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Viewpoint: Lincoln experience changes mind

Many readers may remember my remarks in this column regarding the discontinuance of the penny in America’s coinage.
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Lincoln Cents

It is interesting how nearly new cents look to be in worse shape than coins struck almost 40 years ago even though much of the original mint luster is still present on some.

By Robert L. Brommer

Many readers may remember my remarks in this column regarding the discontinuance of the penny in America’s coinage. I insisted then that much somber thought needed to be applied before any action was taken. To all those who may have disagreed, I apologize for my position at that time. I was wrong, very wrong.

Recently I stopped by my bank and picked up a brick of pennies to sort through as my only other chance would be in the summer while we are on vacation. I had no inkling what I would find under the false assumption it would yield some wheats and possibly some others worth keeping back before returning those unwanted, or not usable. Was I ever in for a great surprise and rude awakening to reality.

After about the third roll of coins I opened, it quickly dawned on me how wrong I had been in my zeal to keep the penny in circulation. It wasn’t a matter of too many not worth a glance, it was a matter of “are there any within this roll to even give a second glance?” Unfortunately, not a single roll out of the 50 contained in my purchase were worth the time I wasted searching through what seemed like foreign coins instead of those produced for the United States.

2014 U.S. Coin Digest

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Coins less than a year old were so discolored, or coated with grime that their date could not be ascertained. But, I labored on to continue wasting time on the hope I had just opened the wrong end of the container. After over two hours of wasted time, I could count the five (barely legible) wheats as my only reward for my time. Yippy, Skippy as we used to say years ago.

Yes, it truly is time to begin a hard analysis of the U.S. Mint and the products it puts forth under the guise of being the best of the best they’ve done.

The Mint allowed the Lincoln wheat ears to end with nothing to replace it. Oh sure, they’ve had a run of a couple short- term Lincoln based series, but no long-term planning appears to be in the offing as they seem to wander from one project to another with no clear idea of long-term purpose.

“He who wanders shall soon be lost.”

This “Viewpoint” was written by Robert L. Brommer.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to

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