Released Thursday, May 14, sales of the 2009 Lincoln Rail Splitter cent (formerly known as the Formative Years cent) are surpassing all expectations. Demand at the official release ceremony in Indiana was exceptionally high, kicking the coin's popularity into an even higher gear.
The ceremony took place at Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln State Park, Lincoln City, Indiana. An estimated 3000 people attended the event which is double the turn-out for the ceremony in Kentucky that marked the first Log Cabin cent release.
United States Mint Director Edmund Moy presided over the celebration and said:
"The 14 years Lincoln spent here in Indiana gave him the skills and character, compassion and fortitude, to lead the nation through one of the darkest periods in our history."
Over 200 elementary school students took part in the ceremony as well as the actor who will play Lincoln in the the amphitheatre's upcoming production of 'Lincoln - Forging Greatness'.
Some people waited in line instead of attending the ceremony, intent on exchanging $3 for 6 rolls of the new pennies all minted in Philadelphia. Reportedly, the line started forming as early as 3:30 AM.
The latest US Mint sales figures show that more than 400,000 rolls of the pennies were sold in just 4 days. (For more, see CoinNews article: 20 Million Lincoln Rail Splitter Pennies Sold.) These consisted of 2 roll sets, one from each of the mints producing circulating coinage, Philadelphia and Denver. As of today, the mint website indicates the 2 roll sets are still available at a price of $8.95 plus shipping for the set, but the shipping date is delayed until July 15th.
This is encouraging for the public, as the Log Cabin penny sold out in less than two weeks with only 96,000 sets sold. The sell-out of the first penny is probably is the biggest factor in the high initial demand for the Rail Splitter penny. Resellers do not want to run the risk of not being able to get them in inventory, and collectors want to insure they can obtain them for their own.
In fact, premiums over and above what the Mint is charging are seen in the secondary markets like Ebay. Prices of well over $20 are common for a single roll of the new pennies. If the Mint continues to offer the rolls to meet demand, prices should equalize more. If instead, they stop production, price levels will probably remain high from outside sources.