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Rain dampens cent ceremony

The weather did not cooperate with the Nov. 12 launch of the fourth and final Lincoln cent design ceremony on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building at the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial in Washington, D.C., but some 250 people eagerly awaited the opportunity to trade folding money for uncirculated rolls of the new coins.

Heading up the list of dignitaries that braved the rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida was Mint Director Ed Moy.

He was joined by Donald R. Kennon, chief historian of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and Eileen R. Mackevich, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Moy and Mackevich together placed the image of the new coin on the Mint stage display.

The fourth design features the unfinished Capitol dome, which during Lincoln’s presidency was under construction as a replacement for the smaller older one.

“The image of an incomplete U.S. Capitol symbolizes the unfinished business of a nation torn apart by slavery and the Civil War,” Moy said.

The rain perhaps was an appropriate reflection of Lincoln’s bouts of melancholy during the dark days of war.

Brightening the event was the distribution of free examples of the new design to the children present.

Adults were not unhappy at the prospect of getting the rolls they wanted either.

Individuals who were not present were able to buy two-roll sets directly from the Mint for $8.95 plus shipping and handling through the Mint’s Web site or telephone order system.

During the first three days of sales, collectors purchased 153,427 of these two-roll sets, which include one roll of 50 coins each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints.

Sales continue online at www.usmint.gov and by telephone at (800) USA-MINT. There is a limit of five sets per household.

Simultaneously with the ceremony and the collector sales, the new cents were also released to the nation’s banking system. These coins are available at face value, but because of the recession, banks have greatly reduced the number of new coins they are ordering and this has slowed down the release process.

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