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Waiting for Lincoln

The crowd gathered in Lincoln City, Ind., May 14 for the formal introduction of the second 2009 Lincoln cent design was more interested in buying the coins than attending the ceremony.

Most of the 3,000 to 4,000 attendees skipped the formal ceremony so as not to lose their places in line to get new Lincoln cent rolls for face value.

Approximately 500 people gathered inside the Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln State Park to witness U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy formally introduce the Formative Years Lincoln cent design, the second of four to be issued in 2009.

“This second design reflects the formative years of Abraham Lincoln’s life in Indiana, when he developed the qualities that served as the foundation for his extraordinary life,” Moy said.

Accompanying Moy were Connie Nass, chairwoman of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; Darrel Bigham, professor emeritus of history at the University of Southern Indiana, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission commissioner; and Joan Flinspach, chief executive officer of Presenting the Past.

There were about 150 children on the stage and two large choirs rotated on and off.

Following the ceremony, children ages 18 and younger received free specimens of the new design.

Adults standing in line during and after the event were able to buy a minimum of two rolls up to a maximum of six for face value, though there was no restriction on the number of times a person could go through the line.

Johnston, Iowa, collector Don Mark said he and a friend went through the line three times, netting 18 rolls apiece.

Mark said he witnessed the wheeling out of the last five boxes of cents from the Brinks truck, so he said all the available supply was distributed, and he said everybody who had wanted any had been able to get the new coins.

Mark said the first time through the line took him 30 to 45 minutes, though he had been waiting since 8 a.m. for the 10 a.m. event. The two subsequent times were longer, each about an hour and a half, he said,.

Kevin L. Bruner of Owensboro, Ky., said, “I had $600 in my pocket to spend. I got six rolls, the limit.

“I decided to not wait in line for a second round. There was even a line of about 20 people waiting for empty coin boxes.  Totally incredible.”

He and others noted that fliers were distributed to tell people that it was not permissible to conduct business on park property without a license, scotching any attempt for cent holders to sell the coins to buyers on site.
Mark said he thought he saw an area that had sprung up outside the park where spontaneous commerce was being conducted.

On May 14 rolls were also made available to the public for face value at U.S. Mint headquarters and Union Station in Washington, D.C. On May 15, they were available offered at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

Sales of two-roll sets began May 14 on the Mint Web site. Price is $8.95. In the first three days, over 200,000 sets were sold. See Mint Statistics.  

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