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Fast Start for Cent Roll Sales
May 20, 2009

How wound up are collectors about the new Formative Years Lincoln cent design introduced May 14 in a special ceremony in southern Indiana?

Very, if some statistics that I have just obtained are any indication.

On May 15 I wrote about the thousands of people who were present at the debut ceremony to obtain rolls of the new coins for face value.

However, most collectors could not travel to the ceremony. They had to rely on sales of the two-roll Lincoln cent set that the Mint began offering May 14.

While some are still grumbling about the $8.95 issue price, that sentiment seems to be overruled when it comes to taking action.

From May 14 to May 17 the Mint sold more than twice the number of cent sets than it sold in March for the first design.

Where it took about almost two weeks to dispose of 96,000 Brithplace two-roll sets (March 13-March 26), in just three days the orders for the Formative Years set totaled 200,055.

That's huge. There is no telling where this thing can go. Obviously the Mint is working to increase the quantity available in light of the quick March sellout, but so far I don't have word as to what sort of demand it is prepared to meet.

I see the Mint Web site is still taking orders, but I also note that the shipping date is now July 15, something that a number of readers have e-mailed to me as it relates to their own orders.

Those collectors who remember the roll and bag boom in the early 1960s might just be feeling a bit nostalgic about now. Perhaps the Mint should offer 2009-dated nickel and dime rolls, too.

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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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