A few months back, I purchased some cent and nickel rolls from the bank to see what I could find. I did find a 1942-P Silver Jefferson Nickel, but not a single Wheat Cent. I thought I would get a few, but the oldest penny I saw was a 1959 Lincoln Memorial Cent. Anyway, I got cents from every year between 1959 and 2017, except one year. That year was 2009. Not a single one was found in those 10 penny rolls. In fact, I’ve been checking my change since then, and still not one 2009 Lincoln Cent has been seen. Granted, 2009 was a special year for the penny.
What’s the Big Deal About the 2009 penny?
1909 was the centennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to commemorate his fellow Republican on a coin. Lincoln would become the first President to appear on a circulating US coin. George Washington didn’t believe a President should appear on a coin as they would look more like a Monarch than a President. Thankfully, Roosevelt didn’t agree with this as he was trying to change what currently appeared on US coins.
The first 50 years of the Lincoln Cent showed the wheat reverse. In 1959, the Lincoln Memorial would appear on the reverse where it would stay for the next 50 years. By 2009, the Mint wanted to do something special to commemorate the centennial of the Lincoln Cent, the first circulating US coin that was minted over 100 years, and bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth.
It was decided that four designs would be used for the reverse depicting different stages of Lincoln’s life.
Birth and Early Childhood (1809 – 1816)
Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809. The first reverse displays a log cabin similar to the one room cabin that Lincoln’s family lived in. Lincoln’s father, Thomas, would purchase over 800 acres of land in Kentucky, but by 1814, he would only own 200 acres after numerous property disputes and lack of security provided by Kentucky land titles. This made Thomas move his family to Indiana.
This reverse would be released on Lincoln’s 200th birthday, February 12, 2009 at Larue County High School in Hodgenville, near Lincoln’s birthplace.
Formative Years (1816 – 1830)
Growing up in Indiana, Lincoln was more interested in reading and writing than any sort of work. During this time, he would work in different jobs. He was best known for fence making, which would gain him the nickname “Rail Splitter”.
This reverse shows Lincoln reading a book, taking a break from rail splitting. It was released on May 14, 2009.
Professional Life (1830 – 1861)
Lincoln moved to Illinois in 1830 after there was an outbreak of milk sickness. During this time, he would meet Mary Todd in Springfield and marry her on November 4, 1842. Lincoln’s professional life was not successful at first. He ran a general store which ended up failing. He ran for the Illinois General Assembly, but lost in 1832. During this time, he would make it in on his second attempt in 1834. He also studied law and was elected to the US House of Representative in 1847. During this time, he would practice law in Springfield the following decade.
This reverse displays Lincoln in from of the Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield, and was released on August 13, 2009.
Presidency (1861 – 1865)
On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as the 16th President of the United States. A little over a month later, the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and the Civil War began. It’s unfortunate that Lincoln wouldn’t even see two months of peace as President. As the President who would work on removing slavery in the US, he would be considered the most popular President in most polls.
This reverse displays the US Capitol Building which was incomplete when Lincoln gave his inaugural address in 1861. It was released on November 12, 2009.
The mint would release two special sets for collectors in honor of the bicentennial. Both of these sets would include each 2009 cent with 95% copper that were originally included in Lincoln Cents between 1909 and 1982,.
Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set
This set included the four 2009 Lincoln Cents in Proof condition and a Silver Dollar Commemorative with Lincoln on the obverse and the final words of his Gettysburg Address and a copy of his signature. Besides the coins, the set included a certificate of authenticity as well as a reproduction of Lincoln’s signature and Gettysburg Address and was placed in a tri-fold folder. The set originally went for $55.95 with a maximum of 50,000 minted. On average, the set is currently worth $150.00.
Lincoln Cent Proof Set
This set just has the 4 proof cents with a certificate of authenticity. It was issued at $7.95 and is worth between $7 and $10.
So, Why am I Not Finding 2009 Cents in Change?
Though not rare, I’m haven’t seen any 2009 Lincoln Cents recently. Here are the mintages of circulating cents:
Birth and Early Childhood: 284,000,000
Formative Years: 376,000,000
Professional Life: 316,000,000
Philadelphia Total: 1,105,600,000
Birth and Early Childhood: 350,400,000
Formative Years: 363.600,000
Professional Life: 336,000,000
Denver Total: 1,248,000,000
Total Cents Minted In 2009: 2,353,600,000
So, 2009 Lincoln Cents aren’t worth much more than other years minted since 2000, but people are saving them anyway. By 2010, the reverse of the Lincoln Cents would display a shield in place of the Lincoln Memorial. The Lincoln Cent has survived over 100 years. Do you think it will be around another 50 or 100 years?