Many collectors have loved cents since they started in numismatics.
Something new about them has come up this morning.
I received a short handwritten letter from a reader who asks a very coin collector type of question.
I really enjoy these as opportunities to think.
He wrote: “I have rolls of uncirculated 2017-P pennies. Will these rolls ever be worth holding for increase in value?
“Please reply as your opinion is important to me.”
As you expect, I wrote the obvious response.
I pointed out that with 3.3 billion 2017-P cents, there is virtually no chance they will become valuable.
This little tidbit remained in the back of my mind all day yesterday.
I am not having second thoughts of future value, but there is more to this than the obvious answer.
Collectors are always looking for new ways to collect.
How about putting a set together of the appearance of mintmarks on cents?
It would consist of three coins.
Until 1908, all cents were struck at Philadelphia and had no mintmark.
That is a run from 1793 to 1908.
In 1908, the Mint began producing cents on the West Coast in San Francisco. The 1908-S Indian Head cent is the first of this denomination to carry any kind of mintmark.
Collectors have been interested in it ever since because it was first and because of its relative scarcity.
It is not rare. But it is not common.
It lists at $90 in Good-4 and $1,250 in MS-65.
Denver put its “D” on cents beginning in 1911.
The 1911-D ranges in cost from $5 to $850, prices which are cheaper than the “S.”
After 106 years, a “P” mintmark now has appeared on the cent to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the United States Mint.
It is an important anniversary.
Putting a mintmark on the cent is a significant act in numismatic history.
To buy a 2017-P cent to go with the other two cents will cost only a few bucks, and that is if it is slabbed.
If you want, you can probably pull it out of your pocket with a little bit of looking.
This three-coin set tells a full story.
A exhibitor could probably create a one-case display with these at a major coin show and take home a first place.
I hope someone will do this.
That would mean we will all profit from the historical lesson.
That might not be as exciting as hoping to make a bundle with uncirculated rolls of 2017-P cents, but it sure is good for numismatics.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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