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Cent Sellout Important Milestone
March 27, 2009

What is more important? Yesterday word came that the uncirculated Lincoln commemorative silver dollar had sold out and also that the two-roll sets of 2009 Lincoln cents with the Birthplace reverse had also sold out.

I choose the cent sellout for three reasons.

The first is that despite the fact that there were some collectors who complained that the price was a rip-off at nearly 14 cents per coin ($8.95 plus $4.95 shipping equals $13.90 for 100 coins), others simply bought them and were glad to have the opportunity to do so.

The second reason is the sellout occurred in less than two weeks, the rolls having gone on sale March 13. This compares to the approximately six weeks that it has taken to reach the sellout point for the uncirculated Lincoln dollar. (The proof is close to a sellout, but not quite there yet.)

The third reason is I am surprised that there were only 100,000 two-roll sets available. I think other collectors will be, too, and that will focus their attention on the new design all the more.

Perhaps I should throw in a fourth reason, because this sellout sets us up for the release of the second of the four new reverse designs in May in a way that will keep us on the edge of our seats. There will be a group of collectors ready, willing and able to jump in to buy yet more two-roll sets. They might even snap these up quicker than the first two-roll set.

It is true that I have had a few more e-mails from lucky collectors who live in areas where the new coins are reaching circulation, but most of the country remains deprived of the new coins.

In fact, one desperate collector sent me a note that wanted to know why the Mint wasn't retiring the old coinage and melting it down to make room for the new.

I personally haven't been so focused on cents since about 1966. That seems to be true for others and that's another good reason that the two-roll set sellout is more important than the commemorative sellout.

That makes five reasons. If I made them funnier I could be on Letterman.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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