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Too clever by half?

I think every collector has been at a public forum where the speaker has asked for a show of hands.

This is a handy method to quickly evaluate a group’s view of important issues.

Sometimes a simple letter to me can accomplish the same result.

I had a letter from an individual who was lobbying for the inclusion of individual listings in our price guides of the 2009 95-percent copper alloy cents that were contained in various collector sets sold that year by the U.S. Mint.

There were also standard copper-coated zinc alloy cents in 2009 with the four Lincoln bicentennial designs used only in circulation.

Logically, two materials should lead to two separate listings.

It has.

Apparently, though, the way we went about it must have confused the letter writer because I have received another from him repeating the request.

Rather than list the cents as copper and zinc, the catalog department lists proofs, satin finish and a regular listing. The proofs and satin finish are the copper ones that were included in the collector sets. The regular listing is the zinc composition coin.

Perhaps we are too clever by half in the way the catalog department decided to list them. Is that the case?

I can’t ask for a show of hands on this matter, but I can ask for more letters and emails. Contact me at

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."