The United States Mint today at noon ET placed Lincoln cent two-roll sets on sale for $8.95. The product offering, officially titled 2010 Lincoln Cent Coin Two-Roll Set "Preservation of the Union," includes two rolls of the pennies.
One roll contains 50 coins struck from Philadelphia while the other roll holds coins minted from Denver.
The new coins were actually released into circulation on February 11, 2010. The U.S. Mint on that day held a special ceremony in Springfield, Illinois — where Lincoln spent most of his adult life. (See ceremony release photos.)
Until today, however, those interested in owning the cents did not have an opportunity to get them directly from the U.S. Mint, although more and more have been appearing lately in daily change. Some collectors who could not attend the launch ceremony, or the following coin exchanges, chose to look to the secondary market. Prices for single rolls originally jumped as high as $35 if they were canceled and came from Springfield. (See CoinNews article: 2010 Lincoln Shield Cent Values.)
Today, those same rolls in groups of four can often be found on eBay for between $50-$60.
The two-roll sets may be purchased directly from the Mint’s website at http://www.usmint.gov/, or via its toll free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
The penny design
The 2010 penny features a union shield reverse design that is emblematic of President Lincoln’s "preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country." It was designed by Lyndall Bass and executed by Joseph Menna. It is the seventh different reverse for the penny, and is likely to remain the same for some 50 years — if the coin is around for that long.
The U.S. Mint issued four differing designs in 2009 alone. Each celebrated a major aspect of Abraham’s Lincoln’s life, and were part of the bicentennial celebration of his birth (February 12, 1809). Prior to 2009, Lincoln was seen on the Wheat Cent which premiered on the centennial of his birth in 1909 and ran until 1959. In that year, it was replaced by the Lincoln Memorial Cent which survived another forty nine years before being replaced by the 2009 issues.
Throughout their life, all of the coins have contained a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the obverse. It was originally designed by Victor David Brenner.
Lincoln cent mintages
The 2010 Lincoln cent has a metallic content of 2.5 percent copper, with the balance being zinc. The coin is issued for circulation in quantities to meet the demands of commerce.
Demand has recently picked up, as compared to 2009. March coin production figures from the Mint show that 294 million were struck during the month, topping the output from either February or January. If that pace continues, a bit more than 3.2 billion will be minted in 2010. The Mint shows that 2.354 billion were struck in all of 2009.