As we end 2008 and look to 2009, numismatists are going to have a lot of options to add to their collections. There will be quite a number of coins that will excite many. But the shear numbers may be overwhelming to others. However you feel, the US Mint will have a very busy year. Let’s look at what is coming up in the new year.
First, three coins will not see any changes. The “Return to Monticello” Jefferson Nickel introduced in 2006 will not be changed. Neither will the Roosevelt Dime, in circulation since 1946, and the Kennedy Half Dollar, as it has been since 1964 except for the Bicentennial issues.
For 2009, we will celebrate the bicentennial birthday of Abraham Lincoln. In celebration, congress has authorized the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Program as part of Public Law 105-145. As part of this program, the Mint will issue four reverse design representing Lincoln’s birth and early childhood in Kentucky (1809-1816), his formative years in Indiana (1816-1830), his professional Life in Illinois (1830-1861), and an extraordinary presidency in Washington, DC (1861-1865).
As part of the Lincoln Cent program, the US Mint will issue a 2009-S VDB non-circulating coin that will be struck in the .950 copper alloy used when the 1909-S VDB was first struck. Also, Public Law 109-285 was passed earlier this year that created Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar to round out the celebration of our 16th president.
To round out the State Quarter program, 2009 will issue quarters to honor the District of Columbia and five US territories: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The DC and US Territories Quarter Program authorized by congress in an amendment as part of an omnibus budget bill at the end of 2007.
The same omnibus budget bill also removed the motto “IN G-D WE TRUST” from the edge of the dollar coins. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) who was defeated for re-election.
The Presidential $1 Coin Program continues in 2009 to honor presidents William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, and Zachary Taylor. Harrison had the shortest term when he died one month into office after contracting the flu following his refusal to wear an overcoat during his two-hour inaugural address on a cold day in March, 1841. All of the packaging options with Presidential $1 Coins will not be offered in 2009 after not selling well the last two years.
Along with the presidents, the First Spouse Gold Coins will be issued for Anna Harrison, Letitia Tyler, Julia Tyler, Sarah Polk and Margaret Taylor. Letitia Tyler was the first President’s wife to die in the White House. Julia Tyler became First Lady after marrying John Tyler in 1844.
Native American $1 Coins program will begin in 2009 with a design honoring the “Three Sisters’ agriculture, in which corn, beans and squash growing in the same mound enhanced the productivity of each plant. It was a unique program that lead to the concept of crop rotation we know today. This change was authorized by Public Law 110-82 and add edge lettering to these coins.
That brings the total number of circulating coins to 18! Proof sets will have 18 coins and the uncirculated Mint Sets will have 36 coins. Although the Mint has not announced pricing, it would be fair to guess that the prices will raise with more coins in the set. Clad and Mint sets should see a modest price increase. Silver proof sets will add an additional silver quarter and is likely to see a $10-15 rise in price.
Beyond circulating coinage, the Mint will produce the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar to honor the 200th anniversary of Braille’s birth. It is being touted by the Mint as being the first coin with readable Braille.
Precious metals programs will change in 2009. First, only the bullion issues of the American Eagle coins will be strucl. The Mint has discontinued the collector’s uncirculated coin program, eliminating the W mintmark from their portfolio. American Eagles will be available in proof and bullion coins in one-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and tenth-ounce denominations.
American Buffalo 24-Karat Gold Coins will also continue in 2009 but without fractional issues. The Mint will offer only one-ounce proof and investor bullion coins.
Last, but certainly not least, is probably the most intriguing coin that will be issued in 2009: the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin. The coin’s design will be a high-relief $20 gold piece on a double-thick, 24-karat gold planchet (sometimes called a piefort) 27 millimeters in diameter. The design will feature Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ original 1907 design where the date will be in roman numerals (MMIX). The inspiration for this coin came from 1907 when the Mint tried to strike an experimental double eagle coins using two stacked $10 eagle planchets. When the Mint’s management realized that congress would have to approve the striking of the coin for circulation, the project was abandoned and the test pieces were melted. Aside from the date, the only difference between the 1907 test pieces and the 2009 bullion issue is that the the motto “In G-D We Trust” will be added over the rising sun as it appeared in 1908. It is expected that these coins will be struck in proof-only varieties.
It will be quite a year!