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New year, new cent, new attitude?

Whenever Numismatic News does a weekly poll question about cents, the level of response soars. Collectors not only have strong opinions about the denomination, they are eager to share them.

With the arrival of 2010, the primary focus of collectors who are interested in cents shifts to the new Shield design planned for this year. What feelings will they have about the new coin?

In a normal year, I would likely see the new cent in my change at the Florida United Numismatists convention, which I will go to tomorrow.

This is not a normal year and that is not going to happen. The question is how long we as a hobby will wait to see the new Shield design in our hands.

I don’t have much to go on at this point. Early word from the Mint is that there are tentative plans to do something Feb. 11 in Springfield, Ill., to officially mark the new cent’s debut.

It is my hope that plans come together to mark this occasion. Historically, it is an important one. The new design will likely be used for however long the cent remains in current use. It should have an appropriate recognition.

Collectors will use such an event as an historical milepost. No coin seems to influence their attitudes more than the cent and a ceremony will nudge these attitudes in a positive direction. When collectors find 2010 cents in change, attitudes will be nudged further. Collector attitudes toward the new cent also will shape their opinions of the U.S. Mint as an institution.