2009 Lincoln Rail Splitter Penny Launch Tomorrow

Update: For coverage of the ceremony go to 2009 Lincoln Penny Launch Lincoln City, Indiana

Tomorrow, May 14, 2009, will mark the release of the second redesigned 2009 Lincoln Cent. The second design represents his “Formative Years” spent in Indiana and depicts a young Abraham Lincoln taking a break from splitting rails to read a book. The release of the coin will be accompanied by an official launch ceremony, several coin exchange locations, and the start of sales for the two roll set offered by the US Mint.

The unavailability of the first 2009 Lincoln Cent in circulation caught many by surprise and also created a profit bonanza for some of the attendees of the Hodgenville, Kentucky launch ceremony and others who were able to obtain rolls of the coins early. This time around, more collectors are paying attention, and the US Mint also seems to be taking steps to ensure a broader distribution and curtail bulk purchases.

The Lincoln City, Indiana launch ceremony will take place at the Lincoln Amphitheatre located inside Lincoln State Park, beginning at 10 AM CDT. The coordinators of the event recommend that people arrive at least one hour in advance due to parking limitations and restricted traffic flows.

After the ceremony, attendees will be allowed to exchange bills for rolls of the new Lincoln Cents from the Philadelphia Mint. A minimum of two rolls or a maximum of six rolls may be exchanged. After everyone has had a chance to go through the exchange line and if supplies permit, attendees will be allowed a second pass for a maximum of twelve rolls per person. The exchange limit was reduced from a previously announced maximum of ten rolls. The maximum of two passes through the exchange line was also added. The limits are still indicated as “subject to change.” At the first launch ceremony in Hodgenville, some attendees were actually allowed to purchase full $25 boxes of the new coins after everyone had a chance at the exchange line.

Additional exchange sites will be available in Washington, DC. The sites include the US Mint Sales Counters at Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE and the first floor of the US Mint headquarters at 801 Ninth St. NW. The coin exchange will be available on May 14 from 10 AM to 4 PM. The Senate Credit Union on Capitol Hill will also have the coins available for exchange on May 15 from 10 AM to 3 PM.

For anyone not fortunate enough to be located near one of the exchange sites, the 2009 Lincoln Cent Formative Years Two Roll Set will go on sale at the US Mint on May 14, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. Each set will contain one 50-coin roll from the Philadelphia Mint and one 50-coin roll from the Denver Mint in custom wrappers. The sets are priced at $8.95 each, plus shipping and handling. There will be a limit of 5 sets per household.

Even though many complained about the pricing, the last offering sold out in approximately two weeks, and prices quickly rose on the secondary market. Following the sell out, eBay prices rose to nearly $100 per set, before receding to the current level around $50 per set. Here are the current auctions.

If the same number of rolls are available from the US Mint, expect the sell out to come even faster. Here is a link to the US Mint’s listing page for the product, although ordering options won’t be available until the official start of sales.

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  1. randy says

    er, I should have read the post with a little more attention; sorry Micheal. Thanks for your great blog site.

  2. Anonymous says

    Will you have a link to the web page for the pennies ahead of time like some of the other offerings? This comes in handy when getting onto the mint’s site during the peak hour(s) immediately after the sale starts.

  3. Anonymous says

    My bet that it will sell out tomorrow since their really is nothing else at the mint to buy. What does everyone else think?

  4. Scot in KY says

    I am new to collecting. Question, I live 2 hours from where the “Rail Splitter” ceremony is going to be held tomorrow. Would it be worth my time to drive 2 hours each way to get these? Or should I just order through the Mint website? Thanks

  5. Scot in KY says

    Another question. Is the maximum going to be 6 sets or 3 sets? Not sure what you meant by 6 rolls.

    Thanks you!

  6. Michael says


    Personally, I would attend the ceremony if I was close enough, since it seems like it will be an interesting spectacle to witness. On the other hand, it sounds like parking and traffic might make the trip frustrating.

    Regarding the limits- if you go to one of the exchange sites, you can get a maximum of six rolls. These would be purchased at face value 50 cents per roll.

    If you order from the US Mint’s website, you are allowed a maximum of five sets (10 rolls). These cost roughly $4 per roll plus shipping and handling.

  7. Scot in KY says

    Thanks Michael,

    Can you comment on why the roll sets directly from the mint are going for about $50 a set. However, the rolls from Hodgenville on the first day are going for much less. This seems strange to me.

    Love your website!! (I’m a newbie to coin collecting and you offer much information-thanks!)

  8. Anonymous says

    I seriously doubt the new lincoln cent will sell out on the first day. The last release was for 96,000 sets. I’m betting it will take about 2 weeks again.

  9. Anonymous says

    3:11PM, it took two weeks to sell out last time because nobody knew there was a finite number of sets available. Many potential buyers either took their time ordering, or were not interested because quantities appeared to be unlimited (even though they imposed a per household limit).

    With this second set, we now know quantities are limited and there is great interest. The flippers smell blood. There’s no way these will last two weeks.

  10. Anonymous says

    I clearly wanted to travel the ENTIRE length of the State of Indiana to get to the 5/14 ceremony after seeing what the rolls from Kentucky did on eBay ! SHEESH !
    Then “they” keep reducing the number of rolls I could get tomorrow and now they say the crowd is going to be horrible ! DOUBLE SHEESH !

    The first Presidential dollar issues were available at the local bank….now they are not. Pennies are NOT probably going to be available and that is REALLY too bad !

    Why can SOME eBayers get their pennies and others cannot get the pennies ???

    I suspect penny # 2 is going to be in the same number of rolls from the mint as # 1, but ALL the “investors” are going to have them….it will clearly sell out on day one, if not HOUR one !

  11. Anonymous says

    the us mint web site and customer service number can not handle 96k orders in one day much less one hour. don’t believe the hype.

  12. Anonymous says

    Most orders will probably be for five sets. But even if the average is only four sets, that’s 24K orders. Isn’t that close to the number of orders on the first day of sale for the UHR Double Eagle?

  13. John says

    I a here waiting in line for the pennies. there are thousands here and rumors are circulating that the limit may only be 4 rolls per person.

  14. Anonymous says

    Does the wrapper make the differance in price? If so, by how much? I bought the first penny from my bank in a plastic wrapper. This is the way they got it from their supplier. Should I search for paper wrappers? I was figuring a roll was a roll. I do realize the wrapper at the event with dates is worth more. Then you have the special wrapper from the mint, and a different wrapper at banks. Just wondering which should be the better investment over time. Thanks.


  15. Eric says

    Took me 35 min get get my orders in. what a pain !!! Yay USMINT, Now the for the month wait until they get here : (

  16. Eric says

    Funny, people already have these listed on on ebay.

    Wonder if they are getting in there orders today with any luck

  17. Anonymous says

    I placed 2 orders for 5 sets each.First order on 12:30 and second on 12:45. There is 2541 orders between them.I don’t see sell out today.

  18. Anonymous says

    45 minutes later…

    How many times will the mint sell a product that’s in high demand (Lincoln Silvers, UHR Eagle, etc.) before they update their archaic networks to handle the load!

    I would have gone to the ceremony in Indiana except for the fact that there is likely going to be a zillion people there and it certainly does not sound like a place I want to be.

    Now waiting for the Gold buffaloes…

  19. Anonymous says

    Wow – I was worried I wouldn’t get in – it took 1 hour and 45 minutes! I got a Mint receipt so I got mine. Wish I could have ordered more than 5 sets … but I’ll try not to be greedy. Good luck everybody. Grandma D

  20. Anonymous says

    If most people are buying 5 sets,
    they seem to be selling at about 40,000
    per hour.

  21. Anonymous says

    The US Mint is HORRIBLE!! Can’t get through on phone or website!!! What a joke!!!! Any other sites to purchase from please e-mail to Steviecop1024@yahoo.com Any help would be appreciated!!

  22. Anonymous says

    Okay, I may be the only person here who didn’t order the full 5 sets. I am not buying to resell, just to collect, so I only bought two sets like last time. I’m just happy to get the confirmation from the Mint my order was received!

  23. Anonymous says

    BTW, I completed my order at 2:01PM. My order number was roughly 31697xxx.

  24. Anonymous says

    I wonder if the “order” number tracks the actual number of sets sold or if there could be 5 sets sold per order number.

  25. Anonymous says

    Anonymous 11:31am,

    Did you perhaps order more than 5 per household?

    My order was #31699xxx

  26. Anonymous says

    my order confirmation indicates backorder to 06/15/09. Order went through at 1:49pm ET.

  27. Anonymous says

    It boggles the mind. There are already 2 completed auctions on ebay in which a set was sold for $60 and they are still selling on USMINT.gov for $8.95. Sheesh

  28. Upstate NY says

    Order confirmation says “5 units backordered. Expected to ship on 5/29/2009”. My order went through at 12:24p.m. eastern standard time. Order number was 31680xxx.

  29. Anonymous says


    That would seem to indicate there is a difference of around 20000 orders. If each order averages 4 sets, i’d say we are about to sell out very soon.

  30. Upstate NY says

    Anonymous, I’m new to this blog, but given the anticipation of this release for weeks now, and the huge number of orders already placed, it seems likely that a sell out will occur sometime within the next 48 hours, if not sooner.

  31. Jeff says

    Opps – I goofed ! In the excitement of getting on in only 45 minutes, I forgot to change the check box and only ended up ordering one set. This happened about 1: PM (EDT). Went back at 3:45 – right in, no wait and placed an order for my other 4 sets. The difference in my order #‘s is 16,886. Therefore, that’s how many orders the mint took in during this time period. Of course, we must subtract all the orders for Louisa Adams and other hot items.

  32. Anonymous says

    My completed order (showing around 2:00PM also) was for less than five sets and also shows “Order Status: Your order request is on hold.”

    Any ideas as to why it would show “on hold”? If the order went through and they aren’t sold out, seems odd. Should it say “backordered”?

  33. Anonymous says

    My orders status shows “Backordered 06/15/09” I ordered around 2:15 pm Eastern time.

  34. T.J. Milam says

    I was in attendance at the ceremony today and thought I would give an update.

    We were allowed to get six rolls with each pass and were allowed six on our second and third passes as well.

    Funny thing about the pennies is that many of them looked horrible- terrible striking on them. It seemed like it was a rush job or something. I’m hoping this isn’t a problem with the Denver mint rolls.

    I took along 5 other family members with me, so we got 30 rolls with each pass.

    On the way out of town (I live about 10 minutes from Lincoln City) I saw some folks with a sign that read “Paying $10 for New Lincoln Pennies.” I stopped and asked if he was serious and he said he was. I sold him 53 rolls- not bad for morning’s work.

    Some tips if you plan to attend either of the other two ceremonies. 1) If it was like it was today, expect to stand in line and not see the entire ceremony. 2) Be sure to bring a chair and something to read, you’ll be in line a while. I got there at 8:00 and we made our first purchase at about 11:00 or so.

    Some folks from the bank estimated there were 1400 waiting in line. There was probably another 400 people in the theatre and probably another 600 came after they ran the first count.

  35. Anonymous says

    It would seem the number of orders taken as of this evening far exceed the 100K sets. I understand they need to allow for cancellations and household limit violations, but I would have thought the sold out sign would be up by now.

  36. mmmm says

    mint track order says i ordered 12:30 am…but i ordered 12:30 pm …what the heck

  37. Stevieladeek says

    to mmmmm, the reason it says 12:30am is so in a couple of weeks the Mint can cancel your order for placing an order before 12:oo noon…lol

  38. Michael says


    Thank you for all of the comments and updates throughout the day, and T.J. thank you for your firsthand account of the ceremony!

    I will see what other specifics I can gather on the ceremony and the status of the US Mint roll offering and have a summary post late Friday.

    If anyone else has any other accounts of the ceremony that they would like to share, please continue to add them to the comments or email me at:

    coins AT live.com


  39. Anonymous says

    the mint just changed the shipping date to 7/13/09. That was quick. Sell out tomorrow???

  40. Anonymous says

    Shipping Delays: Due to current fulfillment issues we are experiencing shipping delays on all orders. It is taking 4 to 5 weeks to process and ship orders to customers.
    Trust me. This is for ALL orders whether you ordered in the first 5 minutes or the first 5 hours. Notice how it says ALL ORDERS.

  41. Pat says

    The mint at its best. first orders said to be shipped 05/20 changed to 06/29 at 5pm now at 07/13. Due to very poor management planning at the mint. I believe they will sell out this weekend (good chance today). If the same conditions prevail as the first release, plan on 4 to 6 weeks delivery after they ship (Fedex smartmail). Good Luck to ALL

  42. Pat says

    I do believe that the mint will close out this weekend (IF NOT TODAY), started out at 05/20 than 06/29 and as of 11am 07/13, the mint is by far not perfect and add the very bad management and the last release it isnt getting any better. If this keeps up prices are going to go through the roof.

  43. Anonymous says


  44. Anonymous says

    The mint may already be sold out. I ordered the Cabin cents on 3/24/09 and were told they were backordered until early April. After a few emails pushing back the expected ship date, on 4/29/09 I received an email stating the product was sold out and my order could not be completed.

  45. Anonymous says

    Since orders are being pushed fartehr, why on earth promote are they still promoting the coin on the site. Its pretty obvious that they are sold out and are given folks that are ordering now false hope. It is really sad for collectors like us but great for Ebayer’s. This will push the price up much farther than the LP1’s. Best of luck for anyone putting in orders now.

  46. Anonymous says

    What is the difference b/w the coins on Ebay that has the regular bank roll wrapping and the ones that are on sale on the mint site? Seems prices on Ebay vary?

  47. Michael says

    A few responses to some of the questions:

    You can track your order on the US Mint’s website. Go to the US Mint’s online catalog and then click the “Track Order” button on the menu bar. However, recent history has shown that the expected shipping dates are often not correct. Orders supposedly ship First In, First Out.

    EBay prices do vary between rolls with USPS first day cancellation, US Mint wrappers, and generic wrappers. People are paying a premium for limited packaging. There are less rolls in US Mint wrappers than generic wrappers, and still less first day canceled rolls. The coins inside the rolls should basically be the same. I am always somewhat skeptical of packaging premiums, which sometimes decline over time.

  48. Upstate NY says

    Just checked my order status. “5 units backordered. Expected to ship on 05/29/2009.” Also with that same order I ordered one presidential dollar proof set and the status of that is “1 unit shipped on 05/15/2009”. The proof set shipped in about 24 hours time, unlike the 4 to 5 weeks they claim it will take. You can’t trust anything they say at all!

  49. Anonymous says

    My 31697xxx order within the first two hours shows “units backordered – expected to ship on 05/29/2009”. Of course, I take no confidence in this because, as Michael correctly states, “expected shipping dates are often not correct”.

    However, what is interesting is whether the FIFO rule will be trampled again.

  50. Anonymous says


  51. Anonymous says

    The coins contained in the "Direct Ship Program" rolls are of identical quality to those you would get at a bank. In fact, they come in the exact same NF String & Son paper.

    I can't attest to the quality of the coins contained in the U.S. Mint rolls in specially decorated paper, since I've never ordered any of them to see. My guess is that the coins in those rolls are no better than those in the regular paper rolls.

  52. Anonymous says

    I have opened a few of the direct ship dollar rolls (Native Am. and Jacksons) looking for errors. Most of the coins have a few bag marks, and dings on the edges, but you can expect to find a few gems per box. I couldn’t tell you about the quality of the $37 rolls.

  53. Robert Plant says

    Took me longer to get an order thru on these than it did for a UHR: 1:10 for the pennies and :45 for the UHR. Just placed a second order now, interestingly the backorder date on the first day order is 5/29 and the one placed now is b.o. to 7/13, a span of nearly two weeks’ increased delivery delay in less than 48 hours of availability; this release will sell out sooner rather than later.

    We’ll see if I actually receive the second set of 5.

  54. Anonymous says

    FYI (for yall information), usmint.gov pushed advertised expected ship to 07/27/2009

  55. Eric says

    I hear they are going to sell the other 2 sets now, and they ship them for the future release date of when ever they decide to set it, thus actually shipping on time ; )

    Seriously, why dont they sell the last 2 to set and then just ship on the set release date?

  56. Anonymous says

    Very strange – a couple hours ago the mint site listed the LP2 penny rolls, sold out, and were taking waiting list orders only. Now the site shows them as were first listed. ??????

  57. Anonymous says

    mint has sold over 200,000 sets of the LP2 pennies. With less than 100,000 LP1 sets sold, I guess the LP1 sets will be the money makers. Doesn’t look very promising on profits for the LP2.

  58. Anonymous says

    The Mint will be selling these things til Christmas once everyone starts cancelling their orders.

  59. Eric says

    so it’s by design, the mint created demand by under sells the first series, then over sells the next,


  60. Anonymous says

    I have to admit, I fell for it too. I saw just this morning in Dave Harper’s Buzz column that the sales total from May 14-17 for the LP2’s is at 200,055 sets. I called my wife while I was standing in that ridiculously long line at the Lincoln City IN Post Office to have her place an order online for me, and now it looks like I might have to cancel it! But then again, it’s only a $49.70 investment. There’s a chance that I might be able to get my money back from them by selling them later.

    I guess you can’t believe what you read or hear. I distinctly remember from somewhere that the LP2 set was going to be limited to 100,000 units. Oh the treachery, oh the deceit!

  61. Anonymous says

    Don't know if you are still following this or not, but the Quik Trip in my hometown has had the new pennies, second design twice now – both times I was able to buy $5.00 worth of pennies no problems. They got a new bag in today and I picked up a couple more rolls. These are D mint marked. they are circulating them like mad, giving them in all their change.

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