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Fizz goes out of Kennedy set

It is still possible this morning to buy a John F. Kennedy Coin and Chronicles set on the Mint website for its issue price of $57.95.

How many possible buyers are left, especially when they know that prices for the set on the secondary market are plunging from last week's high?

A rapid sellout did not happen.

In less than five hours buyers pushed the sales figure to 44,563 Sept. 16.

This left only 5,437 sets to be taken of the maximum 50,000 the Mint can make available.

It looked like a sure sellout.

By the end of the accounting day Sept. 16, the number moved up to 45,613.

Twenty-four hours later on Sept. 17 sales stood at 47,607.

It took three more days to move up to 48,462, up 855.

If this increase was evenly spaced, buyers were taking 285 sets a day.

That left 1,538 to go.

At 285 a day, it would take us to some time on Sept. 26 to reach the 50,000 sellout goal.

But has even that slow pace continued?

The next Mint sales figure will tell us.

Buyers of Mint offers tend to bunch up early even for offers where speculation is not a part of the equation. They do not tend to spread their purchases evenly over time.

How are they behaving now that the momentum and excitement are gone from the Kennedy offer?

With so few sets left it is hard to imagine that all of them will not be sold, yet the lesson taught by the High Relief $100 gold piece is that sales can crest short of a sellout and then actually go backwards as disappointed buyers do whatever it takes to get out of their commitments to their purchases.

What looked like a sure sellout last week has now gone cold and is anything but sure.

What we can probably believe with confidence is that any sets sold by the Mint today are going to collectors who actually want to keep them rather than flip them for profit.

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

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