2014 Kennedy Half Dollar Gold ProofAlthough I am not able to attend this year’s World’s Fair of Money, I have been keeping up with the news coming out of Rosemont. Amongst the interesting news reports are those about the long lines collectors were standing in for the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Proof Coin. There was even a story that claimed dealers paid homeless people to stand in line because of the U.S. Mint’s purchase limit of one coin per person.

Watching the scene from afar gives it a reality television-like feel. Just like reality television, I find it difficult to understand the appeal of having to be the first or one of the first to purchase the coin. In this case the people who bought the first coin had the coin slabbed and was paid $20,000 for the coin, what about the people standing in line behind them? Were they expecting to resell the coin to a dealer desperate to have the coin in their inventory? Was the line there representing dealers who will advertise that they have the coin from the first day of issue and mark up the price for those who collect the labels and not the coin?

If you are interested in purchasing the coin and not worried about the hype, I recommend that you buy the coin directly from the U.S. Mint. First, the U.S. Mint has already announced that there will not be a production limit. While there are initial sales limit, the U.S. Mint will strike as many as ordered. Second, those coins purchased at the U.S. Mint booth at the World’s Fair of Money will likely be removed from the U.S. Mint packaging and entombed in one of the third party grading company’s hunk of plastic. The price will be overly inflated.

When you buy the coin from the U.S. Mint, the price you will pay is the market price of three-quarters of a troy ounce of gold, the full cost of manufacture, and the packaging. According to the U.S. Mint, “The coins are encapsulated and packaged in a single custom-designed, brown mahogany hardwood presentation case with removable coin well and are accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.” That mahogany hardwood presentation case is probably not cheap. If it is the same case that has been used for past special coin programs, then it is a nice package and should display the coin nicely. You will probably not receive the presentation case from the dealer that slabbed the coin. In fact, some dealers have started to sell the empty presentation cases without the coin—essentially, double-dipping at the expense of the purchaser of the coin.

The final reason to buy the coin directly from the U.S. Mint online or via the telephone is that there is a limit of five coins per household. When you buy the coin at one of the U.S. Mint facilities or this week at the World’s Fair of Money, you are limited to buying one coin and that there is a daily sales limit of 500 coins at each location.

With no offense intended to dealers who will have plenty of opportunities to make money on this coin in the future, I recommend that Coin Collectors Blog readers who want to purchase a coin for their own collection to buy it directly from the U.S. Mint. Even if the price of gold rises, the U.S. Mint pricing table [PDF] for these coins shows that the difference is about $35 per pricing band. I suspect that it will be less than the premium that many dealers will add to the price of the coin at the same time it is available from the U.S. Mint, except that they can sell you the coin now and you will not have to wait.

First Day Sales Figures

The U.S. Mint released their first day sales figures for the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Proof Coin:

Online/Call Center Sales 54,825
ANA World’s Fair of Money 493
U.S. Mint Headquarters, Washington, DC 376
Philadelphia Branch Mint 500
Denver Branch Mint 500
All sites   56,694
Coin image courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

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