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Are your album holes for 2009 cents still empty?

When I was a kid working on my first Lincoln cent set, the spot for the 1955-S stayed empty for a very long time.

It was frustrating.

The 44,610,000-piece mintage made it scarcer than the other cents of that year, but not scarce enough to be truly valuable.

I eventually found one.

It turned out to be the only one I ever spotted in change in over 50 years of looking.

I felt lucky because it was the last coin needed to fill the Whitman 1941 to date album.

Whenever I get nostalgic, I can open up the completed album and take a look at it.

Modern cent collectors can point to the four designs of 2009 to be similarly frustrating.

When was the last time you got one of these in change?

In fact, have you ever gotten one of them in change?

Many collectors have not.

Feeling frustrated, some write to me to ask why they can’t find them.

Just like the 1955-S, they have much lower mintages than other issues, but not low enough to be truly scarce.

Mintages are simply low enough to keep them out of your hands on a routine basis.

The scarcest of these cents is the Presidency design struck in Philadelphia.

Mintage is 129,600,000.

That is about two and half times the 1955-S mintage, but in the 54 years between the two coins, we got used to mintages in billions, even tens of billions.

Compared to these multi-billion figures, 2009 Lincoln mintage numbers are a drop in the ocean.

All eight pieces (four designs, two mints) for 2009 together have mintages that add up to just 2,224,400,000.

That is less than half the 4,994,800,000 cents struck so far in 2018.

No wonder the 2009 Lincoln designs are hard to find in change.

The most common issue was the Philadelphia coins showing Lincoln reading on a log.

Output for this one was 376,000,000.

This is roughly three times the lowest mintage of 2009, yet it seems to be no easier to find in change.

What I do not know at this point is whether the difficulty in finding 2009 Lincoln cents in change is inspiring the next generation of collectors to look all the harder.

I hope it is.

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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2 Responses to Are your album holes for 2009 cents still empty?

  1. Bob says:

    Not only Lincoln cents, but nickels, dimes, and quarters too. I have purchased all of them, so I have examples, but my albums that I fill from circulation, just for the joy of the hunt, there open holes. I know there are a few of the D-mint quarters I do not have. Not sure about the cents, but I’m pretty sure I have found the nickels and dimes, though not likely much if any more than one of each. The early ATB quarters aren’t very easy to find either.

    There are a few dates where it appears to me that collectors have hoarded them all. The 1955-S is one of those. Perhaps more so is the 1950-D nickel. They are very easily found in uncirculated condition, but when was the last time you saw one that was actually circulated? 55-S’s seem to be the same…

  2. Vachon says:

    The other part of the difficulty too is that cents, nickels, and dimes (but especially cents) don’t really circulate anymore. As you’ve noted before, cents suffer from a nearly 100% attrition rate: they’re used once and set aside in jars for weeks or longer before being dumped into a Coinstar type machine. Otherwise I think they’d’ve spread around more by now.

    I get 2009 dated coins occasionally in my till at work but it’s the quarters I notice most because, I believe, they still do circulate at least somewhat allowing them to get better mixed into the population.

    On the 1955-S note, I bought a Whitman 1941-1974 album back around Christmas 2004 and wondered if I could complete the album from circulation. I only attempted this because I work as a cashier so I knew I’d have plenty to look through over the years. I knew the Memorial Cents would not be an issue so I only indicated when I found the San Francisco ones. I was mainly interested in the Wheat Cents part.

    My first one was a 1942 on 12/27/2004 and the final one was a 1955-S on 11/20/2014, an almost ten year undertaking. I was surprised I actually got all the steel cents from circulation before I found the 1955-S, especially when I thought I would never find any given magnetic sorters. I manged to get another 1955-S a couple years later allowing me to say I’ve gotten all the 1941-1958 cents at least twice.

    I’ve been doing the same thing with circulation nickels for about the same time. 1944-S remains the final holdout when I thought it would be either 1939-D (gotten once) or 1950-D (gotten twice).

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