New penny design may spur coin interest

Sept. 22, 2008 at 10:20 AM

EDINA, Minn., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Coin collectors and history buffs will be the main beneficiaries of the newly designed U.S. Lincoln penny, a numismatics expert says.

Even though the redesign, set to be unveiled Monday by the U.S. Mint, will spark interest among collectors, it won't have any effects on the declining practicality of the penny in the real world marketplace, said Gary Adkins of Edina, Minn., president of the Professional Numismatists Guild.

"The Mint has been producing cents for circulation for 215 years since 1793 and they're fun to collect, but the usefulness of one-cent denomination coins is questionable," Adkins said in a release. "Pennies may go the way of the two-cent, three-cent and twenty-cent denomination coins that were eliminated in the 1800s."

The new penny could renew interest in numismatics because cents are the easiest and cheapest coins to collect, he said. They also have changed since the Lincoln penny was introduced in 1909.

"Because of rising commodities prices, there's very little copper in the little pennies produced now," Adkins said. "Since 1982 they're composed of zinc with a thin copper coating, and even with the reduced use of copper it sometimes costs more than a cent to make a penny."

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