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Buyers love Kennedy

The Mint says that buyers of the 50th anniversary Kennedy two-coin clad half dollar set have taken 68,974 in less than 24 hours from the beginning of sales at noon Eastern time yesterday. Price is $9.95.

While the total might not compare with initial orders of proof silver Eagles, it is darn strong.

Demand is so high it has exhausted supply on hand and the Mint has already posted a notice on its website that prospective buyers will now have to wait until Sept. 7 for shipping to begin.

At this stage it is hard to separate demand for the set due to popularity with collectors and demand due to the speculative motive to get early release labels from the grading services.

Any orders today presumably will not get an early release a designation and that motive is therefore removed.

Over the next several days we will see if the numbers ordered drop like a rock from here or whether collectors are genuinely drawn to a set of clad coins that use the 1964 portrait done by Gilroy Roberts.

The original portrait will forever distinguish these coins from regular 2014 Kennedy half dollars sold in bags and rolls and other sets.

Even without the early release labels, any sales amount up to several hundred thousand will set these coins apart and establish a permanent premium price.

Somewhere over 250,000 sets is probably the threshold where a permanent price premium would begin to slip. That is 500,000 coins with half coming from Philadelphia and half from Denver.

The half million number is roughly 20 percent of the total number of 2014 Kennedy half dollars buyers have purchased from the Mint in the form of two-roll sets and 200-coin bags. To be precise, the total number of 2014 Kennedy half dollars purchased in the form of bags and rolls stands at 2,636,280 coins distributed as 23,312 two-roll sets and 8,519 200-coin bags.

It will be interesting to see if the Kennedy sets sales continue to be strong. There is a five-set-per-household order limit in effect.

Soon all attention will be turned to the gold Kennedy to go on sale Aug. 5.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."