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Time for major new series of cents

The American Innovators $1 coin series is about to start. It will take us to the year 2032. The America the Beautiful series, which began in 2010, runs until early 2021.

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In this era of short attention spans, are we missing the boat with these extended series? Should we not issue a complete set within the same year of issue?

Would that bring more collectors into the fold as well as more Mint customers?

I sometimes wonder when I see the popular definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over again in hopes of obtaining a different result.

It is clear since the end of the state quarter program in 2008 that the Mint could not capture numismatic lightning in a bottle twice.

The state series was a new and attractive idea taken to its logical conclusion.

Do I want to begin collecting a dollar coin series that will not end until I am approaching 80? I don’t really.

When the state quarter series began, I thought 10 years was a long time to wait to finish a set, but I was willing. Even my Dad was willing, although I did not realize he was collecting the set until he passed away.

But the point is, he finished the state set. He did not collect any quarters after that. Was he considering the same “Pushing 80” argument that I just offered? I will never know, but that might have been the case.

There is simply a natural time to give up certain things. Collecting a series of coins that runs for 14 years might be one of those things.

The Internet-connected generation might simply not have the patience to wait that long. In a way, those young collectors who began their state quarter sets in 1999-2008 were the last of the pre-smart phone generation.

If we want something to happen more quickly, what do we do now?

Cents are still overwhelmingly popular with the public. The rare 1982-D copper cent is still our top story week in and week out nearly two years after it was posted online. That is phenomenal.

Perhaps this very obviously points to cents as the answer to a short attention span. Last year, the Mint struck 8.6 billion cents. How about making a 100-coin cent set within the calendar year? The Mint could make 86 million of each to reach 8.6 billion. All Americans would have 100 different designs to chase and collect. It could all be finished within the calendar year.

There is still a natural affinity for the cent. That’s why no one kills it off. If we are going to keep it, use it for something new. The Mint can make profits with proofs, reverse proofs, and special mintmarked varieties. Let’s stop looking for a different result from the presently tired old coin series formula. Let’s give a cent series a try. What should the theme be?

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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