Now that the Mint has the cent debut ceremony procedure down pat, it is a pity it can’t do it more often.
The Feb. 11 event introducing the 2010 cent with the new Union Shield reverse design occurred in Springfield, Ill., at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum with the formal program emceed by Elizabeth Wooley, WCIS TV anchor.
She introduced Mint Director Ed Moy, who had flown out of snowstorm battered Washington, D.C., a day early so he would not miss the event.
Iowa hobbyist Don Mark said Moy was in good form.
“He joked that he was very happy to be in Springfield rather than Washington, D.C.” Mark said.
If the Mint was more experienced, so was the crowd.
“Moy in his remarks said it was nice to see familiar faces,” Mark explained.
“Half the crowd raised their hands when asked if they had been to other events. A number of people had been at all five,” Mark said.
The Mint estimated the crowd at approximately 1,000 people.
“The event was similar to the ones we had last year. The only thing I thought was different was the crowd was smaller,” Mark said.
In his formal remarks, Moy said, “This one-cent coin honors the preservation of the Union, which was Abraham Lincoln’s ultimate achievement. Because of his presidency, despite bitter regional enmity and a horrific civil war, we remained the United States of America.”
Other dignitaries attending the program were Jan Grimes, acting executive director of the presidential museum, and James Cornelius, museum collection curator.
Collectors present were anxious to participate in the coin exchange where they could get the new cents for their folding money.
There was a six-roll, $3 limit, for the P-mint coins that were available, but once all attendees were taken care of, collectors could return to the line multiple times while supplies lasted.
“They started sales right after Ed Moy talked. They were prepared this time,” Mark observed at the 9:30 opening.
“We figured maybe 500 people in line,” Mark said. “I was number 46.”
And he admitted he went through the line 10 times.
He wasn’t alone in this. He estimated “30 percent were repeat people.”
The secondary market is demanding a supply of coins and Mark noticed at least one person trying to garner some for resale.
“One gentleman was trying to buy all the rolls he could at $5 per roll,” Mark said.
Another new aspect, Mark said, was to “take your six rolls and put stamps on them” at the post office five blocks away. Apparently a premium is being put on rolls that were demonstrably released in Springfield on that day.
Schoolchildren in attendance as usual got free examples of the new cent. Mark thought the kids were older than those who had attended previous ceremonies.
“There were older school children of junior high age. They were given one cent each.”
In talking to others while he was in line, Mark said, at the forum held the previous night “Moy was quizzed at length about why you can’t get coins into circulation. He said 2010 would probably be tougher than 2009.”
Mark summed up his experience by saying, “It was fun to go to one of these things. The Presidential library is very elegant.”
But as far as formal cent ceremonies go, this is supposed to be the last.