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Working the angles?

Are you thinking about buying the Lyndon B. Johnson Coin and Chronicles Set when it goes on sale at noon Eastern Daylight Time on Tuesday?

There are more than just a few potential buyers who would like to see the Coin and Chronicles Set feeding frenzy of the past summer reignited.

I ask the question this morning to give you the weekend to think about it.

I find myself in a loop of circular logic.

Price of the set is $57.95.

This cost means something if you are a collector.

If you think the set will sell out rapidly and you can double, triple or quadruple your money on the secondary market, the initial cost figure is meaningless.

But will it sell out?

I will be the first to admit that I called it wrong for the Kennedy set.

I really thought the 50,000 maximum was a no brainer and it would sell out rapidly as the prior two had.

True, that 50,000 figure was nearly triple the 17,000 maximum numbers for the Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower sets, but these sets sold out in 15 minutes. Surely in an hour the Kennedy set could do the same?

Well, it didn’t.

Had the Kennedy set been capped at 40,000, an hour would have been enough and we wouldn’t even be having a discussion of the pros and cons of the Johnson set. All systems would be set to go. Buyers would be counting down the hours until Tuesday, ready to pounce on the Johnson set.

But since it took more than two weeks for the sales window to close on Kennedy, the speculative atmosphere surrounding the Coin and Chronicles sets has diminished.

The mintage limit for the Johnson is half that of Kennedy at 25,000. The household order limit is the same at two sets.

Had the Johnson set been offered immediately after Eisenhower, another swift sellout would have been notched.

But because it follows the Kennedy offer, would-be buyers are going to be doing the math.

Precisely because they will be doing the math, doubts will rise in some minds.

Johnson is not Kennedy.

Demand will fall based on that obvious fact alone.

Trying to quantify what the differential should be between Johnson and Kennedy is at best guesswork.

Besides, numbers are not always the whole story.

With speculations, once the white hot heat of the temporary enthusiasm has cooled, it can be very difficult to warm up again.

Have speculators moved on to some other target, or have they just been lying low since Sept. 16 when the Kennedy set first went on sale?

We will find out on Tuesday.

It probably matters little what is actually in the set, but for those hobbyists who actually do want to collect it, there is a “P” mint reverse proof dollar, a .999 fine silver Presidential medal and the 1973 stamp that was issued after President Johnson died.

When all is said and done, it will probably come down to a decision based on what is often called a gut check.

My gut tells me that the Johnson set won't sell out on the first day.

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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