The US Mint in a typical year offers Lincoln proof cents in two coin products. 2009, however, is far from a typical year for the penny given it is the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln cent itself.
Not only are there four new one-cent reverse designs this year to celebrate the historical occasions, but there are four different 2009 proof set products that the US Mint has produced for coin collectors.
The proof sets offer varying coin denominations within each, and the included cents are special not just for their four designs but for their unique composition. Unlike the circulating varieties, each proof penny is struck from the same metals as the original 1909 Lincoln bronze cent -- 95% copper, 5% tin and zinc.
The United States Mint launched proof versions of the four newly redesigned 2009 Lincoln Cents in a single set on Wednesday, August 26.
The proof sets are priced at $7.95 each, plus shipping and handling, and will be available at noon ET. There is a limit of 5 sets per household.
The one-cent coins celebrate the bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the first issuance of the Lincoln cent. The sets, therefore, are officially entitled as the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Proof Set.
The reverse of each cent bears a design that represents the four major aspects of Abraham Lincoln's life:
The US Mint on Friday launched the 18-coin 2009 Silver Proof Set for $52.95. The annual set is a favorite with collectors, highlighted by the no longer available 2008 Silver Proof Set with sales of 774,874 as of Sunday.
The 2009 set is actually $8 more than last year's offering, but it also includes an additional silver quarter and four bicentennial 2009 Lincoln cents specially struck in 95% copper, 3% zinc and 2% tin -- the same alloy used in the original 1909 penny.
Similar to the fast-selling 2009 clad proof set that was issued by the Mint in June, the silver set contains collector proof versions of circulating 2009 coinage. All coins bear the "S" mint mark denoting they were minted at the United States Mint in San Francisco. Additionally, the dime, half-dollar, and six quarters are struck in lustrous 90 percent silver. The set has an intrinsic silver value of $19.99 at Friday's silver spot price of $13.16 an ounce.
2009 US Mint Proof Set sales were on fire during their inaugural launch week.
While the annual sets are always exceedingly popular, the latest one took the Mint by storm. Amazingly, 437,178 of the sets were sold from Monday, June 1, to Sunday, June 7.
The high volume was not without consequences. Most collectors who ordered during the opening hours needed a booster shot of patience.
Purchasing the proof coins online was like waiting for store doors to open on Black Friday morning. But much worse for the Mint, tens of thousands of collectors were trying to rush through their store front in a matter of hours. The jam caused long wait times and forced the Mint to briefly shut down online sales to... dare we say, reboot?
The US Mint on Monday launched the 2009 Proof Set. The annual set is priced higher this year at $29.95, but it also includes specially minted pennies and four more coins.
The 2009 proof set is highlighted with redesigned Lincoln cents that celebrate the bicentennial birth of Abraham Lincoln. And unlike the circulating penny versions, each is composed of alloy matching the original 1909 Lincoln cent -- 95% copper, 3% zinc and 2% tin.
The pennies alone are likely to make the 2009 sets more popular than past years, and that is saying much. The annual sets are always a favorite with collectors -- each proof coin strike features the San Francisco "S" mint mark. More than 1.4 million of the 2008 proof sets were sold. Over 1.7 million of the 2007 proof sets were purchased.
The United States Mint is geared up to issue celebratory bicentennial Lincoln cents and has released 2009 Lincoln Penny images for public viewing. The coin images are timely. The first of four commemorative circulating cents will launch on Thursday, February 12, to kick-off the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.
Similar to the 2009 Lincoln Silver Dollar images released last week, the new images provide a genuine sense of how the coins will look and feel up close, unlike the initial penny designs made available in September of 2008.