Ask Coretta King and she'll tell you that Andy Young will be president before the end of this century. Ask Hamilton Jordan and he'll agree. Ask Andy Young, however, and he'll probably grin.

"She's continuing the dream tradition of her husband," Young said of Coretta King's long-range expectations. "I'd settle for mayor -- in fact, I'd settle for what I'm doing."

Last night, at least, what Andrew Young was doing was getting ready to help raise money for something he calls Young Ideas Inc. Appropriately, if not coincidentally, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who resigned in a furor a year ago over unauthorized meetings he held with the Palestine Liberation Organization, was riding the Good Ship Diplomat. t

What he's been doing for a living is writing a syndicated column, making speeches and earning $1 a year as the idea man for Young Ideas, a nonprofit organization he put togehter last fall to work on public-policy issues. He said people he worked with in civil rights still call on him for help, and the $25,000 in proceeds from last night's $100-a-person fund-raiser will go into, the group's $250,000 first-year operating budget.

There were big bucks represented on the guest list, like the Dunfey brothers of the hotel chain, and the John Hechingers of the hardware chain. But there were more big names than big money, like Mayor Marion Barry, Hamilton Jordan, Mary King and Peter Bourne, reps. Wyche Fowler Jr. (D-Ga.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Algerian Ambassador Redha Malek, Sudanese Ambassador Omer Eissa and Coretta Scott King, who said that she didn't have any money "but they think I have some influence."

King said she didn't have the impression that Andy Young is running for anything but that eventually the United States will "have to have a black president. I think of Andy as being the first."

There was a time when she thought he might make it in 1984, but now she's decided that's too soon. A Kennedy-Young ticket didn't seem to grab her if it meant Young would be cast in the No. 2 spot because "my feeling is that Andy is president timber. I do think it could come in this century, but it will depend on the course of the next four years."

Blue-blazered Hamilton Jordan, who's been keeping a low party profile but a high sartorial one around Washington of late, said he was making "an exception" on the Young Party because Young is "a personal friend." He seconded Coretta King's "nomination" of Young, saying he remembered watching Martin Luther King and Andy Young walking up the street of his hometown in Georgia years ago and thinking they were a "threat" to the way of life in the South.

"If you look ahead to the next 20 years, Andy in the White House is not all that unrealistic. He's certainly qualified," said Jordan.

For his part, Young ruled out as a "wild rumor" speculation that he will head the World Bank after Robert McNamara leaves -- "It's only interesting because it's so flattering."

And as for becoming a mayor, Young plans to live in Atlanta "and since I love Atlanta and I love politics, the two may get together."

"I'm still a politician," he said.