The Days of Cheap Raw Moderns are Over.
I was recently referring to the broad based strength in moderns on another thread;
Today I saw a buy list for nice mint sets that listed some of the Ike years at $8 per set. This is more than a $4 premium to face value for the same sets that went for no premium just a year or two ago. It was possible until now to buy sets and find a few really nice coins with little outlay of cash but if you're paying a $4 premium then something like a '76 type I Ike will cost you nearly $1000 in sets just to find a nice Gem. Sure they'll be other nice coins and lots of BU rolls to help defray your costs but it's no longer something that can be done on the cheap.
There are no BU rolls of clads except what comes from mint sets and it has become prohibitively expensive to search sets. This will have two effects in the short run: It will cause an explosive increase in the prices of BU rolls and it will cause a severe tightening of the market for high grades. This might not mean much higher prices for top grades because these markets are a different dynamic but it will severely restrict the supply of fresh coins coming from the graders. It's possible that there will be enough coins in storage to negate some of this restriction and the number of coins submitted may not fall off nearly so much as the number of very high grades falls off. Obviously if these prices stick then sets will come out of the woodwork but several reasons exist that this increase supply will be barely visible.
As many as 75% of some dates of mint sets are already destroyed and most of the coins put into circulation.
Large percentages of surviving sets have tarnish that is unacceptable to buyers.
Many of the sets in dealer inventory are cherry picked now days.
Any substantial increase in price will have a greatly outsized effect on demand. ie- increasing prices of collectibles tends to cause more demand rater than less. This is especially likely with clad coins because to date there is very very little demand and the common wisdom is that buying mint and proof sets is just "dead money". If prices increase it will be proof that supply has finally fallen to even lower levels than the demand. Most 1964 to date nickels are scarcer in BU than the '50-D yet you can buy them by the roll for less than the '50-D if you can find them.
I guess we'll see.
Don't expect to see many of these sets walking into coin shops if the prices stay up. Much of the activity will be at the wholesale level which is where most of the available sets are.