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More places to get new cents

Word came yesterday that the U.S. Mint is expanding the number of sites at which collectors will have an opportunity to acquire the second 2009 Lincoln cent design for face value.

In addition to the Indiana site that has received so much attention for a debut ceremony that will be held May 14, an event that I called a numismatic Woodstock in a Numismatic News headline, the new cents will be available on the same day in Washington, D.C., at both Union Station and in the lobby of U.S. Mint headquarters from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

On May 15 the cents will be available in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The same limits apply, though the Mint says it reserves the right to change them. What does that mean exactly? Is it simply legal boilerplate, or will the 2 rolls minimum, six rolls maximum be waived if few people show up and someone who does show up wants to back a truck up to the door?

This is probably harsh, but collectors are in a rather surly mood. The recession probably accounts for a part of this.

This mood will probably also lead someone to allege that the added availability being only in Washington is somehow aimed at aiding a select few dealers/politicians/profiteers/(insert your favorite whipping boy here).

I could be wrong. Some might interpret the Mint action as I do as a means of pushing out more coins more quickly so more people will have the chance of getting the coins faster at a lower price and the secondary market cannot run away with it to the same degree it did with the first.

A private firm would love to have the secondary market go wild, but the Mint is overseen by politicians in Congress who get complaints from constituents, so day-to-day life at the Mint is far more pleasant when things like this don’t occur.

Will we see another step toward a more placid life by making the new cents available at face value at the Philadelphia and Denver mints?

We’ll see.