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Sets on the Internet. Don't be mislead by bargain prices as not
all Proof and Mint Sets are Choice, and you could very well be
substituting Quality for price.
Seeking so called "bargain prices" is a mistake that
is often made by the new collector that lacks the knowledge to
know the difference between a Choice Proof or Mint Set and one
that is substandard due to mishandling or improper storage over
the years. Unfortunately, this costly mistake is usually learned
by collector's when they try to sell their Proof or Mint Sets
and find out that instead of appreciating in value they went the
and Mint Sets As Gifts, Awards & Incentives
Proof and Mint Sets are a terrific Gift for all "Gift Giving"
occasions; Birthdays, Weddings, Anniversaries, Graduation Day,
Mother's or Father's Day, Bosses Day or for whatever reason you
have for giving a gift. Proof and Mint Sets are truly a Gift that
will be remembered long after that special occasion has passed
and the date on the coins will always be a reminder of that very
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Proof Set Information
United States Mint started producing Proof coins as early as
the 1850's. The term "Proof" refers to the method in which these
coins are manufactured and not the actual condition of the coin.
This special process of manufacturing involves specially selected
planchets (the blanks that the coins are struck from) as well
as dies that have been highly polished. The planchets are hand
fed into the press and special care is taken in the handling
and packaging of these Proof coins.
coins usually receive two strikes from the coin press which gives
them an increased sharpness in overall detail. Because the planchets
and dies were highly polished before striking the coin will also
have an extremely brilliant mirror-like surface. Some early Proof
coins will exhibit a frosted effect. These frosted Proofs are
highly sought after prizes to the serious collector and specialist
in Proof coins. In recent years Proof coins have purposely been
produced with a very strong cameo effect which gives them a mirror-like
field and a contrasting frosty effect on all the raised surfaces
of the coin.
Proof coins were available from the Mint, at a premium over their
face value, in the years in which they were minted. In 1936 the
Mint started offering Proof coins in complete sets, cent, nickel,
dime, quarter and half dollar. These sets originally sold for
$1.87 each. In 1942 there were some Proof Sets issued with two
nickels. The regular composition as well as the silver. The production
and sale of Proof Sets was suspended in 1943 and was not resumed
1936 till approximately mid 1955 all Proof Sets were issued in
small cardboard boxes in which the coins were housed in cellophane
envelopes. Most of the early Proof Sets have since been removed
from the cardboard boxes and the coins placed in a plastic holder
to protect them from tarnishing.
late 1955 until 1964 the Mint packaged Proof coins in a flat,
transparent cellophane package. These sets are referred to in
the industry as "flat packs." There were no Proof Sets issued
in 1965, 1966 or 1967. In these years the mint produced Special
Mint Sets. These coins are almost prooflike in appearance.
in 1968 the Mint switched the production of Proof Sets from the
Philadelphia facility to the San Francisco Mint. All of the Proof
Sets produced from 1968 will have the "S" Mintmark on each of
the coins. There are some coins that in error did not receive
the "S" Mintmark and these are very Rare and valuable. The packaging
was also changed in 1968 to a more rigid plastic case which has
gone through several design changes since then. For examples of
all the various ways in which Proof coins have been packaged by
the United States Mint since 1936 see our special Proof
Set Packaging page.
1960 and 1970 large-date and small-date (SD) sets are distinguished
by the size of the date on the cent. The 1976 three-piece set
contains the quarter, half dollar and dollar with the Bicentennial
design and they contain 40% silver. The 1975 and 1976 regular
issue Proof Sets also contain the quarter, half dollar and dollar
dated 1976 with the Bicentennial design but these coins are made
of a copper-nickel composition. The 1979 and 1981 Type II Proof
Sets have clearer Mintmarks than the Type I sets for those years
and are much scarcer and higher in price.
Proof Sets issued from 1936 to 1972 include the cent, nickel,
dime, quarter and half dollar. From 1973 till 1981 the dollar
was added and then removed from the sets in 1982. From our list
above of the various links to the Proof Set prices you will also
note that there are what is called Prestige Proof Sets. These
sets were first produced in 1983 and will also contain either
a Commemorative dollar or half dollar and dollar for that year.
The production of Prestige Proof Sets was suspended with the last
issue being 1997. There are also Silver Proof Sets starting in
1992. These sets will have a 90% silver dime, quarter and half
dollar. The Silver Premier sets are similar to the Silver Proof
Sets and differ only by being packaged in a more deluxe case.
Production of the Premier Silver Proof Sets were discontinued
1999 there was a major transformation in the packaging of Proof
Sets with the issuance of the 50 State Commemorative quarters.
Proof Sets were issued as a 9 coin set which comprised of 2 different
holders for the coins. One holder contains the cent, nickel, dime
and half dollar. The other holder has all 5 of the 50 State Commemorative
quarters issued for that year. You could also purchase just the
5 quarters separately if you choose.
Sets have always been a very popular part of numismatics. Some
collector's will collect one set of every year issued from 1936
to present date while others will start their collection with
the more affordable "flat pack" issues from 1955 and continue
on up to present day issues. Another popular way these sets are
collected is by various nostalgic years to commemorate a significant
occasion like an Anniversary, a Birth Year, Wedding Year or Graduation
the current year Proof Sets may be ordered from the United
States Mint, Customer Service Center, 10001 Aerospace Drive, Lanham,
MD 20706. Just send them a letter requesting to be put on
their mailing list and you will be notified as to the current
prices and deadline for ordering.
For More In Depth Information
On Proof Sets
Set Information 1936 - 1942
you ask me if I like Proof Sets the answer is yes. Do I have favorites?
I sure do. I am very partial to the sets issued from 1936 to 1942.
No, not because they are on the higher end of the scale price
wise, because that was not always the case. They are my favorites
because of the Mercury dime and the Walking Liberty half dollar.
Both of these coins in my opinion have very attractive designs
and are absolutely stunning coins in Proof condition. My opinion
about the Walking Liberty half dollar is also shared by a multitude
of collectors and this is the primary reason that the obverse
design of the U.S. Silver Eagle Dollar is so similar.
interesting facts about these early Proof Sets that too few people
have ever considered or perhaps are not even aware of. The Mintage
on each of these early sets is extremely low, especially the first
few years, as you can see from the mintage figures provided for
each date below. Total mintage for all the years combined is just
Set Mintage Figures
- 5 & 6 Coin Sets
early sets were originally shipped from the U.S. Mint in small
cardboard boxes wrapped in tissue paper. The coins were in individual
cellophane envelopes and were grouped together and stapled at
the top. A high percentage of the early sets that were left in
their original packaging developed problems over the years such
as carbon spots, stains and very unattractive discoloring. This
was due to the staple in the package rusting and the glue from
the envelopes causing a corrosive action where it made contact
with the coin.
that were removed from the original packaging and placed into
a plastic holder like the Capitol Plastic Proof Set holders held
up very well over the years and today are considered premium quality
sets. The problem sets, more often than not, were dipped into
chemical solutions, cleaned, and who knows what else, in a futile
attempt to try and improve on their overall condition. These inferior
sets will exhibit tell tale signs to the experienced dealer and
collector like detectable carbon spots even though they may have
been greatly reduced in size or nearly removed chemically. Excessive
hairline scratches from cleaning are also a dead giveaway to the
quality. Don't be fooled by bargain prices on these sets. Experienced
dealers are well aware of the difference in quality in these early
sets and are not about to sell a "Cadillac" at a "Chevy"
price unless the set has problems. If you believe that you will
get a superior quality set at a bargain price than I say don't
even bother buying it, perhaps the Easter Bunny will put one in
interesting fact is that there was only one year that the Silver
Wartime Jefferson Nickel was issued in Proof condition and that
was in the very last year (1942) that these sets were produced.
Production was suspended during the years of W.W.II. When production
of proof sets was resumed again in 1950 the Mercury dime was replaced
with the Roosevelt dime and the beautiful Walking Liberty half
dollar design gave way to the new Franklin half.
because of the scarcity of truly choice sets most often we only
have a very limited amount of these sets in stock at any one time,
a couple two or three different dates at most. Quite often when
we acquire these early sets we have standing orders and want list
to fill. Don't let that deter you as our inventory is constantly
changing and when you are ready to acquire these Rare sets it
is best to be on our waiting list ahead of time.
Set Information 1950 - 1964
Sets issued from 1950 to mid 1955 were packaged the same way
that the earlier sets from 1936 to 1942 were. The coins were
in individual cellophane envelopes, stapled together, wrapped
in tissue paper and placed into a cardboard box. These sets
are prone to the same environmental damage as those of 1936
to 1942 due to improper storage. Choice sets are considered
premium quality sets and inferior sets are seen advertised
at what appears to be bargain prices in various coin publications.
Choose wisely when you are ready to add these sets to your
late 1955 until 1964 the Mint packaged Proof coins in a flat,
transparent cellophane package. These sets are referred to
in the industry as "flat packs." This significant improvement
in packaging offered greater protection for the coins. The
early sets we offer from 1950 to mid 1955 will generally be
in plastic holders and will be Choice sets. Sets from 1955
flat pack to 1964 will be Choice sets and in the original
Mint packaging as issued.
you have been comparing the mintage figures on the early proof
sets from 1936 to 1942 you can see a steady growth in the
quantity of Proof Sets produced. These increases were due
to new collector activity along with speculation. Back in
the "old days" if it made sense to have one it made
more sense to have quantity. There was a 243% increase in
production of the 1950 set compared to that of the 1942 set.
1950 to 1951 showed a modest increase of 11% while the 1953
set over the 1952 jumped by 157%. By 1956 the numbers were
starting to skyrocket with an unbelievable quantity produced
that year of over half a million sets. To be more exact there
were a whopping 669,384 sets minted only to be dwarfed the
following year with total production of 1,247,952 of the 1957
Proof Sets which is a 186% increase.
1958 speculation had subsided considerably as many a speculator
went walking with large quantities of 1957 Proof Sets in hand.
The issue price on the 1957 Proof Set was $2.10 and if you
were able to get $1.50 per set by year's end you were very
lucky. Running gun-shy in 1958 the speculators shied away
that year and mintage figures fell to 875,652 sets. Wow! a
sleeper set. Collectors and speculators were caught by surprise.
This sparked renewed speculation and by 1959 we were off and
running full steam ahead "once again" with mintage
figures getting larger and larger each year.
1960 there was a change in the dies which produced what is
known as the 1960 Large Date and the 1960 Small Date sets.
The difference is distinguishable on the cent with these characteristics;
On the small date set the top of the "1" in the
date is even with the "9" and the "0"
is small and round. On the large date set the "1"
in the date is a tad taller than the "9" and the
"0" is slightly larger and oval in shape.
Set Information 1968 - 1979
production of Proof Sets was suspended by the U.S. Mint in 1965,
1966, and 1967. During those years the Mint did however produce
what is referred to as Special Mint Sets (SMS.) These can be found
under our listing for Mint Sets. Proof coins and Proof Sets from
the earliest years and continuing through 1964 were always a product
of the Philadelphia Mint with the exception in some very rare
instances where a special branch Mint Proof coin was issued. In
1968 the production of Proof Sets was resumed and became one of
the functions of the newly refurbished San Francisco Mint which
had been closed from 1956 till 1967. Proof coins from the San
Francisco Mint will bear the "S" Mint mark. There are
some coins that in error did not receive the "S" Mintmark and
these are very Rare and valuable.
The packaging of Proof Sets was also changed in 1968 to a more
rigid plastic case in a blue cardboard box. This type of packaging
lasted until 1972. Sets issued from 1973 through 1979 are in a
similar plastic case with an added front cover which folds back
into a stand. These sets were shipped in black boxes.
1970 there was a minor change in the die which produced a small
date and a large date which is distinguishable only on the cent.
The small variety has a higher "7" in the date which
puts the top of the "7" even with the "0."
The large variety has a lower "7" which gives the appearance
that the "0" is taller than the "7." A much
easier way to distinguish between the two types is that on the
small date variety the word "Liberty" is somewhat blurred
or poorly struck compared to the large date variety which is very
sharp and clear.
Eisenhower dollar was added to the sets issued from 1973 to 1978
and replaced with the Susan B. Anthony dollar for the years of
1979, 1980 and 1981. The quarter, half dollar and dollar in the
1975 set are of the Bicentennial design and are dated 1976. There
were two different sets issued in 1976. A three piece Bicentennial
set which has a 40% silver quarter, half dollar and dollar, and
the regular 6 piece set with the Bicentennial design on the 25c,
50c and $1.00 coins. In 1979 an improvement was made in the stamping
of the Mint mark which produced two types of sets. The 1979 S
TI and the 1979 S TII. The Mint mark on the Type I sets looks
like a blob whereas the Mint mark on the type II sets are very
clear and distinct. This change was made on all 5 denominations
you have been following mintage figures (which can be found on
the pages with our retail prices) you will note that the amount
of sets produced are fairly consistent across the board for the
sets issued from 1969 to 1979 with the exception of the 1976 regular
issue Bicentennial set. This consistency in the mintage figures
do not represent a stagnant rate of growth in the hobby but rather
the Mints capacity to produce sets. In the early days of ordering
Proof Sets from the Mint there were no limits as to how many you
could order. Somewhere along the line limits were imposed and
I can not remember in just what year. I do remember that at first
it was limited to 20 sets and if memory serves me right that was
soon changed to 5 sets per order. So, the speculator who wanted
a larger quantity of sets over the minimum allowed now had to
odder 5 sets under various names like R. A. Jones, R. Jones, Mr.
R. Jones etc. It was not uncommon for some individual's to place
orders for their cousins, nieces, nephews, parents and grand parents
and the family pet. Names were never screened by the Mint as to
the mailing address.
Set Information 1980 - 1989
1980 and 1981 packaging was once again changed on the proof sets
to a rigid plastic cases with a slide off backing plate that doubled
as a stand. These sets are in black boxes. In 1981 there was a
change in the dies used to stamp the Mint mark into the coin which
produced a Type I and a Type II set. The distinguishing factors
in the type II Mint mark is that it has a clear field inside and
around the "S" and that the profile on top of the "S"
is completely flat and well frosted. The Type II sets (with all
5 coins being of the type II variety) are externally Scarce. It
is somewhat difficult to distinguish the two different types without
Sets of 1983 and 1984 were packaged similar to those of 1968 to
1972 including the blue box containing the set. The color of the
box was changed to purple from 1985 to 1993. Other than the 1981
Type I and Type II sets the only other change in Proof Sets was
the introduction of the Prestige Proof Sets in 1983. These are
sets that in addition to the regular coins issued in the Proof
Sets, cent through half dollar, they also include either a Commemorative
dollar or half doll and dollar for that year. Prestige Proof Sets
were issued from 1983 to 1997 and than were discontinued because
of lack of popularity with the collectors.
figures on the Proof Sets issued from 1980 to 1989 range from
a low of 2,411,180 on the 1986 set to a high of 4,063,083 for
the 1981. With the exception of the 1986 most all sets are relatively
close in comparison mintage wise give or take a few hundred thousand
sets. The reason that the 1981 set a record mintage was because
of the runaway inflation of 1979 and 1980 caused coin prices to
skyrocket which brought in tens of thousands of new collectors
and high speculation for the period of time.
Set Information 1990 to Present
sets from 1990 to 1998 are identical in packaging with the exception
that in 1994 the box that the sets are in changed from purple
to a rich looking green. 1999 required another change yet as now
the complete set is comprised of 9 coins. The sets came in two
rigid plastic holders. One has the cent, nickel, dime and half
dollar. The other holder has the first 5 of the new Statehood
quarters. The 1999 sets were made available to collectors both
as a 9 coin set and a 5 coin set of just the quarters. The box
they are shipped in has a very Americana motif featuring the head
of the Statue of Liberty.
figures range from a high of 2,793,433 on the 1990 set to a low
of 1,695,244 on the 1996 set. I do not have the figures for the
1997 through 1999 at this time. I can tell you this that from
1990 to 1997 the mintage figures keep declining. When I analyze
the reasons for this decline I can't pinpoint any one particular
thing. Some of the contributing factors can be as follows: Quite
a few of the real old time collectors were gone from the hobby.
These were the collectors that were brought up on "if it
made sense to have one it made more sense to have quantity."
A number of collectors switched from coins to baseball cards followed
by beanie babies and who knows what else. Investor and speculator
dollars were now going to the stock market. All of these reasons
could have played an important part in the decline in the demand.
these lower mintage sets have been making some very strong price
gains which I anticipate to go even higher in the years ahead
with the astonishing growth the hobby is now experiencing with
the surge of new collectors.
wise, the 2000 Proof sets look just the 1999 issues. There is
however a slight difference. The 2000 set is a 10 coin set. The
new coin that was included is the Sacagawea Golden Dollar which
is absolutely stunning in a Gem Proof condition. The 2000 sets
were made available at the Mint as follows: Just the 5 Statehood
quarters in a plastic holder or the complete 10 coins issued in
two plastic holders of which the second holder has the cent, nickel,
dime, half dollar and the Sacagawea dollar.
Prestige Sets 1983 - 1997
Proof Sets were minted from 1983 to 1997 and contained in addition
to the regular proof coins a Commemorative dollar and in some
cases a half dollar. No sets were issued in 1985. The concept
seemed to make sense when these sets were first introduced. You
could get both your Proof coins and the Commemorative issues all
in one set. However good the idea was thought to be in the beginning
it did not meet well with the collectors.
figures on these sets run from a high of 599,316 for the 1986
set to a low of 55,000 for the 1996 set. As of the writing of
these comments I do not have the figures for the 1997 set which
I suspect is even lower in mintage based on the retail price of
the set. With the mintage figures dwindling on the Prestige sets
the writing was on the wall that they were just not that popular
with the collectors and were discontinued in 1998.
Premier Sets 1992 - 1998
first year of issue for the Premier Proof Sets was 1992. The cent
and nickel were of the same composition as the regular sets, the
dime, quarter and half dollar were minted in 90% silver. The coins
in the set were identical to the coins that were in the Silver
Proof Sets minted in the same year. The major difference is that
the Premier sets has deluxe packaging with a plus velvet case.
The case is in three parts that are hinged together with a spring
loaded top. When opened it forms a free standing triangle display.
Although the packaging in my opinion is quite attractive there
was a big difference in the original issue price for the 1992
sets. The regular Silver Proof Set was $21.00 and the Premier
Proof Set was $37.50.
mintage figures on the Premier Proof Sets are rather low compared
to the plain Silver Proof Sets even though they both contain identical
coins. The 1992 regular Silver Proof set has a mintage of 1,009,586
compared to the 308,055 for the Premier set. 1993 shows 570,213
for the regular Silver set and 191,140 for the Premier Proof set.
These figures tell me that the collector put more emphases on
the fact that the set had Silver coins over the fancier packaging
and the additional $16.50 charge for the Premier Proof set. 1998
was the last year that the Premier Proof Sets were issued.
Silver Sets 1992 to Date
1992 the U.S. Mint started producing Proof Sets in both the clad
composition as well as sets that contained 90% Silver dimes, quarters
and half dollars. This was the first time since 1964 that collectors
were able to obtain Proof Sets with Silver coins other than the
1976 3 coin Bicentennial issue which has 40% Silver coins. A good
number of these sets along with the Silver Premier sets are broken
apart each year by collectors who want to add the Silver Proof
only issues to their sets and the dealers that sell single Proof
coins. With already low mintage's on these sets and the fact that
so many were and will be broken apart I predict higher and higher
prices in the years ahead.
of the Silver Proof Sets from 1992 to 1998 are in rigid plastic
holders and packaged in black boxes with silver printing. In 1999
the Proof Sets were available from the mint as a 9 or 5 coin set.
The 9 coin set has the cent, nickel, dime and half dollar in one
holder. The other holder contains the first 5 of the new Statehood
quarters. The sets for the year 2000 were 10 coin sets with the
addition of the Sacagawea Golden dollar. The boxes used for the
Proof Sets since 1999 have a very Americana motif featuring the
head of the Statue of Liberty.
Mint Set Information
Mint, or sometimes referred to as Uncirculated sets, were first
offered for sale by the United States Mint in 1947. The coins
in these sets are normal Uncirculated specimens intended for
circulation and are not minted with any special consideration
for quality. Coins that are struck as Proof only issues are
not included in these sets. The early sets from 1947 to 1958
were issued with two examples of each denomination from each
mint that produced coins for circulation that year. The coins
were mounted in cardboard holders, which sometimes caused various
degrees of toning on the coins.
from 1959 to current date, excluding 1965, 1966 and 1967, have
been packaged in transparent plastic envelope and include only
one specimen of each coin struck for that year. In 1965, 1966
and 1967 the Mint issued Special Mint Sets (SMS) as a substitute
for proof sets. The coins in these sets are of a higher quality
than regular mint sets. These coins are prooflike in appearance
and they are packaged in plastic cases. The 1970 large-date and
small-date (SD) varieties are distinguished by the size of the
date on the "S" Mint Lincoln cent. The 1976 three-piece set contains
the quarter, half dollar and dollar with the Bicentennial design
and they are 40% silver. The 1975 set as well as the regular issue
set for 1976 also contain the quarter, half dollar and dollar
dated 1976 with the Bicentennial design. But these coins are made
of a copper-nickel composition. There were no official Mint sets
issued for the years 1950, 1982 and 1983.
sets have always been a very popular part of numismatics. Some
collector's will collect one set of every year issued from 1947
to date while others will start their collection with the clear
transparent plastic envelope sets from 1959 to current date. Another
popular way these sets are collected is by various nostalgic years
to commemorate a significant occasion like an Anniversary, a Birth
Year, Wedding Year, Graduation Day, etc.
the current year Mint sets may be ordered from the United States
Mint, P.O. Box 13576, Philadelphia, PA 19161-0011. Just send
them a letter requesting to be put on their mailing. Once you
are on the mailing list you will be notified as to the current
prices and deadline for ordering.
the best price on back issues of United States Mint sets just
check Jake's prices listed below. All of the Mint sets that we
offer will be in the original packaging as issued by the Mint
and they will all be choice sets!
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