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Slower Start for Cent Roll Set
August 19, 2009

The two-roll Professional Life Lincoln cent set went on the boards this week with an initial sales total reported by the Mint of 152,146. This compares to 200,055 for the first report on the Formative Years two-roll set.

Both numbers cover sales during the initial three days. In this case, from Aug. 13 when sales began to Aug. 16.

Does this mean that interest in Lincoln cents, or at least in this form of Lincoln cents, has peaked and is coming down?


Perhaps in aiding the process of drawing a conclusion one way or another is the news that the Formative Years two-roll set was taken off the market with sales totaling an even 300,000.

Since last week's Mint Stats page reported sales of 300,246, the Mint is rounding down. Does that mean this number of orders has fallen through, or that there will be a few disappointed late would-be buyers? That I cannot answer, but with the usual credit card expiration snafus it is easy enough to imagine 246 sales disappearing.

Also, does this mean that the Mint has penciled in 300,000 as the ceiling for the final two offerings? Nothing seems to goose sales to collectors more than a ceiling. Still, that number is more than three times the 96,000 sales achieved by the Birthplace two-roll set in March.

Last week's cent debut ceremony at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., came off without a hitch. There were collectors lined up to get the rolls offered for face value.

The line went by the area where the ceremony was held, so persons could watch without losing their place. That's progress.

Now we watch for a while to see how sales results unfold and begin thinking about the fourth issue in three months' time.

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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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