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Kennedy silver set further behind

I asked a question last week when gold and silver seemed to be in free fall as to whether this negative price trend was influencing the purchasing decisions of collectors relative to the 50th anniversary silver Kennedy half dollar set.

Nobody rushed to send me an email to explain their purchase decisions, so I have no evidence other than the coincidence of the bullion decline and the lackadaisical sales levels of the silver set.

Gold and silver price levels have stabilized since that blog was posted Nov. 5, but another week of product sales data from the U.S. Mint shows that the rate of sales of the Kennedy silver set is falling even faster than I forecast.

Sales the week ending Nov. 9 came it at an additional 12,655, bringing the ongoing total to 137,802.

I expected sales to come in at around 145,000 at this point, meaning approximately 8,000 fewer sets were sold than in my projection.

Since my projection figured the Mint would be stuck with around 20,000 unsold sets by the end of the year from its original supply of 190,000, I will have to revise that unwanted supply higher.

Instead of selling 170,000 sets, it now looks like the number can fall as low as 151,000, leaving the Mint with 39,000 extra at the end of the year.

At that point, it will have to decide what to do with them. Melt them or keep sales open longer?

Perhaps a rush of holiday gift buyers will yet put silver Kennedy set sales back on the original track, but I wouldn’t count on it.

This is something like hoping a Hail Mary pass will win the big game for the home team when they are down.

Teams do win games that way. Collectors do buy Christmas gifts. But in both situations, it is a faint hope.

And as to whether collectors were put in a less receptive mood to make the purchase of this Kennedy set, I will simply leave it there as one possible explanation for their current behavior.

This morning Kitco has reported gold trading at $1,158 an ounce and silver at $15.62.

The silver price is not likely to excite anyone to buy the set before the price goes up.

If anyone cares at this point, the maximum sales level the Mint said that it would honor is 300,000.

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."