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Mint to sell Lincolns on Friday

Better late than never.

The Mint will begin to sell rolls of the new Lincoln cents directly to collectors March 13, one month and one day after the 16th President’s 200th birthday.

Though I have been getting reader reports of new cents in circulation in Puerto Rico and Southern California, most collectors around the country report a complete absence of the coins and the likelihood that their banks will not get them at all.

Greencastle, Ind., dealer Julian Jarvis says that he had word that some showed up in the St. Louis Federal Reserve District, but he could not obtain nearly enough coins to meet his clients’ needs.

The result, as everyone knows, is some crazy prices being paid by impatient buyers.

Jarvis says that the long-term value is two-cents apiece in his wholesale business, but it will be awhile before the long- term value can be realized. That works out to $1 a roll.

On the other hand, those who want them now, will have the opportunity, but it will cost them.

The Mint will sell a two-roll set, one each from the Denver and Philadelphia Mints, for $8.95. There will also be a shipping and handling fee of $4.95 per order.

Visit the Mint Web site at www.usmint.gov for more information.

Will it get better in May when the second design is rolled out? I assume so. I know interest is already building because I have had an e-mail asking details of any planned introduction ceremony.

Perhaps the sender of that e-mail wants to buy his airline ticket ahead of time so he can go to the ceremony and stock up on the coins.

Early supplies in the hobby in February traced back to the Kentucky introduction ceremony.

One good thing, the scramble for the coins helps take our minds off the recession.