What we didn’t know before we asked, and what now is quite clear, is that the three services used different standards as to what constituted an “ANA coin”.
One can get into the argument whether labels for modern coins bring extra value to collectible coins. That’s not the subject of this piece, but will be covered in depth in two weeks by CoinWeek writers Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, who actually defend the practice. The issue is providing accurate information as to the criteria each service used to designate JFK coins as “ANA coins” so both dealers and collectors know what they are both buying and selling.
Since it is impossible to differentiate which JFK coins in PCGS “Chicago 2014” holders were actually sold at the ANA, there can be no direct “apples to apples” comparison of the Population numbers. It will be equally difficult to understand or make any comparison of the Mint Location First Day of Issue Populations since all the coins above 1,500 in the category of ANA coins (presently at 613) had to have come from the various mint locations, thus reducing to an unknown extent the number of First day issue coins.
How this information will be processed and if it has any effect on the markets and prices for these coins is unknown at this time. The facts and numbers however speak for themselves and hopefully aid collectors and dealers with both price discovery and added transparency.
“Good for Numismatics”
David Hendrickson spoke with CoinWeek’s David Lisot on the first day of the World’s Fair of Money. He said that the release of the Kennedy Gold Proof was “good for Numismatics”.
Hendrickson partnered with Lipton to buy and certify hundreds of coins.
Hendrickson submitted his batch to NGC, while Lipton’s cache was graded by PCGS. Hendrickson’s company SilverTowne sells coins nationwide online and through its television program The Coin Vault.
It was a Coin Vault customer that paid a reported $100,000 for the coin designated “First Coin Sold” by PCGS. PCGS also numbered coins two through six.
Additionally, Hendrickson’s group is said to have resold the first coins sold at Philadelphia, Denver, and Washington, D.C.. Prices as high as $75,000 have been quoted. Hendrickson said the numbers were much lower, although he didn’t say what they were. An industry insider tells us the number was likely $45,000.
ANA Governor Laura Sperber called Lipton and Hendrickson out for selling a coin that “in six months you [won’t] find even one dealer who would step out and offer to buy one for $10,000″.
We asked a group of modern dealers what they’d pay for the coin. Most demurred, saying “that’s not really my market”. Although more than one admitted that they’d pay $10,000 and hope they could sell it for $30,000 or $40,000 online, since the coin has a pedigree.
Still, the expectation of a 60% haircut on a coin that’s been in collectors’ hands for less than a month is indicative of skepticism in the marketplace about the true value of these “first sold” coins, and, to a lesser extent, coins with show-graded labels.
But there is some evidence that the labels do hold their value, especially when populations are low. Whether the “issues” regarding the “Chicago 2014” coins affect public perception remains to be seen, but the fact that the grading services have added excitement and an immediate secondary market for new U.S. Mint releases cannot be denied.
Modern Coins Overtaking Classics
The original Boy Scout merit badge featured an Ancient coin. That design eventually gave way to the Washington quarter.
When one looks at the coin market and the broader industry, one might notice that modern coins are becoming the most important segment. Not for their great rarity or even for the quality of their designs, but because they are accessible, easy to acquire, and abundant.
So if you’re a budding coin collector in 2014, odds are you own more Silver Eagles than bust halves; more modern proof sets than classic gold.
Ultimately, it comes down to dealer ethics and self-policing, and collectors educating themselves before they make a purchase.
“One can criticize the labels, if they want, but the modern market should not be defined by labels, but by the coins themselves, because, ultimately it is the coins that have captured collector interest… and that interest is growing,” says Mitch Spivack.
But it’s still the label on the holder that turns a $1240 retail coin into a $100,000 collectible.
Yet even under this scenario, that $100,000 coin required more than a clever sales pitch. It required a willing buyer. A buyer who, we hope, knew what he or she was getting into when they wrote the check.
Oh, and one more thing.
Another big event occurred at the ANA Convention. Stack’s Bowers auctioned off an 1804 dollar, the “King of American Coins“. Twenty or even 10 years ago this would’ve been the biggest story in American Numismatics.
To paraphrase the famous line: Yes Virginia, there is a modern coin market, and it’s not going away.
 Personal email correspondence from John Maben to CoinWeek. 11 August 2014.
 “Mint suspends sale of JFK gold coin at retail centers after crowd trampled in Denver morning rush: 7NEWS finds some in line paid to be there.” ABC7 News Denver, Colorado. 8 August 2014. (http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/mint-suspends-sale-of-jfk-gold-coin-at-retail-centers-after-crowd-trampled-in-denver-morning-rush08082014)
 Telephone conversation with Mitch Spivack. 15 August 2014.
 “Dealers Pay Homeless To Stand In Line For Gold Collector’s Coin.” CBS4 News. Denver, Colorado. 5 August 2014. (http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/08/05/dealers-pay-homeless-to-stand-in-line-for-gold-collectors-coin/)
 Telephone conversation with Mitch Spivack. 15 August 2014.
 Telephone conversation with Kevin Lipton. 13 August 2014.
 Telephone conversation with ANA Governor Mike Ellis. 13 August 2014.
 Conversation with Walter Ostromecki, Jr. 13 August 2014.
 http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Philly_mint_mobbed_by_JFK_coin_seekers.html. Web. Accessed 18 August 2014.
 https://www.coinweek.com/category/bullion-report/. Web. Accessed 8 August 2014.
 eBay. Web. Accessed 18 August 2014.
 http://www.hsn.com/products/2014-pr69-50th-anniversary-99-gold-kennedy-half-dollar/7592617. Web. Accessed 18 August 2014.
 Personal email correspondence from Don Willis to CoinWeek. 20 August 2014.
 https://www.coinweek.com/featured-news/first-coins-sell-5000-piece-gold-kennedy-coin-early-story-ana/. Web. Accessed 18 August 2014.
 https://www.coinweek.com/commentary/opinion/fools-gold-jfk-coin/. Web. Accessed 18 August 2014.
 Holders that hold their value, include: ANA 2013 Gold Buffalos and 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame “First Pitch” / “Baltimore”.
2014 Kennedy Gold Coins and Collecting Supplies Currently Available on eBay