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Mining the Kennedy gold

The lines are getting longer as potential buyers gather for a shot at purchasing the valuable proof gold Kennedy half dollars being sold at the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill.

At 10:15 p.m. yesterday, the number of people waiting overnight for a chance to get a gold coin was already greater than the number that had gathered for the second day's offering of 500 coins.

Today the third tranche of 500 coins will be sold by the Mint. The growing numbers of available coins is already weighing on the market.

The coins issued on the first day are holding their values because nearly all of them will have a label from a third-party grading service attesting to the fact that they are the first coins sold.

Coins sold on the second day of the ANA convention have no such appeal and coins to be sold today on the third day will have even less.

SilverTowne's David Hendrickson said last night that the buyers paying more than $3,000 for coins that sold for $1,240 at the U.S. Mint's booth had run out of money and had left the market..

This, he said, could bring the Thursday price of a raw coin down to as little as $2,000.

Hendrickson, as owner of the very first coin sold by the Mint at the convention, he had the very happy problem of assessing what its value might be. Numbers have been thrown around that would make anyone gasp. The coin might bring as much as $100,000.

Who would be a buyer at that price, I do not know. But we will find out next week when it is offered for sale.

Overall, the first day's sales of the gold Kennedy was over 56,000. The Mint had 40,000 to start with, so buyer's of the last 16,000 will have to wait as the Mint strikes more of the coins. Ultimate mintage might be over 100,000.

Most of the purchases were made at the Mint's website online.

At ANA, the 500-a-day sales pace will continue through the end of the show on Saturday.

What will the price of a raw coin be by Saturday, the fifth day of gold Kennedy sales? I don't know, but it might be low enough that it won't be worth spending Friday night standing outside the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.