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All Posts Tagged With: "Proff sets"

The Three Major Eras Of Modern Proof Sets

Certified 1936 US Mint Proof SetHaving criticized the generic term “The Mint” several times in the past few years for actions which were sometimes the fault of the Treasury Department or Congress or others, I thought it might be a good time for me to compliment the United States Mint proper for one of its generally successful numismatic programs, the Proof set.

Although many of the commemorative coin and medal programs dumped in the lap of the U. S. Mint by a greedy and/or indifferent Congress since 1936 have proven to be less than wonderful, whether in marketing or design or purpose, the regular design Proof sets offered as superior examples of the coiner’s art have generally been considered to be a credit to the Mints that have struck them. Though some of the post-1967 sets have declined in value since they were originally sold, this is generally not the fault of the Mint, but rather the fault of speculators who overbuy an issue in the hopes it will prove scarce and then dump it on the market if it does not.

The first of the three modern eras of Proof sets began in 1936, after a 20-year lapse allegedly caused by concern over the impending entry of the U.S. into World War I (which did not occur until April of 1917), but more likely brought on by collector dislike of the Matte Proof finishes used on certain coins of the 1908-1916 period and the technical difficulties involved in trying to “Proof,” or polish, the textured surfaces of the new 1916 silver coins.

I have no idea why the 1916 Barber Dime and Quarter were not struck in brilliant Proof even if there were no plans to strike a 1916 Barber Half, but as sales of the silver Proof sets had fallen drastically in previous years (380 in 1914 and 450 in 1915) it may have been thought that they just weren’t worth the bother. The classical Proof set era begun with a bang in 1858 ended with a whimper in 1916 with only the Matte Proof Cent and Five Cents being offered to collectors, no regular issue gold coins being struck in Philadelphia in 1916 and hence no Proofs.

Once the decision was made to stop making Proofs, bureaucratic inertia saw to it that the same policy was observed in the next year, and the next, etc. I have never seen a good reason given as to why the production of Proof coins was resumed in 1936, but it is possible that the commemorative coin frenzy which reached its peak in that year inspired the Mint to imitate the Post Office, which since 1934 had been making a tidy sum selling specially prepared souvenir sheets of otherwise regular design stamps to collectors. (more…)

US Mint 2010 Presidential $1 Coin Proof Set™ Available February 11

The United States Mint announced today that it will begin accepting orders for its 2010 Presidential $1 Coin Proof Set on February 11, 2010, at noon Eastern Time.

The set contains four proof versions of the circulating Presidential $1 Coins scheduled to be released this year, bearing the portraits of Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. Each coin has a common reverse design featuring a striking rendition of the Statue of Liberty.

The term “proof” refers to a manufacturing process in which specially treated coin blanks are struck multiple times with specially polished dies to create a brilliant, sharp relief and mirror-like background. A frosted, sculpted foreground gives the proof coin a special “cameo” effect. The “S” mint mark, representing production at the United States Mint at San Francisco, is inscribed on the edge of each coin.

The 2010 United States Mint Presidential $1 Coin Proof Set is priced at $15.95 each. Customers may place their orders at the United States Mint’s Web site, http://www.usmint.gov/catalog, or at the toll-free number, 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order at 1-888-321-MINT (6468). A shipping and handling charge of $4.95 per order will be added to all domestic orders. There is no household order limit for this product. (more…)