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Collecting Lincoln Cents, One Coin for Each Year in Circulated Condition

If you have decided you want to collect Lincoln Cents, but are scared off by the cost of a complete cent, one viable option is to collect one coin per year of production, regardless of the Mint it came from.  Using this method allows you as a collector to build a nice set as well as keep your costs down.  A good example of keeping costs down would be the savings of just getting a 1909 P coin and a 1914 P coin rather than all the coins from those years.  For example, In order to get the 1909 S, 1909 S VDB, 1909 VDB and 1909 P, you would have to spend well over $1000.  But if you just get the 1909 P, you can have this coin in circulated condition for a few dollars, depending on condition.  For the year 1914, a 1914 P coin in G4 can be had for under $1.00 while the 1914 D and 1914 S in G4 would set you back several hundred. 

So you can see it is quite easy to avoid significant costs going down this route.  To build a complete set of 1909 to present could be done for well under $100 in circulated condition.  The most costly coin will be the 1922-D (no coins from Philadelphia were minted that year).  If you are going to go down the circulated route, I would suggest looking at least at coins in Very Fine condition, or EX/EF if you can afford it.  The reason is almost all coins from later dates will actually be difficult to find in lower grades.  There just are not many 1958 G4 coins.  And then when you get to Memorial cents, the same thing applies.   This is important if you want a collection that has the same look to it.  Of course, you can always go G4 for the older and better condition for newer coins.  It is your collection after all.  Just make sure you are getting quality coins for the grade.  Check to make sure there is no environmental damage, or any distracting cuts, nicks, rim damage, etc.  While the collection may not rise in value very much, you still want one to be proud of.

While collecting these in circulated grades does not pose a difficult challenge, collecting these in Mint State or Uncirculated will.  It will also cost you considerably more, depending on condition.   

Keith Scott has been a collector for over 30 years. His website has US coins for sale. He also writes Coin Collecting Articles for fun. Visit his websites for a history of US coins, metal market updates and news about your favorite coins.  

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