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    Modern Numismatics

    Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. He writes about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.

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  • Reverse Proof Coins Are Good for the Hobby

    In recent years the U.S. Mint and several world mints have issued collector coins with reverse proof finishes.  These coins have mirrored devices and frosted fields instead of frosted devices and mirrored fields like regular proof coins.

    The Perth Mint in Australia has been using this approach for many years on its widely collected bullion coin series like the Kookaburra, Koala, and Lunar series coins, and the Royal Canadian Mint has also issued many reverse proof coins.

    The first U.S. reverse proof coin was the 2006-W American Silver Eagle issued for the 20th anniversary of that popular series.  A Gold Eagle reverse proof was issued also in 2006, and a Platinum Eagle reverse proof in 2007.

    Since then more reverse proof silver eagles have been issued and a reverse proof American Buffalo Gold coin in 2013.  Then a Kennedy half dollar reverse proof appeared last year.

    Up to this point these coins were all issued in connection with anniversaries of the respective coin programs.  Then the Mint started issuing the first reverse proofs of several series, and collectors love firsts.

    Earlier this year the Mint issued a reverse proof Roosevelt dime as part of the March of Dimes commemorative special proof set.

    And that brings us to the presidential dollar reverse proofs, which so far include the Truman and Eisenhower coins and in September a Kennedy coin will be added along with one for Johnson in October.

    The Mint has announced that next year there will be one for Reagan, but at this point we do not know if the Nixon and Ford coins will be issued in this format.

    There have been rumors of a possible reverse proof set in 2018 to mark to the 50th anniversary of the San Francisco Mint, and the Mint has confirmed it is considering this option.

    Some say these coins are gimmicks to sell more coins, but most collectors like reverse proofs.

    The key point is that the concept should not be overdone.  A reverse proof set would be fine as long as it does not become an annual issue.  The same is true for reverse proofs in other series.

    In addition, other innovative approaches should be explored.  The enhanced uncirculated Silver Eagles were a good start, but for the 30th anniversary in 2016 something special needs to be done.  The CCAC has recommended a high relief version, which I am sure would be a huge hit.

    It is also worth noting that the Mexican Mint recently issued its first reverse proof silver Libertad coin.  500 of them were issued in a special two-coin set created at the initiative of APMEX, the American Precious Metals Exchange, which also included a regular proof coin.

    Then last week I found out that an additional 1,000 of these coins were issued in a special set that was only given to mint employees.

    An interesting aspect of this issue is that both the Mexican Mint and NGC, which has graded some of the coins from the APMEX set, call the coins proof-like rather than reverse proofs.

    And that raises an interesting possibility.  The Mint has struck bullion examples of the five-ounce silver America the Beautiful coins that have proof-like and deep mirror proof-like surfaces.  Would collectors want to see Silver Eagles with those finishes too?

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