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. ■