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Second cent might attract crowd

Will a $10 online retail price tag for bank-wrapped BU rolls of the first 2009 Lincoln cent spur greater attendance at the debut ceremony for the second 2009 cent on May 14 at the Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln City, Ind.?

It just might. One of the attractions at Mint coin debut ceremonies is the opportunity to buy the new coin for face value on site. Enough collectors who saw what happened online after the release of the first 2009 cent design might just grab a truck and head to the ceremony for the second design to buy all the rolls they can get.

The Rail Splitter design is the second of four that celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

When the first design, the Birthplace piece, formally debuted Feb. 12 in Kentucky where Lincoln was born, attendees who bought the cents for face value there made a nice profit selling them later online.

High prices were made possible because many collectors became aware of the new cent design from the publicity that went with the ceremony, but were frustrated when they discovered that the coins themselves were not available at their local banks. A perception of scarcity developed even though mintage is expected to be more than half a billion pieces.

Because coin demand is still low in normal banking channels due to the recession, local banks might not get the second cent issue in a timely manner either, opening the door to another speculative frenzy.

Will it happen? Could be. It all depends on how many collectors want to drive to Indiana and what quantities the Mint will arrange to have available that day.

As they say further upstate that month in Indiana, “Gentlemen, start your engines.”

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