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Johnson set sells out

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Coin and Chronicles Set sold out yesterday.

There were no fireworks.

There were no complaints in my email inbox.

Compared to the three prior offers for Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy, the Johnson offer was as orderly as can be.

The sellout occurred 3 hours and 57 minutes after the set went on sale at noon Eastern Daylight Time, according to an official Mint statement.

What comes next?

First off, I must write that I was wrong when I forecast a lack of a sellout on the first day.

Now that I have that off my chest, I feel better.

Second, buyers will be wondering what kind of price will be established on the secondary market.

Already the price testing is occurring.

Raw sets can be ordered through Buy It Now offers on eBay for $99.99.

An enthusiastic seller was offering raw sets for $279.99 or best offer.

I expect the best offer will be considerably lower than the quoted price.

The Mint's issue price was $57.95 plus $4.95 for shipping and handling.

Those who choose to send the sets to third-party grading services will have to invest more money.

What will a set with a certified early release Proof-70 Johnson dollar go for?

For that answer we must wait.

The latest Coin and Chronicles Set also features a one-ounce silver Johnson Presidential medal.

This will also be graded following recent practice.

Clearly the Mint has found a sweet spot in it choice of 25,000 sets as the maximum number available.

This is up from the 17,000 figure for Truman and Eisenhower, but just half the 50,000 for Kennedy.

Incidentally, the Kennedy set went back on sale for a time yesterday. Apparently there were enough orders with invalid credit cards, or returns that the Mint had a small supply to re-offer.

In the course of four Coin and Chronicles Set offers in 2015, the Mint sold approximately 109,000 sets for $57.95 each for a gross of $6,316,550.

That number might seem like peanuts, but it has purchased the undivided attention of the average collector rather than bullion speculator.

Long-term, if the Mint can build on this interest, it might find a whole new lease on life to counter the sagging interest in traditional products like proof sets and mint sets.

What surprises will we get next year?

Mint marketers are busy working on it – I hope.

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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