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Good gold idea can be made better

While we are all still digesting the problems with the U.S. Mint’s offer of 1964-2014 proof gold Kennedy half dollar at the American Numismatic Association World Money Fair held last week in Rosemont, Ill., I would like to point out one important factor to consider.

Everyone agrees that such offers should be of benefit to average collectors as much as possible given the constraints of law and custom governing the behavior the Mint and the ANA itself.

One thing that would go a very long way to mitigating the outrage of average individuals would be some good old advance planning.

When the Mint announced that the gold coin would be sold at the opening of the convention, I put it in the issue of Numismatic News that we were working on. The cover date was July 1.

Most readers get the issue in the week leading up to the cover date. By then it is too late for them to plan to attend an ANA convention.

Companies usually ask employees to put in their vacation time in advance. It can be difficult to change.

Collectors have to clear their travel decisions with their families. They cannot just rush off – though some can.

They have to make hotel and airline reservations.

Finally, they need to make their funds available for the event.

ANA also needs advance word to do a proper job of planning for such an event

The organization did a bang-up job in view of the circumstances handed to it.

Bourse dealers who are very concerned about their security will come prepared.

Grading services can announce what special labels they will offer.

We live in the Internet age and that means many people think everything can be handled on the spur of the moment. This is not true.

Major conventions and major coin offers should be planned ahead.

I am not asking the Mint to have all particulars nailed down today for a year in advance, but a simple announcement that next year’s ANA convention will feature a special coin offer from the U.S. Mint will allow the largest number of collectors to make the most informed decisions possible about whether they want to attend or whether they will stay home and buy the coin online.

Such an announcement will not assure everyone of a coin if the offer turns out to be hugely popular, but it gives everyone a sense that he or she had a chance.

Advance planning of this kind would go a long way to calming frazzled nerves and frustration.

The gold Kennedy was a great idea. It had problems, but it was a great idea.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."