Common Proof set prices fall

Inventory surplus from 1970s, 1980s
By , Coin World
Published : 03/12/12
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While the market for Proof sets produced within the new millennium is selectively healthy, an interesting phenomenon is occurring with many Proof sets from the 1970s and 1980s: dealers are so overstocked with inventory that they are buying them at, in some instances, prices below face value.

The regular production sets of this era have very high mintages. For example more than 3.5 million 1980-S Proof sets were minted, compared with just over 1.1 million 2010-S Proof sets.

In the wholesale market, 1980-S Proof sets are trading for $3 to $3.50 each and many dealers buy these sets at a specific percentage of the wholesale price.

In good markets, dealers pay up to 90 percent of the wholesale price for Proof and Mint sets. In the present market, where dealers have growing inventories of these low-value sets that take up a lot of space, many dealers are paying just 60 to 70 percent of the wholesale prices for the sets.

At this level, a dealer paying 60 percent of the $3 wholesale price for a 1980-S Proof set would be paying $1.80 — or below the $1.91 face value. Similar pricing issues are seen for many Uncirculated Mint sets from the era.

For a more modern example, at the wholesale level, prices for 10-piece 2000-S Proof sets are hovering between $4 and $4.50; the once-popular millennium set is in territory dangerously close to its $2.91 face value.

As silver continues to hover at the $35 level, many modern Proof 90 percent silver coins, including 50 State quarter dollars, are trading at virtually no premium to their silver value.

Among recent issues, the 14-coin 2010-S Proof set, which features the lowest mintage of any standard Proof set since 1959, has appreciated a bit on the secondary market. Sets now sell for $43 to $45, representing a nice jump from the original issue price of $31.95. Recent Silver Proof sets from the past five years have also shown nice gains and the 14-coin 2008-S Proof set may trade for as much as $70 online.

Other recent Mint products have not shown the same secondary market resilience as traditional Proof sets. Demand has softened for 50 State quarter Proof sets and Presidential dollar Proof sets, as collectors, perhaps overwhelmed with a bevy of U.S. Mint products competing for their collecting dollars, choose to spend their money elsewhere. ■

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