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Truman, Ike win 2015 Chronicles race

The Johnson Coin and Chronicles set release on Oct. 27 wraps up a run of four Chronicles sets for 2015. Which is the winning set?

The Truman Coin & Chronicles set maintains an above $200 retail price on eBay.

The Truman Coin & Chronicles set maintains an above $200 retail price on eBay.

Truman with Ike in a close second, said Matt Crane of L&C Coins, Los Alamitos, Calif.

“I think the Truman set was the best,” he said. “It was a surprise set, so when it was released, it gained attention once it became a rarity. I think the buzz for the Truman set then helped the Ike set sales.”

Each of the 2015 Chronicles sets contain a reverse proof Presidential dollar and silver Presidential medal. The big draw for collectors is the reverse proof coins, a finish the Mint uses sparingly and this is the first time it was applied to Presidential dollars.

On eBay, the Truman set currently averages $229 per set, over triple the initial sales price of $57.95. The Ike set brings in around $165 per set.

What makes the Truman and Ike sets  stand out is they have low mintages of 17,000 units each. Both sets sold out at the Mint in around 15 minutes after their release: Truman on June 30, Ike on Aug. 11.

Purchasers of the Truman set were also able to order up to five sets per household, a policy concentrating more sets in the hands of fewer buyers.

In response, the Mint reduced the Ike set household order limit from five units to two. This change might be one reason for a lower secondary market price for the Ike set.

The more affordable sets for 2015 are the Kennedy and Johnson sets.

As of Nov. 4, the Kennedy set trades around $70 and the Johnson set is at $75 to $80, little above the Mint’s issue price of $57.95
Due to the Truman and Ike sellouts, the Mint increased production for the Kennedy set from 25,000 sets to 50,000 and the Johnson set from 17,000 units to 25,000. Like the Ike set, the household order limit remained at two units.

The Kennedy set went on sale Sept. 16 and remained available until Oct. 5, with returns sold occasionally afterwards.

The Johnson set took almost four hours to sell out when it released Oct. 27.

The lack of a quick sellout and higher mintages for the Kennedy and Johnson seems to have acted to lower the secondary market price. Both sets have markups that don’t provide much room for profit to buyers after fees and shipping costs are included.

For all four 2015 sets, small premiums are attached to unopened boxes, due to their ability to receive PCGS First Strike grading designations.

Crane said some of the interest in ungraded sets comes from buyers looking to get PF-/MS-70 sets.

“The PF-/MS-69 coins and medals are common,” he said. “The -70 grades are hard to come by. Getting a complete set of -70s is even harder.”

For example, a PCGS graded PF-/MS-70 Ike set sold at an eBay auction on Oct. 25 for $1,430 after 30 bids.

At the PCGS coin census as of Nov. 4, just 56 Ike reverse proof dollars of 1,182 graded received a PR-70 grade. Only 187 Ike medals out of 1,039 seen made MS-70.

Meanwhile, a certified PF-/MS-69 Chronicles set is so easy to come by, buyers on eBay tend to pay at or below the price of an ungraded set for graded -69 sets.

Check out the grading census at PCGS, http://www.pcgs.com/pop/, and NGC, http://www.ngccoin.com/coin-census/us/, for more grading information.

Crane said he believes the interest in Chronicles sets will last for some time.

“I think some people got into the series with the Kennedy set and are tracking backwards to get the other sets,” he said. “This is a unique series for the collector.”

Collector interest in previous Chronicles sets has risen with the 2015 set releases.

Prices on eBay have risen for the 2005 John  Marshall, the 2006 Benjamin Franklin, the 2009 Abraham Lincoln and the 2013 Theodore Roosevelt Chronicles sets.

Check out the new 2016 North American Coins and Prices reference book here.

Check out the new 2016 North American Coins and Prices reference book here.

The 2014 Franklin D. Roosevelt Chronicles set went off sale at the Mint in early November, with sales reports showing an increase in purchases as the 2015 Chronicles sets released.

Buyers will now have to wait until 2016 when the Ronald Reagan Coin and Chronicles set goes on sale.

On June 4, Tom Jurkowsky, director of the Mint’s office of corporate communications, confirmed the set would contain a reverse proof Reagan Presidential dollar.

He also stated the Mint would not produce Chronicles sets for Presidents Ford and Nixon.

If interest in Coin and Chronicles sets remains high into 2016, the Reagan set could take off just like the Truman and Ike sets – unless the Mint sets an unrealistically high mintage figure.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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