It would seem to be an unfair poll to ask a coin collector to discontinue a coin such as the cent.
I am a collector, not just of pennies, not just of coins. And being a collector, I know the drive that I feel to search for, find and hold the items of my desire. I know the feeling of anticipation of going to a show where my search might be culminated in a find, whether it is a better condition item that allows me to upgrade my set or actually fill a hole in my collection.
How can anyone expect a collector to want the the source of his or her collection to agree to have it ended? The obvious bias will be to never want it to stop. Every year a new one, or multiple new items will be available to fill the spaces in the ever-growing collection. At least one penny album manufacturer has already printed a penny collection album with dates up to 2028. Much to their dismay it is already wrong because of the multiple issues of 2009 Lincoln pennies not having spaces. And who knows what the size of whatever new metal content coin might be. Most album makers have long learned to only print books to what has been announced and signed into committed law. Anticipation, like hope, needs a promise. I take the printing of an album with spaces for future years as a promise.
Anticipation of what that next new coin will look like, how it will be different from all the others is exciting to a collector.
Will it become another common addition or maybe something special in design or rare; will it have an error, will it have a small date or large date; will it have the same metal content; will it weigh the same; will it show wear and tear readily or will it keep its uncirculated shine and brilliance for years; and will it be valuable?
These are just some of the things we collectors think about in anticipation of the next new coin. We line up to buy, we search our change, we avidly look for the source that will get our very first example of each new issue.
An economist will have a different view from a collector. Even a logical person will have a different view than a collector. But, as collectors, none of us look at the manufacturing of a coin (or whatever object of our collecting) logically or in an economical way. We just want one, we need one, we have to have one, and until we get one, it is unfinished business.
How many of us still go to the bank and get rolls of coins to look through and search for old and new coins? I bet the percentage of us would show that the great majority of collectors will opt for continuation of the penny.
Am I an obsessive collector? Ask me about collectible spoons ? I do not care. And sports collectibles? OK, but they are not pennies.
By the way, what?s happening with the 2008 Sacagawea golden dollars? Yes or no? The last we heard was that the decision on them was affecting the release of the mint and proof sets for this year. I feel that word again ? anticipation.
Thomas Jillson of Hudsonville, Mich., has been collecting coins since 1960.
Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News.
To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.