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Create Kennedy half set next year

We seem to be in a season of reverse proofs. We have the reverse proof 2013-W American Eagle in the West Point set and we will have a reverse proof gold Buffalo one-ounce coin in August.

Reverse proofs are special. They mark special events.

The American Eagle commemorates the 75th anniversary of the West Point Mint while the Buffalo will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the James Earle Fraser nickel design.

This might be a good time to think ahead to next year when the Kennedy half dollar celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Something special should be done to mark the occasion.

How about a special set of Kennedy half dollars?

The Mint could strike proof, reverse proof and enhanced uncirculated Kennedy half dollars on 90 percent silver planchets and do the same on clad planchets. This would create a special six-coin collector set.

And why not do something especially daring and add regular Mint State coins to the set? With one from Philadelphia and one from Denver, that would make an eight-coin set.

Some creative marketing could go with it.

Over three decades I have listened to many marketers forecast how many commemorative coins they were going to sell to the general public. These forecasts, which always involved high number, were simply pipe dreams.

The Kennedy half dollar might be the opportunity to either make such forecasts a reality or disprove them once and for all.

Those of us who lived through the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination have the event seared in our memories.

Where were we when we heard the terrible news?

If you are old enough, you know what I mean.

This strong sense of time and place is felt by collectors and noncollectors alike.

A tasteful appeal to it might just be the approach required to actually attract noncollectors to buy the coins.

If the individual coins in the set are also sold separately, the Mint could find attractive price points for a national audience.

When the half dollar originally was released in 1964 there were many commercial promotions using the new coin. I happen to have one in a special memorial card.

I did not need the coin and card, but my parents thought I should have it anyway as a keepsake despite the fact I had acquired other coins at the local bank on the day they were released.

I am sure the Mint could create something that would be a fitting anniversary observance and also a successful special program.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."