Article prompts collector to restart collecting modern key-date U.S. Mint Proof sets

Home Hobbyist column published in the Nov. 17, 2014, issue of Coin World
By , Coin World
Published : 11/06/14
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At one time, like so many other hobbyists, I collected U.S. Proof sets because their mirrored fields and cameoed devices were so alluring, especially when minted in silver in the 1950s and early 1960s.

However, I started to lose interest when the Special Mint sets appeared (1965 to 1967). By the 1970s through much of the 1990s, the Proof clad sets of 1968 and later dropped in value or weren’t appealing.

My interest was piqued again with Silver Proof sets in the mid-to-late 1990s. I recall paying a local coin dealer $300 for a run of 1992 to 1998 Silver Proof sets in those fetching black and silver boxes. I felt at the time that these were a good investment, especially the 1993 and 1995 sets, with mintages of 570,213 and 549,878 respectively.  But over the years even these dropped significantly in value.

I also purchased those Prestige Proof sets, 1983 to 1996. Then came the 50 State Quarters sets. I purchased them all, 1999 to 2008, in copper-nickel clad and silver.

Off and on at coin shows and shops I cherrypicked the more valuable Small Date 1960 and 1970-S sets and 1979-S and 1981-S Type II sets. I broke them out and submitted the Small Date cents for grading. So those were lost as sets.

And like so many others I looked in vain for the rare “No S” sets: 1968-S, 1970-S, 1971-S, 1975-S, 1983-S and 1990-S.

By this time, I had been a hobbyist for about a half century and needed space in my bank box for items other than Proof sets.

So I sold them all, except for two that rose in value, the 1996 Prestige Proof set ($325) and 1999 Silver Proof set ($135) .

I had no intention of purchasing any more sets until I read a short report by Coin World’s Steve Roach, published in the May 15, 2014, issue of Coin World, about the key-date 2012 copper-nickel clad and Silver Proof sets.

Roach noted the low mintages and dramatic rise in price for the clad set (794,002, $31.95 to $100+) and silver set (395,443, $67.95 to $200+).

The sets contain five 2012 America the Beautiful quarter dollars, Roosevelt dime and Kennedy half dollar (either silver or copper-nickel clad), in addition to four Presidential dollars and one Native American dollar, a Lincoln cent and a Jefferson 5-cent piece.

At the moment I am purchasing 2012 copper-nickel clad and silver sets whenever I can find good deals at shows or online, stashing them away like U.S. Savings Bonds.

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