The enhanced uncirculated coin set sold out online in minutes yesterday.
That news flashed across the American Numismatic Association bourse floor in Denver.
It was dealer set-up time. No public was on the floor.
There also was a twist.
Word came nearly three hours before the sets were offered at the Mint's booth.
The noon Eastern starting time online was 10 a.m. in Denver.
That gave people time to plan.
Sets were scheduled to go on sale at 1 p.m at the convention.
First person in line was Rockie Herrera.
He had begun waiting two hours before the 1 p.m. sales time.
He had driven 19 hours from his California home in Fountain Valley.
He had arrived in Denver at midnight.
His motorhome was parked with permission at the Greeley Elementary School.
Herrera is an ANA volunteer.
He serves as a district representative.
The line stayed short for a long time.
Behind Herrera were a few dealers.
The public was not admitted to the floor until 12:30 p.m.
At that point, the line quickly grew to about 50 people.
I counted 47.
Mint officials were mum about how many sets they had on hand.
The most they would say was they had a lot.
Unlike online sales, a purchase limit was set.
It was 500.
At 1 p.m., sales opened.
Herrera stepped to the single cash register at the booth.
He bought 20.
Then he broke into a Rocky, the movie, victory pose.
The dealer behind him bought 500 sets.
Mint staff assured those present that they had carts to help big buyers wheel away their purchases.
Hour after hour, transactions were made.
Sets were wheeled away.
By 4:30, there was still a line. The Mint was still selling.
Pat Hynds, by then near the front of the line, said she had been waiting for three hours.
Then I engaged in conversation with a paper money dealer.
He said a friend had asked him to pick up a set
As he eyed the line, he said he would make his purchase the next day.
With that unspecified large number of sets, it seemed possible that he just might get it.