Hundreds line up in gold Proof Kennedy ticketing line
- Published: Aug 5, 2014, 7 AM
Updated at 8:36 a.m. Central Time Wednesday
All U.S. Mint cash registers should be working today, at least for credit cards, U.S. Mint retail marketing specialist Jospehine Campbell said at the conclusion of Tuesday's gold Proof 1964–2014-W Kennedy half dollar sales.
Campbell led the team of retail workers checking out purchasers on Tuesday.
At one point Tuesday, one of the three U.S. Mint cash registers stopped working, causing a slowdown in check-outs. Campbell said by the end of the day, the down register was accepting credit cards only. She said she hoped it would be back up and running in full Wednesday, but it will at least be accepting credit cards.
She said other than the register, her end of the purchasing process had a smooth first day.
"Once [customers] are here, it goes with the flow," Campbell said.
She thought this release was an especially fun one to work because of the personal connections the Kennedy half dollar has with so many people.
"It has a lot of personal ties to folks," Campbell said. "That's what really makes it special."
4:40 p.m. Central Time Tuesday
The final group of 20 to 30 gold Proof 1964–2014-W Kennedy half dollar purchasers are moving through the U.S. Mint register area, nearly six hours after the first purchase was made.
U.S. Mint deputy director of corporate communications Adam Stump said a down register led to a slowdown in the middle of the day.
The Mint had designated two registers for Kennedy purchases and one for all others. At around 2:30 p.m., with one of the Kennedy registers malfunctioning, the Mint went to two Kennedy registers and zero for other purchases for a period of time.
Stump said the latter part of the day went relatively smooth other than a few issues with purchasers being underage or one person trying to pay for more than one coin on behalf of others in line with them.
1:02 p.m. Central Time
The first day of sales for the gold Proof 1964–2014-W Kennedy half dollar at the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money has gone according to plan, so far, Stump said Tuesday afternoon.
"It's been pretty smooth," Stump said.
The Mint official spoke as he waited to let the latest group of 20 to 30 purchasers into the bourse area, where they will be guided a few steps by security to the U.S. Mint cash registers. By 12:47 p.m., about 180 purchasers had passed through the door Stump stands in front of. A line of hundreds remained on the other side. That line, Stump said, is being managed by the ANA.
He expected purchases of Tuesday's 500 available coins to be complete by around 3 p.m.
Stump said one person so far has been turned away for having improper identification. (Purchasers need to be 18 years old.)
Online purchases of the gold Proof Kennedy Tuesday have also gone smoothly so far Tuesday, according to Stump.
12:03 p.m. Central Time update
Fluorescent light shown through a metal door finally opened at around 11 a.m. Tuesday, and the hundreds in the ticketing line for the first 500 gold Proof 1964-2014 Kennedy half dollars finally started moving.
Those in line were taken through the door in groups and then shuffled around the outside of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center bourse before lining up at a cash register to make the purchase just like any other.
Nick Yadgarov of Los Angeles made the first purchase of the day. He was part of the four-person group that were the first to arrive at the convention center, at about 11 p.m. Monday night. They were offered $20,000 for the first four coins purchased.
“It was absolutely worth every second,” Yadgarov told the crew of reporters that surrounded him after his purchase was made.
Further back in the line, somewhere in the 400s, were 21-year-old Kevin Kaufmann and 19-year-old David Sly. The California friends said they arrived around 4 a.m.
The pair, who plans on buying for themselves and then selling the coins later, estimated that "90 percent” of their line mates were buying on behalf of someone else. They pointed out folks who had been kicked out of line for attempting to cut, and said they watched a group in front of them somehow double in size as the hours went on.
"Towards the back it was, …” began Kaufmann.
“Chaos,” finished Sly.
Not long after Kaufmann and Sly got in line, it became too late for any newcomers to have a realistic shot at one of the 500 coins.
Dave Mishko, of West Bloomfield, Mich., said he arrived at 6 a.m. thinking he would have a chance to get a spot. Instead, he was standing a few feet away from the U.S. Mint registers, hoping to find someone who would sell him one.
“I didn’t anticipate this,” said Mishko as he held a hand-written sign that read “$ for Kennedy gold.”
Mishko said he’d be willing to pay $2,000 on the spot for the coin with a $1,240 issue price.
As of 10:23 a.m. Central Time, the ticketing line for the gold Proof 1964-2014 Kennedy half dollar was at a standstill, waiting for the official release of the coin at 11 a.m. Central Time.
Those near the front of the line began waiting outside the building at around 10:30 p.m. Central Time Monday night.
Patrick Estes of St. Louis had a No. 6 drawn onto his hand, signifying his spot in line. He said the early-arriving folks all marked their hands in order of their arrival outside the building, and the convention officials honored the order once they opened the doors at 8:30 a.m.
"Everybody in here is marked or they're not supposed to be here," Estes said of his line neighbors.
Keep up with Coin World's coverage of Tuesday's Kennedy release: