lincoln’s head appears on the obverse, with a portion of the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s signature on the reverse. A proof set containing the silver dollar and four special cents was issued.
Another silver dollar, this one honoring Louis Braille, was issued. This coin has an inscription in Braille on the reverse, “one dollar.” Both types of dollars were minted at Philadelphia, Mint State and Proof.
Many bullion pieces were made in 2009. The familiar silver Eagle and the four gold Eagles (one, one-half, one-quarter, one-tenth ounce) were struck, along with a one-ounce platinum piece. One-ounce American Buffalo pieces in 24-karat gold were minted, in the familiar Buffalo nickel design. Proof collector versions of the Eagle bullion coins were omitted in 2009, irritating many
A coin considered to be the most beautiful United States coin was reproduced in 2009. An Ultra High Relief gold coin, modeled after a 1907 double eagle, was minted in 24-karat gold; each coin contains one ounce of gold. (The original double eagle was minted in .900 gold and weighed 33.436 grams.) There are other differences between the original and the 2009 restrike. The date 2009 appears in Roman numerals, MMIX. Fifty stars are on the edge of the coin, for the 50 states. Also, the motto “In God We Trust” appears on the reverse.
While most of the coins and bullion pieces of 2009 are rather common, they are all interesting, with many different ways of collecting in sets. With so many, you almost need a guide book just for this one year. Lincoln buffs have much to pick from, as do gold bugs, silver fans, quarter collectors, and anyone interested in modern U.S. coinage. Proof versions of the coins can be quite nice, showing details not seen on regular circulation coins. Because of the sheer number of types, 2009 is a special year for numismatists.