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Working the angles?

Are you thinking about buying the Lyndon B. Johnson Coin and Chronicles Set when it goes on sale at noon Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday?

There are more than just a few potential buyers who would like to see the Coin and Chronicles Set feeding frenzy of the past summer reignited.

I ask the question this morning to give you the weekend to think about it.

I find myself in a loop of circular logic.

Price of the set is $57.95.

This cost means something if you are a collector.

If you think the set will sell out rapidly and you can double, triple or quadruple your money on the secondary market, the initial cost figure is meaningless.

But will it sell out?

I will be the first to admit that I called it wrong for the Kennedy set.

I really thought the 50,000 maximum was a no brainer and it would sell out rapidly as the prior two had.

True, that 50,000 figure was nearly triple the 17,000 maximum numbers for the Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower sets, but these sets sold out in 15 minutes. Surely in an hour the Kennedy set could do the same?

Well, it didn’t.

Had the Kennedy set been capped at 40,000, an hour would have been enough and we wouldn’t even be having a discussion of the pros and cons of the Johnson set. All systems would be set to go. Buyers would be counting down the hours until Tuesday, ready to pounce on the Johnson set.

But since it took more than two weeks for the sales window to close on Kennedy, the speculative atmosphere surrounding the Coin and Chronicles sets has diminished.

The mintage limit for the Johnson is half that of Kennedy at 25,000. The household order limit is the same at two sets.

Had the Johnson set been offered immediately after Eisenhower, another swift sellout would have been notched.

But because it follows the Kennedy offer, would-be buyers are going to be doing the math.

Precisely because they will be doing the math, doubts will rise in some minds.

Johnson is not Kennedy.

Demand will fall based on that obvious fact alone.

Trying to quantify what the differential should be between Johnson and Kennedy is at best guesswork.

Besides, numbers are not always the whole story.

With speculations, once the white hot heat of the temporary enthusiasm has cooled, it can be very difficult to warm up again.

Have speculators moved on to some other target, or have they just been lying low since Sept. 16 when the Kennedy set first went on sale?

We will find out on Tuesday.

It probably matters little what is actually in the set, but for those hobbyists who actually do want to collect it, there is a “P” mint reverse proof dollar, a .999 fine silver Presidential medal and the 1973 stamp that was issued after President Johnson died.

When all is said and done, it will probably come down to a decision based on what is often called a gut check.

My gut tells me that the Johnson set won’t sell out on the first day.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you’ll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.

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2 Responses to Working the angles?

  1. I totally agree with MR.Harper. The coin and chronicle’s sets have run there course. The prices on the secondary market are complete out of control.Ihate to say it but if you didn’t buy it at the mint my opinion is you will never recover your money back.Prices will drop like a rock and if you didnt start collecting them in 2006 the chance of completing the full set is slim.Rember they started with Benjerman Franklin went to President Lincoln in 2009 and then Teddy Roosevelt.After that came the presidents with the reverse proof coins.So you can see what. mintage and a new coin can do to a collected panic buying.

  2. Bob says:

    I would love to have the reverse proof dollar coins…but the price including the silver is just too high for me to participate…especially when multiples are being released each year.

    As for mintage limits and such, I wish they would just sell to meet demand and let the market sort out the value after time has run out and no more are listed for sale. Things seem to be getting out of hand…

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