Yesterday, May 14, 2009, the launch ceremony for the second redesigned 2009 Lincoln Cent was held in Lincoln City, Indiana. Thousands of people attended the event to witness the ceremony and have a chance to receive some of the first new Rail Splitter Lincoln Pennies.
The event was held at the Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln State Park. It was estimated that 3,000 people attended. This is double attendance estimate for the first ceremony held in Hodgenville, KY.
The ceremony was presented by the United States Mint Director Edmund Moy. Over 200 elementary school students were included in the ceremony along with the actor portraying Young Abraham Lincoln in the theatrical production “Lincoln – Forging Greatness” which opens June 12 at the Lincoln Amphitheatre. About 800 people actually watched the ceremony. One account said that only one third of the seats at the amphitheater were filled, since most people remained waiting in line for the coin exchange.
There were 20,000 penny rolls exchanged at the event. All coins were from the Philadelphia Mint. This is double the number exchanged at the previous Hodgenville event. Attendees were allowed to exchange a minimum of two rolls or a maximum of six rolls. Some people were lining up as early as 3:30 AM for the coin exchange.
After exchanging coins, attendees had their hands stamped to keep track of who had a turn. While the ceremony was taking place, there were more than 1,400 people in line that stretched over half a mile. Some people were able to go through the line twice. Some reported that they managed to go through the line three times.
There was a Post Office across the highway at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial that was postmarking the rolls. There was a continual line of attendees waiting to get their rolls stamped.
No buying or selling of coins was allowed inside the park. However, at the edge of town there was a reports of someone offering to purchase rolls from attendees for $10 each.
As expected, the rolls are already selling for even bigger premiums on eBay. Unmarked rolls have sold for $20 to $30, USPS stamped and canceled rolls have sold for $50 to $75 dollars each, and some single coins have sold for $2 or $3. View the current eBay auctions.
The report from the Associated Press indicates that Director Moy stated that about 700 million of the pennies will eventually reach circulation. Interestingly, this is higher than the total combined mintage of 634.8 million for the Birthplace Penny. There was speculation that mintages for subsequent designs would be much lower following the US Mint’s announcement that overall coin production would be cut by 70% this year.
Despite a little bit of rain, long lines, and traffic, every report I have received or read is generally favorable. People enjoyed the day, thought that the ceremony was well done, and the exchange line was orderly.
Thank you to several people who provided accounts of the ceremony and pictures. This includes Michael Forader, who had also previously provided the pictures for the Hodgenville KY event, Melissa Miller, the Executive Director of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau, and T.J. Milam, who provided an account in the comments section of Wednesday’s post.
Enjoy the pictures of the event below. The first four photos are provided by Michael Forader, the last two by Melissa Miller.