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Time for half measures?

This is the 50th anniversary year of the Kennedy half dollar. I expect the series will make many headlines and collectors will enjoy the spotlight focused on it.

For many of us, it will be a trip down memory lane.

However, that does not mean the avid collectors of Kennedy half dollars of the last 49 years will take a backseat this year.

They are here and they are active in the hobby.

I had a inquiry from one such active collector.

He noted that in the weekly Mint Statistics page of "Numismatic News" that 31,463 two-roll sets of the 2013 coins have been sold as well as 9,981 200-coin bags.

He also noted that it has been reported that the Mint has struck 9.6 million half dollars in 2013.

These numbers should balance. They don’t. What gives?

If you take the 31,463 two-roll set number and multiply it by the 80 coins in each set, you arrive at a figure of 1,702,160.

If you multiply the 9,981 bag amount by the 200 coins in each bag, you come up with a figure of 1,996,200.

Add the two together and the figure is the number of Kennedy half dollars sold to collectors. That number is 3,698,360. (Coins is sets are accounted for differently.)

The difference between this number and 9.6 million is nearly 6 million coins.

What has happened? The collector insisted the numbers should balance, so something must be wrong, or I should have already provided the explanation.

I like passion in a coin collector. I like communicating with someone who cares and pays attention.

I told him I would ask the Mint. I have.

I was told that the Mint struck more half dollars late in 2013 because it had received an order for the denomination from the Federal Reserve.

That, I am sure, was as much a surprise to the Mint as it is to me.

The denomination has been dormant since 2002. Coins are made only for collectors.

What could the Federal Reserve be thinking?

Apparently it wasn’t. After the order was placed, it was cancelled. The Mint has nearly 6 million coins on hand that collectors are not likely to want unless they are shipped them out at face value much as Presidential dollar coins were earlier in the series.

Will the Mint do something like that?

Like the Perils of Pauline cliff-hangers of silent movie days, collectors will have to come back again to learn the exciting conclusion.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."