US Coins

Inside Coin World: Collecting Proof sets, odd sports

The U.S. Mint began selling Proof sets to collectors in 1858, beginning a service that continues to this day, though much has changed over the years.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Collecting Proof sets: A Mint staple since 1858

In 1858, the director of the Mint ordered that the Philadelphia facility begin formally offering special coins to collectors at a premium — the beginning of the Mint’s long experience with issuing Proof coins singly and in sets. In our cover feature in the Oct. 1 issue of Coin World, we look at the development of Proof set sales over the decades.

In 1858, collectors could buy several different sets: base-metal and silver sets, gold sets, and complete sets of all of the coins being struck. However, Mint officials suddenly stopped the practice of issuing Proof coins in 1916 and would note resume the practice until 1936.

The modern era of Proof set production began in 1968, but the Mint has expanded its offerings so much that a collector from 50 years ago would not recgonize the modern programs.

To read more, see the article found exclusively in the print and digital editions of Coin World.

Outside the Lines: Odd sports on world coins

Forget football and soccer, and baseball. Some coins feature sports that most of us have never played. While a lot people view auto racing of all sorts, other sports are either less familiar to most outside of the regions where they are played or are not seen as competitive sports.

Take tug-of-war, which is featured on coins of Russia. Russia also has depicted stick throwing on other issues. Other nations celebrate sports with goals that many viewers would find unusual, such as using a goat carcass instead of a ball.

Collectors can find all kinds of these unusual sports on coins of the world. To learn more, see Jeff Starck’s feature in the Oct. 1 Coin World.

Notes with zero value, but still collectible

German correspondent Sebastian Wieschowski examines a new collecting craze in Europe: zero-euro notes, or privately issued “bank notes” with a face value of zero.

The notes are issued throughout the European continent, and are found at tourist and historical attractions in many countries. The field has even moved to the United States, with sites here beginning to commission their own issues.

Sebastian looks at the beginning of the this collecting craze and asks whether collecting something with no “value” says something more about the future of money. To learn more, read his feature article in the Oct. 1 issue of Coin World.

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