As I have done in the past, I wanted to provide a recap of the launch ceremony for the latest 2009 Lincoln Cent release. The “Professional Life” design was launched at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois on Thursday, August 13, 2009.
United States Mint Director Edmund Moy presented the ceremony. He was joined by Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin and United States Senator Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin had played a special role in relation to the third 2009 Lincoln Cent design.
Initially, a design had been chosen which featured Lincoln reading a book at a desk. The architect in charge of the restoration of the Old State Capitol felt that the design carried little meaning and had nothing to do with Illinois. After numerous attempts to work through different channels including the US Mint, the architect contacted Senator Durbin. He went straight to the top by contacting Treasury Secretary Paulson, who had responsibility for the final design decision. Senator Durbin convinced him to select the design with Lincoln standing before the Old State Capitol.
The number of people attending the launch event seemed to be around the same number that had attended the previous ceremony in Indiana, which had been estimated at 3,000. This was a little surprising since the number of attendees had doubled from the first to second ceremonies. Also, Springfield is a major city and the location was more suited to handling a larger crowd.
Once again the coin exchange was a major attraction at the event. People began lining up early in the morning, apparently with some people even lining up the night before. The exchange line was snaked around the Old State Capitol grounds so people waiting could actually view the ceremony. The exchange began at 10:40, following completion of the ceremony.
The limits of minimum of two rolls and maximum of six rolls were in place. Many people were able to go through the exchange line multiple times to obtain more than six rolls. There was a report that police had to intervene to take care of some line cutters. The supplies were exhausted by 12:40, at which point the coin exchange ended.
Other events at the State Capitol following the launch ceremony included a program called “Lincoln in Song” by Chris Vallillo and a presentation by Joel Iskowitz, the “Professional Life” reverse designer.
The Post Office was located about two blocks away and many people went there to have their rolls stamped and canceled. They had a specially prepared black “dedication” cancellation stamp or the regular red daily cancellation stamp.
At 12:00 Noon ET on the same date, the US Mint began selling the 2009 Lincoln Cent Formative Years Two Roll Set. Reports from readers indicate that orders could be placed without delay even during the first few minutes of the offering. This would seem to indicate much lower collector interest than the prior two roll set release. When the Formative Years two roll sets were released, the US Mint’s website had slowed to a crawl and orders were difficult to place. Besides lower interest, this could also be the impact of more people pre-ordering their rolls through the US Mint’s subscription program, which was instated after the second roll set had already been released.
As expected, there have already been plenty of Professional Life Cents offered for sale on eBay. Some of the earliest rolls stamped and canceled in Springfield sold for $30 each, but prices have since declined to about $15. Various auctions are also selling unmarked rolls, single coins, and even sealed $25 boxes of the new Professional Life Cents. These coins are still driving significant premiums, but the “mania” experienced during the first design seems to have subsided. Here are the current eBay auctions for Professional Life Cents.
Some pictures from the Springfield, Illinois are included below. Once again, thank you to Michael Forader who provide the pictures and some details from the event!