95% Copper 2009 Lincoln Cents
Annual collector proof sets always include the smallest denominated coin, the penny. But the 2009 Proof Set is special as it includes the four different pennies to celebrate the bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the first Lincoln Cent struck in 1909.
In further recognition of those inaugural 1909 cents, the Mint has exactly matched their original bronze alloy and struck 2009 proof Lincoln pennies in 95% copper, 3% zinc and 2% tin.
Proof sets are always popular with collectors, but the additional pennies and their special composition make the sets even more collectible. To prove that point, when the 2009 Mint Proof Set went on sale for $29.95 on Monday, June 1, an amazing 437,178 were sold by the following Sunday.
You may be wondering why the composition of the penny had ever changed. It was simple economics. Copper became too expensive. Since 1909 the penny has seen many changes due to economics. Perhaps the most memorable was the 1943 steel penny. The cent became copper-plated zinc in 1982. Since, to include the redesigned 2009 pennies for circulation, they are composed of a pure copper plating with a core of 99.2% zinc and 0.8% copper.
It should be pointed out that there is more to the 2009 Proof Set than special pennies. There are, in fact, a total of 18 coins in the set:
- Four 2009-S Lincoln Cents
- 2009-S Jefferson 5-cent coin
- 2009-S Roosevelt dime
- Six 2009-S Quarters
- 2009-S Kennedy half-dollar
- 2009-S Native American $1 Coin
- Four 2009-S Presidential Dollars
The US Mint also issued the annual Silver Proof Set on July 17. The set also include the 95% copper pennies as well. Additionally, so will the 2009 Mint Set and a special Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set (to contain the four pennies and a proof Lincoln Silver Dollar). The release dates for these latter two sets has not yet been announced by the Mint.