No coins were struck for circulation by the U.S. Mint in December 2009, leaving overall production totals for the year at low levels last seen in the 1950s.
That means the 2009 Lincoln cent sets just got scarcer. The mintage numbers for the fourth design, which marks the Lincoln presidency, have come in far below the totals for the first three.
Complete sets are limited in number to the coin with the lowest mintage in it.
Only 129.6 million of the Philadelphia Presidency coins were struck. Denver had a higher total at 198 million, but because it did not crack the 200 million mark, it will be perceived as scarcer than it perhaps really is.
In calendar year 2009 only 1.106 billion Philadelphia cents were produced. For Denver, the total was a larger 1.248 billion.
Breakdown of the other totals are:
Birth P: 284.4 million
Formative Years P: 376 million
Professional Life P 316 million
Birth D: 350.4 million
Formative Years D: 363.6 million
Professional Life D: 336 million
As low as these numbers are, still two out of every three coins struck in 2009 were cents.
Overall, 3.548 billion coins were struck for circulation in 2009. The paradox, of course, is that the cents, nickels and dimes especially were rarely encountered in circulation by the collecting public.