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Will we be singing "Hello Dalai?"

With sales of the Formative Years two-roll Lincoln cent set approaching 300,000, it is fair to ask how many will ultimately be sold.

I do not have a specific answer. This week’s running total is 290,086.

However, the Mint promises that one of the items it will have at its booth Aug. 5-9 at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money will be these two-roll sets.

If you are attending the convention and haven’t purchased any, this will be your chance to examine the rolls before you buy to make sure the end coins are not damaged.

Timing is everything. Can you imagine the mob scene that could have been organized had the Aug. 13 debut of the Professional Life cent design been just one week earlier?

The ANA would have gotten an extra 4,000 people. With the new admission charge of $6 a day for nonmembers, that could have translated into $24,000 extra dollars for an organization that could use every extra penny it can get.

Such is not to be. The Mint booth is plenty popular even without a new product, but it could have been an event in its own right but for this timing issue.

Perhaps demand for the Dalai Lama medal will surprise me.