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Sales of new JFK half-dollar coin halted after crowds get rowdy

Although cocollectors waiting long lines buy new John F. Kennedy gold half dollar Rosemont this week were civil orderly crowds

Although coin collectors waiting in long lines to buy the new John F. Kennedy gold half dollar in Rosemont this week were civil and orderly, crowds got rowdy at other locations around the country. The U.S. Mint halted sales on Thursday, effectively saying: If you can’t play well with others, you can’t play at all. | U.S. Mint photo

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Updated: August 8, 2014 9:36AM



Although coin collectors waiting in long lines to buy the new John F. Kennedy gold half dollar in Rosemont this week were civil and orderly, crowds got rowdy at other locations around the country. The U.S. Mint halted sales on Thursday, effectively saying: If you can’t play well with others, you can’t play at all.

“It’s better to err on the side of caution,” said Jake Sherlock, spokesman for the American Numismatic Association, which hosted the World’s Money Fair at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont this week. The group is dedicated to the study and collection of money.

Between 1,000 and 1,500 people lined up overnight at the convention center Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for the chance to buy one of 500 coins sold each day. The cost: $1,240.

There were no major incidents, but there was chaos at at least one of the three other locations where the new coins were being sold, Sherlock said.

In addition to offering the coins at a booth in Rosemont, the U.S. Mint was selling them at facilities in Denver, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Demand outweighed supply at all locations.

The Kennedy half-dollar was first minted in 1964; Kenned was assassinated in 1963.

Sherlock suspected some of the trouble originated with folks jockeying for position, especially those who were paid to wait in line.

Others buyers were looking to make a quick buck by reselling the coin right away at a higher price, he said.

The coins will no longer be available for sale at all locations, including Rosemont, on Friday, although online sales continue.

“If you buy them online, you might not see them for a couple weeks,” Sherlock said. “People want to be the first to have them in their hands.”

Email: mdudek@suntimes.com

Twitter: @mitchdudek



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