With the Illinois release ceremony for the third Lincoln design of the 2009 Lincoln Cents only a day away, many were caught by surprise to find that the US Mint had stopped sales of the second Lincoln design, the Formative Years or Rail Splitter Cent, on Wednesday August 12th.
Since May 14th, the Mint had been offering the second design in two-roll sets for $8.95. These sets consisted of one roll of 50 coins from the Mint in Philadelphia and one roll of 50 coins from the Mint in Denver.
As of August 9th, the Mint had recorded that 300,246* of the second design two-roll sets were purchased. In comparison, only 96,000 sets of the first design were made available to collectors. The sales figures are not a valid comparison, however, as the Mint only sold the first design sets for less than two weeks before pulling them from their store shelves.
The third design, known as 'Professional Life in Illinois', is now available from the Mint in the two-roll sets via their website, www.usmint.gov, or their toll free number, 1-800-USA-Mint. Customers also have the option of enrolling in the Lincoln Cent subscription program which will entitle them to up to 5 sets of the third design, and 5 sets of the fourth Presidency cent design, once they become available.
At this point, it is unclear how long the third design will be available for purchase from the Mint, but it is clear that anyone who wants to still get their hands on the first or second design will have to turn to the secondary market.
*[Editor's update: The Mint in its Aug. 16 coin sales report revised the final sales number to 300,000 from the 300,246 it reported on Aug. 9.]
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