The third 2009 Lincoln cent design marking the 16th President’s Professional Life was introduced to the public formally Aug. 13 at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.
A ceremony featuring Mint Director Ed Moy and U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin was held just outside the building where Abraham Lincoln spent much of his time during his career as a lawyer.
“Illinois is where Lincoln evolved into a successful lawyer and politician. His service in the state legislature and Congress and his debates with Stephen Douglas paved the way to his election as President,” Moy said.
Durbin thanked Moy for his personal intervention in the design process so that the cent included the Old Capitol in the design. He was building upon remarks already made by Springfield Mayor Timothy Davin, who told the crowd of the efforts of Wally Henderson, a local architect and preservationist, to put the building on the coin.
Henderson was one of three architects who oversaw the restoration process in 1966-1968 to return it to the condition it was in when it served as the Capitol 1839-1876.
Springfield collector Bob Olson, who attended the event and supplied most of the material for this report, said attendance was a “very solid 5,000 people.” Some had camped out since 9 p.m. the day before. However, as many as one-third of the total attendance did not arrive until after 11 a.m.
Most were present to obtain rolls of the new cents for face value.
Olson said the physical layout allowed those who were waiting in line to get the coins to also watch the ceremony, which ran roughly 40 minutes following its 10 a.m. commencement.
Children who attended the ceremony were given one coin each free of charge.
J.P. Morgan Chase Bank managed the coin exchange, which ran from 10 40 a.m. until 1 p.m. Each person was limited to a maximum of six rolls for each trip through the line.
Olson said an unofficial estimate was the bank supplied 40,000-50,000 rolls. He believed the higher figure was more accurate because some participants were able to get 18 to 24 rolls with little difficulty.
All of the cents supplied at the ceremony were from the Philadelphia Mint.
“The crowd was friendly,” Olson said.Only a very few people were uncivil. There were police reports of two small scuffles over places in the front of the line in the hours before the exchange.”
The speculative spirit continues to surround the rolls.
“There were a few dealers and speculators purchasing rolls just off site outside the iron fences which surround the Old State Capitol,” Olson said. He added that he witnessed one man purchasing more than 100 rolls for $10 each (20 times face value). He was sending the coins by overnight express to a third-party grading service.
Collectors who could not be present in Springfield were able to purchase the coins for face value at Mint headquarters and Union Station in Washington, D.C.
The Mint Web site also began selling two-roll sets of uncirculated cents for $8.95 each plus $4.95 for shipping and handling. During the first three days of availability 152,146 sets were sold in this way. Visit www.usmint.gov for more information.