2009 Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set Recap


With this post, I wanted to provide a recap of the release and sales of the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set. The reader response to the posts from Thursday and Friday has been incredible over 700 combined comments. You can check out the original posts and comments here and here. If you have some time and haven’t been following along already, you can read the comments to get a variety of collector impressions on this latest US Mint product release.

Sales Period

The Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set went on sale October 15, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. For the first several hours of sales, the US Mint’s website slowed to a crawl, which made placing orders difficult. Some readers were able to get through by phone, but most received an automated message stating that the US Mint was unable to answer. By 5:00 PM ET, the US Mint had sold 29,919 sets.

Sales continued into the following day when orders could be placed more easily. On October 16, 2009 at 6:00 PM ET, the US Mint put up a waiting list notice, which indicated that the maximum number of sets had been sold. Orders would continue to be accepted for placement on a waiting list. In the event of cancellations, orders would be fulfilled from the waiting list on a first come, first serve basis.

At the time of this post, the US Mint is still accepting orders for the waiting list.

Why Did the Sell Out Take So Long?

While a sell out within 30 hours is impressive, many people (myself included) expected a sell out on the opening day of sales. I think one of the primary reasons for the slower than expected sell out is an overall reduction in speculative demand for US Mint products. Undoubtedly, there were people buying the Coin and Chronicles Set in order to resell it at a profit, but the scale of this practice probably wasn’t anywhere near the massive levels that took place a few years ago when one day sell outs were more frequent.

The last US Mint product to sell out in a day was the 2007 Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin. The coins had a maximum authorized mintage of 40,000 and an ordering limit of one per option per household. Each customer could order a maximum of one proof and one uncirculated coin.

Around this time, some dealers were paying sizable “bonuses” for individuals who ordered and shipped the coins to them upon receipt. Check out this article from Susan Headley which describes the practice and some of the premiums paid for First Spouse Gold Coins. By the time the Thomas Jefferson coin was released, there was likely more speculative demand than actual demand for coins. When the secondary market proved much less robust than dealers expected, prices quickly deteriorated. After this ordeal, some dealers may have stepped back from the practice.

The “buy-to-flip” activity may have also died down on the individual level. Even without bonuses from dealers, individuals can still buy products and immediately resell them on eBay. Earlier this year products like the Lincoln Birthplace Two Roll Set (LP1) and William Henry Harrison Rolls (WH2 and WH4) made a big impression after they unexpectedly sold out and began selling for huge premiums on the secondary market.

Speculative activity perked up for the subsequent bags and rolls offerings, but similar gains failed to materialize. The US Mint also threw a curve ball with the second Lincoln Two Roll Set offering (LP2) by nearly tripling production from the prior level. After a year of hit and miss, some speculative buyers may have chosen to sit this one out.

Whatever your opinion on the practice, speculative buying or buying for immediate resale does have a significant impact of the level of US Mint product sales, the pace of sell outs, and secondary market prices. The US Mint uses household order limits to curtail the practice and also (unintentionally) discourages the practice by being unpredictable. No matter what policies are in place, speculative demand will always exist and continue to impact collectors of US Mint products.

Beside the impact of reduced speculative buying, two more factors may have slowed the sell out. First, the US Mint may have lost some customers after the disappointment created by the cancellation of the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle and other products. After the news broke, many customers stated in comments here and elsewhere, that they would not be purchasing anything else from the US Mint. Second, the economy may have played a factor as people are being more careful about what they purchase.

Third Party Grading

Comments in some of the previous posts expressed concern about third party grading services like NGC or PCGS creating some type of special label for the coins in the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set. As a few readers pointed out, this seems somewhat ridiculous since one of the most appealing aspects of the set is the packaging. To take the coins away from the packaging, and instead put them in a holder with the words “Coin and Chronicles Set” seems kind of silly.

I contacted NGC and PCGS to try to confirm their intentions for the set. NGC quickly responded that coins in the set will not receive any special recognition. If submitted, they will be graded as regular proof coins. PCGS has not responded to my inquiry.

Secondary Market Prices

Secondary market prices for the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set are now around the $150 level, after dipping to around $125 late Thursday and early Friday. (View current auctions.) The number of pre-sales listed has increased with more than 140 sets currently listed. Once the coins start to be received by collectors, usually an influx of new listings appear. In the past, this influx has served to temporarily depress prices.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think this set will continue to trade at a decent premium. Even though it does not contain any unique coins, the US Mint has created an appealing and historical set with a limited production. This year, collectors have been more willing to pay a premium for US Mint packaging. In the case of the Coin and Chronicles Set, at least the packaging is something unique and special, instead of a plain white box stamped with a product code.

The set also has some potential for broader appeal beyond coin collectors. While most collectors were aware of the set and had a window of opportunity to order directly from the US Mint, others from outside the coin collecting community were likely not aware of the offering. If demand starts to emerge from other channels, this would further bolster prices.

Lastly, if I am correct that this product had less speculative purchases than other sell outs, this will bode well for the long term prospects of the set. With more coins in the hands of collectors who intend to keep them, there will be less supply on the secondary market. A limited supply combined with steady demand would serve to keep prices high and prevent the boom and bust experienced by the early issues of the First Spouse Gold series.

Next Release

With the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles release over, the next product on the US Mint’s release schedule is the 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo. This coin has a tentative release date of October 29, 2009. Ordering information and details of the release are still not available from the US Mint.

On October 15, 2009, the bullion version of the coins actually went on sale. Since these are bullion coins, they cannot be purchased directly from the US Mint. They are sold to the Mint’s network of authorized bullion purchasers, who resell the coins to other dealers and the public.

I will have more details on the 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo offering as details become available. I will also track the status of the bullion coins sales and report anything of note.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I wasn't able to place order until Oct. 18th. When I read that I was to be placed on a wait list, I assumed the worst. I never imagined that I would be able to receive one, unless going through the secondary market. But when I saw those four words "In stock and reserved" I couldn't control my excitement! Order #3324****

  2. Anonymous says

    Serendipity!! I posted a day or 2 ago with an order # of 33226xxx. Today the item is in stock and reserved. I called the mint to verify. It sounds like a sealed deal. The cutoff point for orders was probably in the 3323xxxx at the end of the day 10/16. If you subtract that from the earlier numbers like 33159xxxx you get 71000 to 72000 total sales made on 10/15 and 10/16. It doesn't seem far fetched to think that there were approximately 22000 orders made for items other than the lincoln set on those 2 days (pennies, quarters, UHR, etc). Plus it sounds like many people tried to work the system by puchasing more than one set from the mint; and then got their extra orders canceled. I think this played out pretty fairly and the mint only made 50000 of these sets. Now, for those of you wanting more than one, have fun trying to predict the secondary market for a bargin!! I, for one, think these stand a good chance of rising in value.

  3. Eric says

    I got one of my sets today, I must says this is by far the best product that I have bought from the mint, (just starting buying in may of this year) It's just so cool.

  4. Anonymous says

    Good news for people on the waiting list. I ordered my set 4 hours after the set was put on the wait list at 6pm eastern and i just got confirmation that my order is now confirmed and reserved and about to be sent.

  5. Anonymous says

    Got my set today! Great looking set. All coins are PRISTINE , they actually look better than the proof silver dollar and proof cents that I purchased earlier in the year!

  6. Anonymous says

    We shipped the items listed below today.
    Thank you for shopping at the United States Mint Online Catalog; we hope you'll visit again soon.
    Registered users may track their order at http://www.usmint.gov/ catalog and guest users with inquiries about their order should call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). If you have questions about returns or cancellations, please visit http://www.usmint.gov/ catalog.
    Thanks again for shopping with the U.S. Mint.
    Electronic gift certificates are now available!

    1. 2009 LINCOLN COIN & CHRONICLES SET (LN6) Qty : 1

    Yahhhoooo!!

  7. Anonymous says

    I just got mine in the mail today, and I think this is one of the best products the Mint produced this year , if not the best.I'm in the market for another set:)

  8. Anonymous says

    Tried to buy a second set via Ebay, and the seller had to come back and tell me the order had been cancelled.

  9. Anonymous says

    Really? WOW,I just tried to do the same , and she said "I'm sorry but they canceled my order yesterday"!! Well needless to say I asked why she didn't remove/cancel the auction , she said "I just wanted to see if anyone would make me an offer". Women ,lol, 🙂

  10. Anonymous says

    I just received mine today and someone on Ebay will be happy when they win the winning bid. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190343367621&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    I started my auction at .99 cents so I gave people the option of getting it at a low bid. My sister has one coming to her and she is giving it to me. So that is the reason I put mine up for those who didn't get one. She order heirs @ 7:00 PM on the 15th and it is in the mail to her. I will be keeping that one for myself. I was thinking of canceling the bid so I can have two one for display the other in a safe. But then I thought about those who wanted one and could not get it.

    This is such a nice set that I feel the Mint could have held back 100,000 Lincoln silver dollars and used them for the Chronicles Set.

  11. Anonymous says

    Are you trying to get buyers by putting your auction on this blog?
    I hope your sister keeps hers and yours sells for .99

  12. Anonymous says

    I guess they are checking your CC. They had mine on hold then the next day it went off then the next day it was shipped. What is your order number? Mine was 33208xxx

  13. Anonymous says

    My order # is 33221xxx. Thank you for your answer. On Thursday my order was in process, on Friday it says on hold. I hope on Monday it will be shipped. The item says in stock and reserved.

  14. Anonymous says

    Received a few sets today (other family members bought too) and can say the pennies vary in quality. Some have small tarnish spots, some "red" tones and some "orange". They look nothing like the pennies in the proof sets as far as the color goes. Question of course, would be will collectors prefer the red ones or the orange ones. After seeing the "spotted" coins, I can say anyone who ships or buys an unopened box (which I presume means you leave your packing list with your address and order number etc. inside) is taking a chance that you will get spotted coins. The mint may have foreseen this issue and that could be partly why penny proofs sets were available individually and why they coins were in individual airtite holders rather than a sealed plastic case. The airtite penny holders fit perfect in the Chronicles box! So if you get what you believe to be unsatisfactory proof pennies in your set, buy an extra penny set from the mint and some airtites.

    I had tremendous difficulty ordering, got booted three times during checkout. To my surprise, when I finally got to checkout, I had 4 sets in my shopping cart. While deleting three, I got booted again. But when I finally got back to check out, only one was in my cart. Finally was able to check out. There could have been orders cancelled for more than one, but would the mint cancel the entire order or just the "excess" sets? Anybody have this happen?

  15. Anonymous says

    I got my set today , and I'm disappointed! All 4 cents have black spots on them.The dollar looked great though 🙂

  16. Paul says

    Order a set or two of:

    2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Proof Set (LN2) as soon as you can, they are only $7.95 The proof set will pop open pretty easily, ditto on the airtites. It's an easy swap as long as the mint still has the proof penny sets. I maxed out my order for five sets, I think they will come in handy as the copper Lincoln pennies seem to have "toning" issues. I looked at a 1968 proof set today, the penny in the 1968 set was less toned than one of my pennies in my Chronicles set!

  17. Anonymous says

    For future reference
    Sets are not sold out until the U.S. Mint posts a SOLD OUT status.
    The reason that it posted a WAITING LIST status for the Lincoln Coin & Chronicle set was due to the odering abuses determined by the ordering system software.
    Initially the mint had a box to change the quantity for ordering from 1 to ???.
    Before they placed the one per household notice on the set, the initially gave notice that there was a 5 set limit per household.
    There were orders that were accepted and confirmed by the Mint ordering software only later to be rejected by the system.
    The Mint a hour later removed the quantity box entirely so that only one of the sets could be ordered at a time.
    Many people trying to circumvent the household limits to gain more than one set were able to do so only to find that those too were rejected by the ordering system.
    The edit critieria and constraints used in the software to locate multiple orders seems to work quite well since it took days after the inital posting of the WAITING LIST ONLY status to get to the SOLD OUT status.
    There are many people on eBay bragging about multiple sets to offer for auction. They will be sorely depressed to find that they will be lucky to receive only one set and their other orders cancelled by the Mint.
    Bidders on eBay should beware of any presale of these sets as there is no real guarantee that the seller will have the item in hand even with a Confirmation Number from the Mint.
    Who wants to go through the hassle of getting there money back from Pay Pal where they will take their cut just to refund you your money, besides having to wait for it.
    The Mint will send an email for all orders cancelled.
    Remember it’s not nice to fool the U.S. Mint.

  18. Ed says

    That is right unless you had your co-workers,family or friends order them for you. There is no way the mint could cancell those orders. If you order with a different credit card with a different billing address and shipping address then again your coins will be shipped if you order in time. There is always a gray area…the above examples are of many.

    I received my set and I think this makes up for the cancellation of the 2009 Liberty Silver Dollar Proof which I am still steamed about. Just my penny for your thoughts.

  19. Anonymous says

    Simple, they probably had multiple people ordering sets for them . Most of the early orders have already been shipped and delivered to them , then they forward sets to the seller..Just a guess.I'm happy that I already have mine in hand (1) .

  20. Anonymous says

    Received my Chronicles set today.
    Of coz, I opened it!!!

    Otherwise I wouldn't buy it !! lol

  21. Anonymous says

    Beautiful set , isn't it ? I was pleasantly surprised when I received mine last week, truly a nice product from the mint.

  22. Anonymous says

    Looks like the prices are staying under $155.00 on Ebay. That is with 200 listings so far.

  23. Anonymous says

    Looks like the Chronicles fever is over.

    Enter the Proof buffalo – but just dun chase it up like with the Chronicles . Collecters need to learn their lessons seriously.

  24. Anonymous says

    PCGS designation for the 2009 Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set? I just called PCGS (10/27/09) and they said they are working on putting together a special label for the coins in this set though they do not offer it yet. This is good news! If they get enough inquiries they will move faster, PCGS toll free number is 1-800-447-8848. Tell them you want the special label for the coins in this set.

  25. Anonymous says

    Will they be grading this set as a whole , or taking coins out of tri-fold? Or was that even mentioned?

  26. Anonymous says

    Seriously, why bother with the PCCG or NCG gradings on the Chronicles set? Are they grading on the plastic cover as well?

    The 5 coins in the set can come from so many sources.. so why grade the set; unless they can grade the plastic cover too.

  27. Anonymous says

    No it isn't sealed at all, it comes in a white cardboard slip cover and the tri folder is inside a opensided type box . check out this Ebay item number , it shows everything in the set …170399333871

  28. Anonymous says

    WTF. My Lincoln set shipped on Monday from Indianapolis. The tracker says it won't be here untill Saturday. I live 4 hours from Indianapolis. Why is it taking 5 days??!!

  29. Anonymous says

    ya, i wondered same thing. i live a hour from indy. I got mine, Monday. They came via Missouri. I think fedex ships from indy to missouri, then usps picks up from there. what do you expect from the government.

  30. Elwood says

    I got my set yesterday. There are some spots on the dollar. Also in one of the pennies, the background has a texture instead of a mirrored surface. I believe these will be going back.

  31. Anonymous says

    Elwood,
    I posted a similar observation when I received my set last week. In addition to the wavy appearance of the obverse backround area I later discovered what appears to be a small brownish stain around the top of the "G" in GOD. I now wonder how many of the EBay sets are actually rejects being pawned off as opposed to returning same to the mint for a refund.

    Jim L.

  32. Anonymous says

    Returning your Chronicles set to the Mint will only net you a refund, less shipping costs. They will not be able to replace it for you because it is sold out. Plus, you will have to pay to ship it back to them.

    Elwood,

    You're better off selling it on eBay, but be sure to note the defects. You will still make some money on the set (just not as much), and someone who is not as particular about the coins' appearance will be happy to be able to get a set.

    It's just things to ponder in making your decision.

  33. Anonymous says

    Switch the coins, since coins are readily available coins , its the packaging that's not . Keep the set . Sell unsightly coins off on Ebay, and you still have the set. It happens hundreds of times a day there .

  34. Anonymous says

    The Lincoln Dollar in my Chronicles set obverse (front) flat areas around Lincoln also have an wavy (not flat) look. Is this a mint error?

  35. Paul says

    If it were me, I would not sell that way unless you specify NO RETURNS. A lot of the chronicle sets have spots on the pennies. If you don't know what you are shipping, I think you open yourself up for a bad position in the case of a return. Maybe you even get a return of somebody else's coins. You need to know what you are sending. If there were "error" set, maybe send unopened…. How about a few other's chiming in on this.

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