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Mint cuts silver Kennedy set goal

Lagging four-coin silver Kennedy set sales have apparently convinced the Mint to scale back its mintage ceiling of 300,000.

Late yesterday the Mint announced that the maximum set mintage for the 50th anniversary set will be no more than 225,000.

That is a cut of 25 percent.

Of course, if no one is interested in buying 300,000 sets, it is not really a cut, but a recognition of how the program is unfolding.

Early this month I observed in a blog that the pace of sales was running such that I could not see the Mint selling even its 190,000 set supply that was ready to ship the day sales opened Oct. 28.

I had penciled in a figure of 170,000 sold by the end of the year.

That might still be the case, but it looks less likely as the Mint also announced that as of Nov. 24 total sales stood at 165,824.

This is a leap of 21,252 in a week.

It represents a significant rejuvenation from the lackadaisical pace set in the prior two weeks, which together did not even add up to 21,252.

Just for reference, after an initial sales surge at the start that took sales to 85,670, weekly sales numbers for additional sets sold ran 39,477, 12,655 and 6,770.

You can see the deceleration.

Obviously, the sales surge in this latest week means there is new life in the old dog yet.

Will it continue?

It could.

Our tradition of holiday gift giving can still give the set a boost.

Collectors who have been sitting on the fence unwilling to play the early release game could decide that this is a keepsake set worth having.

Even collectors who view 300,000 sets as too many might be tempted by a set with a maximum mintage of 225,000.

We will see.

It is nice to know that sales are not completely predictable.

With roughly six weeks left in the year, the weekly sales pace will have to average almost 10,000 between now and the end of the year to reach the 225,000.

That would be easy if this week’s lively pace continues, less so if the slowdown of earlier weeks resumes.

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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."