Yesterday was the first day that the new Professional Life Lincoln Cents were released. Aside from the ceremony in Springfield, Illinois, the US Mint sold rolls at Union Station in Washington, DC. The event passed without much notice.
When the Formative Years, or Rail Splitter cents were released, there was a rush of people to Union Station that caught the notice of the media. Local and national news outlets descended on Union Station to take capture the scene. It was such a happening that it broke through the political games that were going on within yards of Union Station.
Other than an article from the State Register-Journal of Springfield, there was little notice elsewhere. Even the Mint’s hometown Philadelphia Inquirer buried a paragraph about the coin’s release at the bottom of the “Business news in brief” page.
It is the bicentennial birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the president that is credited with holding the country together during its most tumultuous times. We should be celebrating Lincoln. But there seems to be less excitement for these coins than there were for the Westward Journey nickle program.
Discounting the fact that I work “inside the Beltway” and hear more about politics than any other news, there seems to be a focus on other issues and not numismatics. Even the numismatic press has been covering issues of the market and issues of metals values.
This year, the proof sets have 18 coins. When the Mint Sets are released, there will be 36 coins. With coins from the Lincoln Bicentennial Cents, DC and Terrotories Quarters, Presidential Dollars, and the Native American $1 Coin it is the most coins in these sets in the Mint’s history.
Has all of these coin programs jumped the shark?
Originally, I thought this would be an exciting year. But the near monthly release of new coins seems to have faded into the background like rain on a tin roof.
And we have yet to see the 2009 24-karat Gold Buffalo.
It’s not like the Mint has been creating “awe inspiring designs.” Now we have to contend with another 11 year state series from the designers that gave us such winners as the Ohio hanging astronaut and the Montana’s dead animal skull.
Numismatic history has not looked too kindly on the early commemorative era. There were too many coins with only marginally interesting commemorations that wore out collectors. We seem to be doing the same with these circulating commemoratives. History is going to show that we overdid the circulating commemorative concept these last ten years. I hope that when these programs end we are granted a break.