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Viewpoint: Gold Kennedy half won’t be rare

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By William H. Brownstein

The 2015 North American Coins & Prices is the perfect all-in-one guide for the coin collector, dealer and enthusiast. Purchase your copy here!

The 2015 North American Coins & Prices is the perfect all-in-one guide for the coin collector, dealer and enthusiast.Purchase your copy here!

Reference is made to my Viewpoint article published in the July 2, 2013 edition of Numismatic News, in which I opined that off-metal strikes and piedfort issues of regular issues should be made available for the public to enjoy.

One opposition to that suggestion was published by M. Lewis Teller, a noted dealer in foreign coins, in the Aug. 5, 2013 Viewpoint article, in which he agreed overall with my opinions in my article with one notable exception in which he stated that “when it comes to preparing off-metal strikes, piedforts and other coins of this nature, it would be cheapening the U.S. numismatic brand”.

With the issuance of the three-quarter ounce .9999 gold 2014 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy half dollar, the Mint has decided to issue what for all intents and purposes appears to be an off-metal strike of a regular issue coin, this time the Kennedy one-half dollar, showing the original 1964 High Relief image of President Kennedy and the reverse shows the original nominal value of 50 cents.

I ordered the coin online the first day of issue, and I was pleased with the way the ordering process was handled, and having received the coin on Aug. 14, upon opening the Mint-sealed box I found that the coin exceeded my expectations and that it is absolutely gorgeous.

Unfortunately, with the sales during the first week ending Aug. 10 of 62,341, apparently I’m not the only one that bought this coin during the first week of issue.

Whether the Mint will limit the issue to a specified period, for which there is precedent, or whether it will issued in limited quantities, for which there is also precedent, only time will tell.

I believe that after the initial enthusiasm over this issue subsides that the price will be more related to its intrinsic value, as was the case with the First Spouse gold commemoratives, and the 1996 1-ounce gold proof, both of which initially carried a substantial premium and which, after the initial enthusiasm over the issue subsided the prices were more closely related to their bullion content. This might not be a bad thing since the price of gold is low now compared to the projections it will exceed $2,000 an ounce. It may turn out in the long run to be a good investment. Also, if it is eligible for an Individual Retirement Account that may also affect its value.

There is precedent for mints reissuing a prior design in the case of Australia $200 gold piece, KM #71, first issued in 1980 and again issues in 1983 and 1984, but that in my opinion, impairs the numismatic rarity of what otherwise would be a one-year issue. Suffice it to say that these coins, like the 2009 commemorative $20 1-ounce double thickness gold piece were never intended for circulation and part of their allure is the fact that they are one-year issues and therefore the supply is limited, adding to their perceived rarity. Although the Aug. 14 issue of Numismatic News mentions that in an Aug. 7 interview, Deputy Mint Director Richard Peterson mentioned that in the works for 2015 is another high relief gold coin, as long as that isn’t a restrike of the 2009 gold piece, possibly the regular diameter 1907 High Relief $20 gold piece, I applaud that idea. The High Relief 1907 $20 gold piece is outside of most collectors’ ability to buy. If a 2015 one-year issuance of that coin is made it will definitely be a winner.

In reality, the modern precious metal issues from the world mints are just collector coins and they not intended for circulation. Limiting the design of commemorative or special issue coins to one year only adds to their desirability, rarity, scarcity and potential aftermarket appreciation.

In my opinion reissuing a commemorative coin in a future year after the initial run has expired doesn’t do anything in the long run and can, as in the case of countries such as Isle of Man, Gibraltar, the Cook Islands, Australia and Canada, to name a few, flood the market with so many issues that for all intents and purposes they are not widely collected and the aftermarket value of those items is serious impaired.

Let the Mint limit the number of issues, leave the commemoratives to a one-year issue, keep the number of items manageable and keep the interest in this wonderful hobby for this and future generations and let the free enterprise system of supply and demand dictate the value of the Mint issues.

William H. Brownstein is a hobbyist from Santa Monica, Calif.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to

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