95% Copper 2009 Lincoln Cents in 2009 Proof Sets
The 2009 US Proof Set went on sale June 1, 2009. Some readers who ordered early have already reported receiving their sets. In this post, I wanted to briefly mention the latest US Mint sales figures and revisit the topic of the 95% copper (bronze) 2009 Lincoln Cents.
According to Numismaster's Mint Stats published June 10, 2009, the US Mint recorded sales of 437,178 sets. This seems like a faster pace of sales than usual for the proof set, although I haven't been able to track down any interim sales figures from last year to compare.
Last year, the 2008 Proof Set sold just over 1.4 million sets in total.This number was lower than average due to an unexpected sell out in mid-December 2008. Typically, annual proof sets will remain on sale through the holiday gift giving season, and for some time into the following year.
The 2009 Proof Set will likely sell more units than the 2008 Proof Set, especially if it remains available for the entire year. Even if the final mintage for the set comes in higher, the long term prospects for the 2009 Proof Set remain solid. The set has a few unique aspects, which should help to maintain a heightened interest and demand for the sets in the future.
The 2009 Proof Set is the largest size regular proof set since the US Mint began issuing complete proof sets for collectors. It contains a total of 18 coins, which includes the entire six coin District of Columbia & U.S. Territories Quarters Set and the four different 2009 Lincoln Cent designs. The cents are struck in 95% copper, as opposed to the zinc based composition currently used for Lincoln Cents struck for circulation.
The alternate composition was authorized under Public Law 109-145, which also provided for the redesign of the Lincoln Cent. With regards to composition, the law provides for the issuance of one cent coins "with the exact metallic content as the 1-cent coin contained in 1909 in such number as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for numismatic purposes." The US Mint has stated that these 95% copper (bronze) versions would be included "in the United States Mint's annual product offerings."
Although its been reported on Mint News Blog, other coin websites, and coin print publications that the 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents would have a composition of 95% copper, the US Mint's product page for the 2009 Proof Set curiously makes no mention of the fact. The US Mint also did not mention the composition in their press release announcing the product. Because these curious omissions, the true composition of the 2009 Lincoln Cents contained in the proof set have caused some confusion.
Now that some collectors have received their sets, there is confirmation of the composition. A Mint News Blog reader wrote wrote via comments that he had received his set on June 5, 2009 and the certificate of authenticity states, "Each Lincoln One-Cent coin has a composition of 95% copper, its original metal content when first introduced in 1909."
Other annual sets which should include 95% copper Lincoln Cents are the 2009 Mint Set and 2009 Silver Proof Set. Separately, the US Mint confirmed that the 2009 Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set will also contain the 95% copper Lincoln Cents. This special set will contain proof versions of the Lincoln Commemorative and all 2009 Lincoln Cents. A release date for this product has not yet been announced.