For the final post of this year, I wanted to revisit the United States Mint’s 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar products. Throughout the year, there has been a constant stream of news surrounding the format of the products, the details of the release, sales trends, and the shifting product and household ordering limits.
Early in the year, the first images of the potential products issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Half Dollar came in the form of two different mock ups provided to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee for discussion. The initial point of discussion was whether the date should be indicated as “2014” or the dual date of “1964-2014”. The CCAC preferred the dual date and also made some suggestions surrounding the inclusion of the fineness or weight of the coin on the reverse. The US Mint would follow these recommendations on the final coin.
Over the summer months, the Mint officially confirmed the full line up of 50th anniversary products that would be issued. The three products consisted of a three-quarter ounce gold proof coin, a four coin silver set, and a two coin clad set. All coins would carry the original higher relief scult on the obverse. The silver coins would be struck at four different mint facilities with four different finishes.
A month later, the Mint shared their plans surrounding the launch of the products. Some key points of information shared included the initial production levels for the two coin clad set and the gold proof coin. Another key point was that the gold coins would be offered at the ANA convention as well as US Mint retail locations with certain specified allocations available at each venue.
The two coin clad set was offered first, with sales beginning on July 24 ,2014. Initially, the product carried no stated product limit and an ordering limit of five sets per household. The sets were priced at $9.95 representing the lowest pricing amongst the 50th anniversary products. Opening day sales were brisk at 68,974 units, far exceeding the Mint’s initial production level of 37,000 sets. The pace of sales would slow, but the sets continued to be ordered steadily. In late October, the Mint announced a product limit of 200,000 units and in mid-November, the household ordering limit was removed.
The removal of the limit spurred a faster pace of sales and the product quickly approached its limit. The latest weekly sales report indicates orders at 198,268 and the product is indicated as “Out of Stock” on the Mint’s website and can no longer be ordered.
The start of sales for the three-quarter ounce gold proof coin on August 5, 2014 was met with a frenzied response, particularly at the physical retail locations where the coins were available. Initially, the coins were priced at $1,240 which would be adjusted throughout the availability period based on the market price of gold. The ordering limit for internet sales was five units per household, however a limit of just one per customer was imposed at retail locations. The Mint planned to make available 2,500 units at the ANA convention and 500 units each at the Philadelphia and Denver Mint gift shops and US Mint headquarters sales counter over the course of five days.
Opening day sales reached 56,694, exceeding the Mint’s initial production level of 40,000 units. Although the coins were readily able to be ordered online, much was made of the limited number of coins offered at physical locations. At the ANA convention more than a thousand people were said to have lined up to purchase the 500 coins available for the opening day. This was followed by even longer lines forming overnight. Eventually, this led the US Mint to suspend orders at all retail locations.
After the opening rush, the pace of sales tapered considerably and for several weeks, the sales reports carried negative numbers indicating that order cancellations and returns outnumbered newly placed orders. The household ordering limit was eventually removed in mid-October and a product limit of 75,000 units was announced in early December. Orders have currently reached 69,319 units, but the pace of new orders has once again slowed to a crawl.
The silver coin collection was offered as the third and final 50th anniversary product with sales opened on October 28, 2014. The sets were offered at $99.95 each with an ordering limit of five sets per household and overall product limit initially indicated at 300,000 units. The sets represented the first major new product release under the US Mint’s new retail website. The sets were not offered at physical retail locations.
The collector response to the offering seemed muted compared to the prior two 50th anniversary products. Opening orders reached 85,670 units, which was far below the Mint’s initial production amount of 180,000 units. The lower than expected response may have been what prompted the Mint to make adjustments to the ordering and product limits in short order.
After three weeks of availability, the ordering limit was removed and about a week later the product limit was reduced to 225,000 units. Cumulative orders received have now reached 190,228 units, with 2,081 units added in the latest weekly period.
The table below shows the complete weekly sales data for all three of the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar products.
|Clad Set||Gold Proof Coin||Silver Set|
Final note: Many readers have been inquiring about the 2014 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set, which is still listed on the US Mint’s 2014 release schedule as “TBD”. According to the Mint, the coins for the product have already been produced, but there have been delays with the packaging. As such, the set will be released in early 2015.
Final final note: To all readers, thank you for reading Mint News Blog and have a happy new year!