Several readers have provided reports and photos of their 2009 Silver Proof Sets which seem to feature a new type of proof finish. This new style appears to have been used for all proof coins released in 2009, but the frosty effect seems to display most prominently on the silver proof coins.
In hand, the new style of finish makes the coins look impressive. Modern proof coins are struck with a cameo finish which features mirrored backgrounds and frosted raised elements. On 2009 proof coins, the frostiness of the raised elements seems to be magnified, which heightens the “black and white” cameo effect.
I examined one of the 2009 Silver Proof Sets more closely and found that the raised design elements have a much more granular finish than prior years. For comparison I examined a 2008 Silver Proof Set. The raised design elements had a more satiny finish with a bit of lustrous sheen. Below are pictures of a 2009 Silver Proof Quarter compared to a 2008 Silver Proof Quarter.
Someone on the Collector’s Universe forums, who actually discovered this style of finish earlier, dubbed the new style “snakeskin proofs” and has some much better close up photos than mine. You can check them out here.
One final aspect of the new finish that I wanted to mention came when examining a clad 2009 Proof Set. The raised elements of the coins do have the same type of granular finish as found on the 2009 Silver Proof Set, although the frosty effect is diminished for non-silver coins. I noticed that some coins displayed visible striations within the frost, perhaps the result of the process which creates the granular appearance. An image of this impact appears below. The faint lines run diagonally from the top right to bottom left of the coin.
The US Mint has not officially announced any change to the style of proof finish, but it seems apparent that a change was made starting with 2009 proof coins. Will the Mint use this new style on gold and silver proof coins (once they are eventually released)? In particular, I look forward to seeing the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle with this new style of finish.
Today on Coin Update News: