Steve Roach

The Art of Collecting

Steve Roach

Steve Roach, Coin World’s editor-in-chief, has been deeply involved with numismatics for more than 20 years, starting as a young coin collector in Michigan. Two years spent as a coin grader, nearly three years at a major coin wholesaler and a stint as a paintings specialist at an international auction house have given Steve a rich understanding of the hobby, its market and the unique personalities and exceptional objects that make collecting meaningful.

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Lots of winners for new 1964–2014 gold Kennedy half dollar

The Mint will release its .9999 fine gold Proof 1964–2014-W Kennedy half dollar at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money on Aug. 5. The popular program has a lot winners that spread the wealth around our hobby. 
  • American Numismatic Association: With the ANA’s flagship convention held in Rosemont, Ill., over multiple years, each installment needs a new angle to attract mainstream media attention and reach attendees outside of the hobby. The ANA benefits with a high-profile launch, and the strict ordering limits of one coin per person, per day, will result in long lines that will make for great photo ops. 
  • The U.S. Mint: The Mint is likely the most obvious beneficiary of a successful coin launch, standing to profit from the sale of the coin and the increased awareness that a popular new coin brings to the rest of its products.
  • Grading services: Major grading services will be flooded with coins submitted for special labels commemorating the coin’s first day of issue, more labels recognizing coins purchased at the ANA show, and then the usual “Early Release” and “First Strike” labels for coins submitted during the first month. 
  • Coin dealers: Coin dealers are clear beneficiaries as the special grading service labels create a product that goes beyond the coin itself that can command premiums in the marketplace. Due to ordering limits, many impatient collectors will likely turn to dealers rather than the U.S. Mint to purchase a coin for their collection. 
  • Coin collectors who want to keep their coin: Coin collectors benefit by a well-timed fall in the price of gold that led the U.S. Mint to price the coin at $1,240 based on its pricing chart, which looks at the average price of gold for the prior week. If gold had an average price above $1,300 during the period, the opening issue price would have been a less elegant and more expensive $1,277.50. 
  • Coin collectors who want to sell their coin: Much like the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative program earlier this year, those who are quick to buy one in person at one of the Mint’s retail facilities or at the ANA show early in the ordering cycle may likely be able to resell their coins quickly for a fast profit (which, Coin World hopes, will stay in the hobby!). Strict ordering limits and the Mint’s sales strategy of releasing just 500 coins per day at the ANA show will prevent dealers from getting large quantities for retail, placing greater demand on coins. 
The coins will be struck to demand, with no mintage limits, and the Mint has said that it has 40,000 coins ready to ship as I write this. Still, we’ll be watching the building mintage closely and comparing it to a similar recent product: the 2009 Ultra High Relief gold $20 piece, which saw an eventual sales figure of 115,178, with coins trading at roughly twice the initial issue price. 

As our news editor William T. Gibbs addressed in his June 30 editorial, the Mint’s authority to produce a gold half dollar is a bit fuzzy. For example, the Mint was not allowed to sell gold versions of the 2000 Sacagawea dollar to the public, as Congress stated that Mint officials lacked constitutional authority to issue the dollar coin in gold. 

There’s also the somewhat odd selection of 1964, which represents the 50th year of the Kennedy half dollar program, resulting in what is essentially a coin honoring a coin. 

But, these types of issues add to the gold half dollar’s story and make the coin more interesting, which should provide fodder for researchers and writers in the coming decades. In an era of rapid proliferation of U.S. Mint products, one-off special issues like the gold Kennedy half dollar may need to stand out to be remembered at all. 
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