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Kennedy Set on Tap for 2014
By David C. Harper, Numismatic News
August 16, 2013

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Collectors will be treated to a 50th anniversary Kennedy half dollar set in 2014, Deputy Mint Director Richard Peterson told Numismatic News Aug. 13, the first day of the American Numismatic Association convention in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill.

Details have not yet been finalized, but the set will include coins from the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints and display their iconic mintmarks. The number of coins in the set and the types of finish used also have not been determined, but there likely will be a mixture of silver and clad coins. The Mint will be hosting focus groups to identify the most desirable components for the set.

The half dollar was rushed into production just weeks after the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination and was issued to the public beginning in March 1964.

The Kennedy half dollar is not the only standard issue coin that will see Mint attention. The regular annual proof set containing cents through dollar coins are about to get a big upgrade.

Starting in 2014 or 2015, Peterson said it was too early to know which year definitely, the proof coins will be produced with the new laser guided finishes. These can create up to eight layers of frosting. This new technology is the result of a decade of new investments made at the U.S. Mint.

He showed off the current 5-Star General proof silver dollar design. One coin was created the old way. The other was made the new way to illustrate the big improvement that will be coming to the proof sets.

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Even as he was looking forward to 2014, Peterson was enjoying the success of the sellout of 1,000 2013 reverse proof gold Buffalo coins put on sale at the Mint booth. “There’s a buzz in the room,” he noted.

He praised the ANA event as a must-attend convention.

“We’ve learned a big lesson here: funnel a key product launch at ANA.”

He said he got a wake-up call at the Philadelphia ANA convention last year. That’s where he learned that 2013 was the 100th anniversary of the famous James Earle Fraser Buffalo design. The reverse proof celebrates that centennial.

What might the next big thing be? What it won’t likely be is another silver American Eagle set. He indicated that it might be time to give it a rest.

The Mint is looking to bring back the one-ounce platinum American Eagle bullion coin.

“We might get back into the platinum business,” he said. “We’ve got feedback from customers saying there is a market.” He added that they were looking into establishing a supply chain for a renewal of the program.

Fractional ounce platinum coins will not return.

The ever popular silver American Eagle bullion coin continues to tax the Mint’s ability to find blanks.

He pointed out there has been an increase in the blank supply of 50,000 to 75,000 a week, that if demand holds up it will mean output this year could reach somewhere between 40 million and 45 million pieces.

But the date change issue was mentioned in light of the Mint’s running out of supply in January in the midst of record demand. The silver Eagle is still being allocated to the Mint’s Authorized Purchasers.

He expected the production shift to the 2014 date would occur around Thanksgiving.

“I’d love to go to market in 2014 with 10 million on the shelf in January,” but then acknowledged that in present demand conditions it was more likely that January would arrive “without much on the shelf.”

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