By Robert Taylor
The U.S. Mint began making proof coin sets for the public beginning in 1936. They were unique in that each set contained a mirror image quality coin for each denomination such as the 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent coins. The beautiful image was obtained by double striking the coin when in production as they are today.
Mint sets were initiated in 1947. Again, the denomination of the coins
within the five coin sets were as above. These coins resemble coins produced for general circulation – a beautiful finish but not near as nice as the proof coins.
Avid coin collectors and dealers acquired these sets for their collections and/or sale to the public. Both of these types of sets contained 90% silver coins (dime, quarter and half dollar) up until 1965.
Older original sets from the 1930’s and early 1950’s are highly sought after today and can become quite pricey.
Beginning in the mid-1960’s, most mint and proof sets contained limited 90% silver coins (or none at all) as the years progressed. The Mint also introduced different types of commemorative sets for the collector. Some of these even contained silver coins.
The 1980’s onward saw a tremendous proliferation of these sets. Millions upon millions of sets were created. The coin collector market became heavily saturated with these sets thus heavily lowering their resale value.
Today, the sets from the 1930’s to the early 1950’s remain in strong demand. However, sets from the mid-1970’s to the early 2000’s have lost much of their initial purchase price value. It’s just the vast amount of sets available coupled with a lack of collector interest that has caused their decline in value.
If you still want to collect modern day mint & proof sets, do it for the pure joy of collecting and not as an investment. If you want an investment for your children and grandchildren, secure original mint and proof sets from the 1930’s and 1940’s – not easy to find and pricey but will gain in appreciation in the years ahead.
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