During a conference call held this morning, Marc Landry, the United States Mint’s Acting Associate Director of Sales & Marketing, shared some details on the Mint’s plans for the launch of the upcoming 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar products. These details provide collectors with a better idea of what to expect when the coins go on sale.
Broadly, the US Mint is seeking to have enough of each product on hand to satisfy demand but not overproduce. For each product there will be significant inventory on hand and ready for immediate shipment. During the first sales week, the Mint will evaluate demand and adjust production plans accordingly.
The first product available will be the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Uncirculated Coin Set, which contains uncirculated half dollars from the Philadelphia and Denver Mint facilities. These are produced with the original obverse portrait of 1964 and are struck in the standard copper-nickel clad composition. The sets are priced at $9.95 each, providing the lowest price point of the three offerings.
When sales begin on July 24, 2014 at 12:00 Noon ET, the US Mint will have 37,000 units on hand. The sets will also be available at the ANA convention held early the following month.
The next product available will be the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar Gold Proof Coin. Struck in three-quarter of an ounce of 24 karat gold, the coin features the original design from 1964 and carries the dual date of “1964-2014”. Pricing will be established based on the average weekly market price of gold. Sales will begin on August 5, 2014 at 12:00 Noon ET. The coins will also be available for sale at the ANA Chicago World’s Fair of Money starting at 11:00 AM CT.
Across all channels, the US Mint will have 40,000 of the coins available at the start of sales.
With regards to the ANA convention availability, the US Mint will seek to improve on what they have done at past conventions. They will seek to avoid some of the long line waits and congestion, while attempting even and wide distribution. The Mint will have only 2,500 of the gold coins available for sale at the show, with 500 made available per day. Each day, sales will open at 11:00 AM CT when people will be allowed to line up and the Mint will distribute tickets. There will be three sales registers at the event, with two dedicated to handling the gold coin sales. In prior conventions, there was only a single point of sale.
There will be an ordering limit of five of the gold proof coins per household for orders placed online or by phone. At the convention and Mint retail locations, there will be a limit of two coins per person. The Mint indicated that they might consider adjusting the limit at the ANA convention after the first day of sales. Retail locations where the coins will be available include the Philadelphia and Denver Mint gift shops and the sales counter at US Mint headquarters.
The third product issued to celebrate the 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half Dollar will be a four coin silver set, including coins from different facilities and carrying different finishes. The coins will include a reverse proof version from West Point, a proof version from Philadelphia, an enhanced uncirculated version from San Francisco, and an uncirculated version from Denver. All coins will be struck in 90% silver and carry the original portrait design. The sets will be priced at $99.95 and are anticipated to be released in the fall.
The US Mint indicated that their new order management system is scheduled to go online this fall. The 50th Anniversary Kennedy Silver Coin Collection will be the first major release under the new system.
During the call, I asked whether the US Mint would go back to establishing maximum mintages for special products once the new order management system is in place. Since the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set offered in 2011, the US Mint has opted for open ended mintages or four week ordering windows for special products. Marc Landry indicated that the Mint’s preference is for no mintage limits, citing the difficultly in gauging customer demand these types of products.