The History of Proof Sets

Posted by Derek Sawchenko on

 The United States began printing proof sets in the year 1936 specifically for coin collectors. “Proof” simply refers to the special manufacturing that goes into making these dazzling coin collections.  In order to create the sharp relief that can be found on proof coins, as well as the mirror-like background, the proof minting process requires that burnished coin blanks be fed manually into presses. Once in the press, each coin is struck multiple times with slow, heavy pressure to gain the illusion of the detailed images floating above the field. Proof sets have become the ultimate standard in coin collecting, as proof coins are struck with the intent that they will be used for presentation, souvenirs, exhibition or other numismatic purposes, as opposed to other coins that are meant to be circulated.
     From 1936 through mid-1955, all proof sets were issued in small cardboard boxes. Within these boxes, the coins themselves were housed inside cellophane envelopes. The packaging was later updated and proof sets are now packaged in a protective lens to showcase and maintain their brilliant finish. Proofs from 1936-1972 included the cent, nickel, dime, quarter and half dollar. When 1973 hit, the dollar was added to the set, but then later suspended in 1882. Proof coins prior to 1968 were stuck at the Philadelphia mint while current proof sets are made in San Francisco. There are a few rare and valuable proof sets that are missing the “S” mintmark.
     Aside from regular proof sets, there are Prestige proof sets as well as Silver proof sets. Prestige proof sets were first introduced in 1983. These sets contain all the coins that are found in a regular proof set, with the addition of one coin. Prestige proof sets include a commemorative coin from that year. The initial prestige proof set included the Lincoln cent, Jefferson nickel, Roosevelt dime, Washington quarter and the Kennedy half dollar, and added the commemorative coin, the 1983 Proof Olympic Silver Dollar. Prestige sets such as this were made until 1997 where the last prestige proof set was made to include the Botanic Silver Dollar.  Silver proof sets came onto the market in 1992 containing a 90% silver dime, quarter and half dollar. Premium Silver proof sets were also available if anyone wanted a deluxe case for their set.
     Proof sets are a coin collectors bread and butter. These beautiful coin sets are great for collectors and even make great Birthday and Anniversary presents for those that are special to you! Certified Coin Consultants is a huge fan of Proof sets and even have a few in stock. For any further information on Proof sets, contact Certified Coin Consultants online or call 516-218-2094. For information of more of your favorite coins find us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit us at our storefront at 8 S. Village Avenue in Rockville Centre, New York!

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