The Decline of the US Mint Proof Set

1978The United States Mint Proof Set was once an eagerly anticipated offering and a must-have for many collectors. It provided a convenient method for acquiring an example of each of the year’s circulating coins in high quality proof format. In recent years, the product has fallen out of favor and sales have declined dramatically.

While updating one of my websites Proof Set Guide, I was surprised at just how far sales had fallen from their peak. I thought it would look particularly dramatic in chart form, so I put together the chart below, which shows the mintages or last reported sales for the basic annual US Mint Proof Set from 1936 to present.

Proof Set Mintages

There are many contributing factors to the decline in proof set sales that has developed and recently accelerated.

For a period of many decades, the annual proof set and mint set were just about the only products offered by the United States Mint. As the only game in town, sales remained robust as collectors would faithfully purchase one of more sets each year. This situation changed starting in 1982, when the modern commemorative coin era began. From this point onwards, there would be multiple US Mint products competing for collector budgets. A few years later in 1986, the choices available to collectors would expand once again with the annual offering of proof American Gold and Silver Eagles in addition to commemorative coins, which were now regularly issued.

At the same time, the US Mint had begun to offer different variations of the basic proof set, starting with the Prestige Proof Sets introduced in 1983 and continuing with the Silver Proof Sets and Premiere Proof Sets introduced in 1992. These higher priced alternatives may have been purchased by some collectors in lieu of the basic proof set.

sps

Starting in 1999, the US Mint would further divide interest by offering lower priced alternatives to the full set. This took the form of State Quarters Proof Sets introduced in 1999, State Quarters Silver Proof Sets introduced in 2004, and Presidential Dollar Proof Sets introduced in 2007. These products each contained only a potion of the coins included in the full annual set, but could be purchased by collectors of the respective series instead of the full set

Last year, the Mint added even more variations such as the Birth Set and Limited Edition Silver Proof Set. This year, we will also apparently see a Congratulations Set and Birthday Coin Set Set, although the exact contents of these products are still unconfirmed.

All the while, other factors were also no doubt having an impact on annual Proof Set sales. The poor secondary market performance of prior year Proof Sets may have served to discourage some collectors purchases. Outside of a few isolated issues, most clad composition proof sets from 1968 to present can now be purchased for less than their original issue price.

The general mainstream popularity of coin collecting also has an impact on the sales of this basic set. Most recently, the renewed interest in collecting that came with the launch of the 50 State Quarters Program in 1999 seemed to contribute to higher sales for the annual proof set. This impact has subsided and failed to be renewed by the launch of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

Finally, collecting tastes may have shifted. An annual set containing each of the year’s coins in proof version does not carry the same appeal that it once did. Collectors have a greater variety of options available including precious metals products, annually rotating designs, alternate types of finishes, limited edition products, and even more diverse options from other world mints.

Although the basic annual US Mint Proof Set will likely never carry the same appeal and popularity that it once did, the sell out of the most recent release may provide some reprieve. The 2012 Proof Set has seen an immediate secondary market boost due to the low sales of 794,002 units and the unexpected nature of the sell out. Recently complete eBay auctions show sets sold for around $60 each.

Usually following an unexpected sell out and higher secondary market prices, collectors respond by ordering more heavily in the following year. The 2013 Proof Set is scheduled for release on March 28, 2013.

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Comments

  1. Hidalgo says

    What we’re seeing is changing tastes. Traditional proof and mint sets are gradually becoming obsolete, whereas fresher, newer options are capturing the eye of a newer generation.

  2. Levi says

    Thank you for this post, Michael. It made me nostalgic for when times were simpler.
    That classic proof set is beautiful in it’s simplicity.

  3. joe says

    I used to purchase a few proof sets of these sets each year; however, I quit doing it a couple years ago because the sets I was receiving were inferior in quality. I really think buyers were cherry-picking and I was getting their dregs on the rebounce. Fooled me once shame on you…

  4. Tony W says

    The mint could fan the flame of excitement for these sets by limiting production. Why would a small personal collector pay an inflated price that has no value 30 years after the purchase?

  5. EvilFlipper says

    There are three types of value in coins.
    1. Monetary- basic money value,fiat
    2. Numismatic
    3. Metal content/bulllion value
    It used to be that coins value were tied to their metal content value. A silver or gold piece was money and spent and saved accordingly. Now we see our government trying to debase their metal value to match debasing monetary value. No matter how shiny and mirror like the coin is, if it has no inherent metal value than many won’t want it based on that principal alone! I often find myself wondering why someone would pay 20 something dollars for 5-7$ in change. Collectibility or not, it’s not where I would want to put my money. Silver proof sets have some inherent silver value, so I buy them. And their shiny mirror like surfaces fit my numismatic fancy just fine. It seems a waste of my money to buy regular proof sets. And think about if metal prices tank…. Silver definitely holds more value in the end than nickel or zinc! I don’t think it’s as much a collector issue as it is common sense. Smart collectors collect for enjoyment AND value, no matter what field of collecting they are in be it art, or pottery, or depression glass.

  6. Tom says

    I think alot of the WWII generation liked to buy them as a hobby.
    Kids today just want I-pod apps, and video games, and don’t even
    really know about the proof sets,or even seem to care.
    I like the Silver proof set, at least it has some real value.
    (Taking a clad set to a coin show or a dealer doesn’t exactly
    garner alot of interest, nor much back over its face value).
    I think the Silver State quarter sets are holding good value
    and may even increase fairly respectably in future years.
    .

  7. Don says

    Many of the proof sets, clad and silver versions, are bought by dealers who need the proof coins to fill slots in their product offerings. They can then offer P, D, and S examples of each of the circulating-type coins in sets. If, for example, a dealer wanted to offer a complete P,D and S set of Native American dollars, he would only be able to get the S proofs from complete proof sets, as this is the only way to get these dollars.
    So, no doubt, many of these proof sets are purchased with the sole intent of busting them open to get the needed coins. The dealers have little interest in keeping the proof sets intact because they know that the luster has worn off on these once very desirable Mint products. Dealers do much better by parting out the sets rather than selling them intact on the secondary market.

  8. Dustyroads says

    It is interesting look at the graph of sales over the years, but I don’t think it warrants much thought to understand what’s happening. There’s simply nothing wrong with what we’re seeing here. We should just see it as indicative of the Mints progression of growth into the twenty first century. Even during the hay day of the simple proof set, customers were eagerly collecting every rare and interesting coin they could afford. I believe the Mint like every other business is pressured to increase sales and if we never see another year like we did in 2012 there will still be enough people out here to know what a quarter is and be a little fascinated by it.

  9. John says

    Even before PMs were getting all the attention I would only buy the Silver Proofs. The word “Silver” just always sounded like it should be more valuable in the long run, and now it is.

    I’m pretty much a type collector so I will keep the quarters & dollars. I sell the cent, nickel, silver dime & silver half and it usually gets me close to $25 dollars back (making it cheaper than buying the separate Quarter & Pres. Dollar sets plus I get the N.A. dollar).

    For 2009 I kept all the commemorative 95% copper cents and for 2010 the “Union Shield” cent.

  10. guama says

    my husband collected the clad proof sets each year. One year he bought a silver proof set by mistake. They were a bit more expensive and we just couldn’t afford the price difference and just continued to purchase the annual clad proof set. Foolish mistake. Now, I continue to collect silver & clad proof sets no matter if they decrease in value. I have all of the sets from each year of my existance.

  11. im just a bill says

    all nieces and nephews get a silver proof set of the year they graduate high school.

    i collect the clad proof, clad mint and silver sets
    and rolls of atb quarters
    i used to collect the president rolls but spent them all when congress f’d that up

    but mostly stack the silver .999
    love the 5oz atb bullion
    kangaroos
    koalas
    kooks
    kiwi
    eagles
    libertads
    elephants
    phils
    britanias
    maples
    pandas

    i have one silver eagle proof, 2011.
    imo seen one you seen em all

    i like the way the other countries in the east change the obverse every year
    ie the kiwi, roo, koala, kook panda elephant

  12. simon says

    I make it a point to purchase and collect all the Ag sets, and will continue to do so. There is a side benefit to the decreasing numbers, viz the Mint can enforce higher quality of each of the coins in the sets which will make everyone happy. I for one would be willing to pay an additional 15% premium for better coins. IMHO the mint should conduct outreach in schools to get young students interested in collecting.

  13. Zaz says

    What has happened, and the article points it out well, is the proliferation of choices. This same blog does an annual valuation of all the collector coins issued by the US Mint, and the amount in 2010 was over $23K to get one of each issue. Just barely a generation ago there was only the six basic denominations, double that if mint marks are distinguished. It’s healthy for the hobby to have choices, it means the hobby as a rule is far from dying and specialization can encourage others to follow or innovate another specialization. It stands to reason for such a fall off in popularity of the basic clad proof set. It’s not a necessary item to buy each year if the collector doesn’t feel the need for it.

  14. Tom P. says

    1968 was the first year I started collecting. A whopping $5 for the proof set and they sold a ridiculous amount. If it wasn’t for the 40% silver half dollar the set would be selling for below issue price today.

    I went to a coin show a few years ago where they GAVE you a proof set (one of the mid 80’s ones) with the price of admission.

    Unless you are a real collector, the return on investment isn’t so good. People will buy almost any type of crap if they think it will make them money. In most cases, modern proof sets are not a way to make money.

  15. im just a bill says

    i hear ya Zaz

    how about the 2009 proof sets. “the one with the 18 coins in it”.

    do you think the mint will ever issue a set with that many coins in a year ever again? maybe if the mint branches out with a dime for each state, nickel for each state ect…

    Two great ideas for the mint: (free of charge ;)

    1. .999 gold/ proof set of the circulating coins!
    penny, nick, dime, original 1998 quarter, half and Ike dollar.

    2. 5 oz silver replica of Ike dollar, SBA, Kennedy half, Franklin half, Roosevelt dime, Jeff nickel, and abe penny

  16. im just a bill says

    Tom P

    agreed, the late 70’s and 80’s kind of suck monetarily.

    the mint sets with the statehood quarters are looking good tho
    will be interesting to see how they hold up over the years

  17. white lightning says

    These sets may not be the only thing on the slide. I have the first two years of the state quarters the 1999 and the 2000. They came in a super nice binder all mint uncirculated,P and D, with a picture of the state capital and two of the original first state stamps. I went two 4 very large coin dealers in town and I could not even give them to them for there .25 quarter value or even a trade.

  18. HistoryStudent says

    States did really good. Then they flooded the market 1,000 times worse than 1996 and the silver dollars then.

    For the first 200 years up until 1994 the US Mint made about 200 different coins now they make that many coins from 1995 to 2035 or 40 years. About 200 coins in 40 years. That’s taping out everyone up until the guys that founded the dot.coms. Talk about tapping out Joe and Sally mom and dad!

    Sad thing about the National Parks is that with gasoline around $4.00 a gallon and all the inflation they printed a family can’t afford to go many much less just one. And they are all FAR from anything except expensive places to stay.

    They will probably really flop especially the BIG ‘UNS. So buy them for the grandkids who’ll never see ‘em.

    Buy the 2012 on in both “P” and bullion as they are now falling way under 20,000 units each and they can’t find the silver I hear.

  19. grampa dave says

    Good comment Whitelighting I assume with all the junk clad coins and mega amount of dollar coins the mint offer each year, and with easy access to Ebay for what ever you need, the home town dealers can’t buy most mint issue coins and resell them.

  20. Silver Surfing Scott says

    I’m more interested in the true value of silver and gold. When the rest of the world wakes up and realizes that the U.S. Government has no intention of paying a penny of its national debt off, and the world market chooses not to trade in U.S. Dollars anymore, what will the true value of silver and gold be? I think we probably will go back to the gold standard system.
    I like the old proof sets, but only as a collector. There’s no money in collecting though. I’m more interested in commodoties these days. Gold, Silver!,Platinum, anything of true value.

  21. EvilFlipper says

    It’s simple. 14.95$ plus shipping for five clad proof quarters. 1.25 for 14.95.
    8% money for total price.
    41.95 for five silver proof quarters with ~1 oz of silver. That’s 31.18$ in silver at today’s market price.
    74% of money value from original price.
    Math guys. Math.
    Silver would have to drop to 4$ an ounce to hit that 8% mark.
    I hear that people who don’t collect to collect take all the fun out of collecting.
    It’s even less fun losing money immediately after purchase IMHO.

  22. Ralph says

    @EvilFlipper / Your comment really gives me something to think about. Is there an oz of silver in 5 quarters?

  23. DNA says

    1.25 for 14.95. 8% money for total price.

    2011-D Uncirculated Army Half-Dollar.
    50 cents face value for $19.95
    “2.5% money” for total issue price.
    Sold it for $60 on eBay…

    More accurate for those Quarter Sets:
    “$1.25 guaranteed minimum value for $14.95″ or
    “guaranteed spot value of .9042 oz. of silver for $41.95″.

    There is such a thing as a “numismatic premium”, otherwise my 1913-S T2 Buffalo Nickel would be worth 5 Cents.

    Even the most common 80’s/90’s Clad Proof Sets still sell for over face value.

  24. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    I never buy the “partial” sets such as the quarters or presidential dollar sets. Even if they are silver, they seem cheap and a waste of time because they’re only a partial set. These are for numismatists who actually want to get their hands on new product as fast as possible. I wait for the silver proof sets to get all in one and one for all.

  25. charles says

    @ Ralph…5 silver quarters contain .9042 oz of silver. A complete silver proof set with dime, half dollar and 5 quarters contains 1.33823 oz of silver.

  26. ELLIOT G says

    boring, and no bang for the buck. the big beneficary with little change makes it easy to make with no zest from the government

  27. SilverFan says

    The silver proof sets are the way to go. You can see from the chart that clad proof set production realy started to decrease right around the time the mint started producing the modern silver proof sets (1992), with the exception of the start of the state quarter program. These are dogs in the aftermarket as most people would rather have silver. The only modern clad proof set that I think is undervalued is the 2009 due to the 6 instead of 5 territorial quarters and the 4 instead of 1 Lincoln cents.

  28. EvilFlipper says

    DNA- i like the way you flip. However I do both flip and collect. I wouldn’t bet on the premium on that set holding long term. But kudos to getting and flipping the set.!

  29. HistoryStudent says

    @EvilFlipper

    So right you are with ALL your posts above. The silver sets of quarters are rather SMART and they keep in my 125% of spot
    IF-YOU-CAN-AND-IT’S-VERY-HARD-TOO.

    The other way of course is ASE bullion green monster boxes and BULLION 5 oz. pucks of your simple wise quarter idea.

    Flipping is fine if you need the income otherwise you are flipping into an investment dollar that is losing value like a brand new car. About 10 to 20% a year.

    ~HS

  30. joe says

    My oldest child (high school) purchases coins (old and new) for both enjoyment and savings. She was really excited when she was able to get the 25th anniversary Silver Eagle Set directly from the US Mint. She also collects the silver national park quarter sets. As a 16-year old, she inherently knows that silver trumps clad. So…she gets to enjoy her numismatic interests AND have built-in value through the precious metal content of her purchases.

    She has also figured out the hard way (by purchasing coins at coin shows) the difference between “junk” silver and “collectible” silver. I can now wander off to check on stuff I am interested in while she is respectfully haggling with a dealers, which is actually kind of funny. It’s a very good life experience for her to discern people who may just be trying to rip her off, and she is learning the difference. But to everyone’s point, we see very few kids at these coin shows. My daughter gets a lot of attention from dealers who seem pleasantly surprised to have someone from the younger generation to share their passion of numismatics.

  31. William says

    Why collect?

    I will do anything to diversify out of paper money…
    Inflation is back and here to stay.

    rodeo man

  32. Dan in Fla says

    Speaking of low numbers on proof sets. I always collect the silver proof sets and happen to have 5 2012 Silver proof sets. They are all still in the box from the US mint. Question is should I sell them today on eslay or hold them until later.

  33. DNA says

    I wouldn’t bet on the premium on (Clad) holding long term.
    Understood! Silver coins are my main focus. I have the Silver Proof Sets from 1992 to Present. They are the best for collecting (ie: long-term holding).
    If you’re new to Proof Sets, start with the Silvers.

    But Clad Proof Set prices are now so low (generally) that there is massive room for growth.

    Compare the 1999 Silver Proof Set to the 2008 Clad Proof Set:
    The ’99 Silver shot up to $400 before coming back to earth at around $120.
    The 2008 Clad Set has maintained a steady premium through five years of a sluggish economy.
    Ironically, the ’99 Silver was the flipper (around 2004-05) and the 2008 Clad is the keeper.

    Auctions for the 2012 Clad Proof Sets are now finishing around double their issue price, whereas the 2012 Silver Sets are finishing around 50% above issue price.

    The 2010 Clad Sets are also finishing strongly for such a recent Set.
    The 2009 Clad is very under-rated, because untold numbers of them were broken up just for the Copper Cents.

    The 1999-2007 Clad Sets are very affordable right now, and have some potential. Why?
    Silver!
    $100+/oz. would see a lot of people selling their Silver Proof Set collections.
    And what would they replace them with?
    You got it, Clad.

    If there’s one thing better than gold or silver, it’s high demand.
    A 1909-S VDB has 2 Cents of copper in it, but that doesn’t matter.

    A mass of buyers who sell their Silver Proof Sets all at once,
    and they all have a lot of money and want to buy Clad Proof Sets.
    This could be good!
    The strength of the 2008 and 2010 Clad Sets (in a bad economy, no less) suggests growth potential.
    A speculation, to be sure, but it still beats holding paper money.

  34. DNA says

    should I sell them today on eslay or hold them until later.
    Sell one or two and keep the rest.

    I would hold them all, myself.
    Issue price @ $67.95 – $5.06 face value for the non-silver coins = $62.89 paid for 1.3382 oz. of silver, which equates to $47 an ounce.

    If (when!) silver passes $47/oz., you bought the sets for melt.

  35. says

    Dan, I’d go ahead and sell two of your sets. You’d clear around $200….you could buy about 3 2013 Silver Proof sets for that.

  36. simon says

    DNA :

    I did pick up a clad proof set for 2009. My reason : as a collector I wanted ALL of the Mint released issues with the Lincoln coins. I’m happy I did – I actually like the deep “copper” tone of the clad sets. I also wished that the Mint had offered a full set of the Lincoln cents including the Cu proofs, Cu satin finishes, and the standard Zn business strikes. What a set of Cents !

    BTW ; another wishful wish : the mint start offering business strikes of the golden dollars, specifically the Native American dollar with the “S” mintmark.

  37. HistoryStudent says

    125% is Ideal – however some must go twice that 100% like a NEW $1 Proof American Silver Eagle from the mint – where else can you buy that, right?

    If you can keep it down do. below 150% of the 100% is great too – if that’s the only game in town.

    Profound Common sense. Buy as close as you can for what you want. Dollar are dropping some 10 to 20% a year on buying power per Shaddowstats.com

    And he also note: By the way QE THREE-some is now hitting the banks. That’ll choke a ROOSTER for biting your pocketbook – like Peach did in Lonesome Dove.

  38. HistoryStudent says

    PS – We’ll see but it appears that many many many things are pushing on the SPOT prices for gold silver and platinum.

    So even that 100% rise on MINT price for the proof silver eagle may soon become a push.

  39. Dan in Fla says

    Thanks guys. I am going to wait and see what the proof sets do in the future. Buying these in a year of lows may prove to be an advantage.

  40. Buzz Killington says

    The question presented by this data is whether these numbers portend a long term decrease in demand for regular coin type products. Will coin collecting morph into something like a sideline for PM bullion accumulators?

    Anyway, even if clad proof sets were a great investment, I don’t have the time to buy and store a few proof sets to try to make an extra $7-8. That is in the best of all possible worlds. The lack of young people at coin shows is a bad trend for anyone hoping for a long term return on her investment.

    I don’t see stamp collecting ever coming back, but I think money is inherently more interesting than mail.

  41. Ikaika says

    @ Buzz Killington

    There might be a direct correlation between the fall in proof sets with the number of collectors. I started collecting in the 70’s and tried to get my kids involved in the hobby. However, none showed any interest. As young adults now, they still think that’s an old people hobby. Now I define collector as a person that buys a coin primarily because he/she likes it and not because of future return. The millions of PM coins that are being sold today are purchased primarily by investors or mixed collectors/investors. The true collector is a dying breed.

  42. simon says

    Ikaika > Now I define collector as a person that buys a coin primarily because he/she likes it and not because of future return.

    Amazingly true ! There is a great pleasure and unbelievable fun in having coins for values beyond just commercial trading for sums of cash. I am currently picking through medium-to-low grade Morgans to assemble a set. This may not garner any interest but the thrill of the chase is a good way to spend some of my free time. They were also struck during the most interesting times of transition in world history.

  43. Buzz Killington says

    I do really enjoy this blog.

    Judging by the comments, a lot of the people buying current US Mint products are more of the investor class than the collector class. If you can extrapolate from that, it makes sense that the clad coin sales are going down, because clad sets are geared to the collector. I think it is a trend that is likely to continue.

    It also makes me wary of relying on premiums for modern rarities; the 2008 gold Buffalos are a good example of coins that seems overvalued. Will people care in 100 years about having 2008-dated Buffalos?

    But I am with @simon on this, there is something fun about the thrill of the chase.

  44. EvilFlipper says

    Gold buffaloes are iconic. The image was crafted by one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century. The original nickels are bEautiful as well. This image brings a time and a purity to American imagery and history. So yes…. There will be many people in the future who will care to have one. My children surely at the top of that list. I’m almost guessing you haven’t seen one in real life. It’s hard not to want one. Between that and the ultra high relief double eagle I will ALWAYS love to have these in my collection.

  45. DNA says

    The sky-high mintages of most pre-1999 Clad Sets led to a general perception that Clad Proof Sets are cheap and easily available, catching collectors unaware when they did sell out early (2008, 2012).

    I still won’t bother with pre-1999 Clad Sets, but now that a whole 1999-2007 Clad Proof Set run will cost you less on eBay than a single 2012 Silver Set, a gamble on State Quarter Clad Sets isn’t the bank-breaker it once was.

  46. Ralph says

    It is such a pleasure to be part of this blog with all of your interesting and educational comments. I started collecting/investing in coins back in 2000 before I had my 1st computer. I use to watch the “coin vault” on tv. Because the 2 guys on the show had to keep talking for hours, I learned a lot from them. I bought 5 rolls of 2000 silver eagles for $199 a roll. When the package arrived, all but one roll had opened in delivery. Coins were strewn all over the box. Not being very pleased, I keep the one intact roll and sent the other 4 back. Wish I had them now.
    As lame as they were and considering they were selling way too high, they did bring me into the hobby.

  47. HistoryStudent says

    @Ralph
    Yes, back in 2000 those ASE $1 were around $6.50 each. The price was $4.00 spot and a premium of around $2.25 was assessed on the coin retail.

    Times gone by, they are.

    I suggest you buy them back ASAP. They are as cheap today at around $36.00 each as they were then compared to the money supply which has exploded; not to mention the govy liabilities which some say are $ 222 Trillion.

    In the dollar sign I understand the TWO POLES are for the Pillars of Hercules taken from the back of the Spanish coin in the 1700s. The “S” stands for Shhhhhhhhhhh…

  48. Buzz Killington says

    @EF

    I like the gold Buffalo plenty. But I question the premium attached to the 2008 issues, and whether they will be sustainable over the very long term. Aren’t rare dates propped up in value by set builders? It may be nice to have some gold Buffalos, but I will never feel compelled to try to put a set together.

    Still, I think these series could use some freshening up — a rotating design like they use for the platinum would be perfect. I think 2013 and 2016 are great excuses, at the 100 year anniversaries of the appearances of their designs, to change the Buffalo and ASE obverses. Presidents, states, and national parks have been claimed, but surely there is some kind of series that would make sense.

  49. ClevelandRocks says

    If I was a flipper, I’d flip the 95w ASE, Lucy Hayes UNC, 2012 burnished AGE, and the 5oz Hawaii before prices come down like I predicted on this blog about the ’99 silver proof sets. The ’12 platinum may be a sleeper IF they produced less than the max allowed (wouldn’t surprise me). I think the ’06 reverse proof AGE is undervalued still on the aftermarket (look at 95w AGE mintage to compare).

  50. Dan in Fla says

    The 2008w buffaloes are currently unobtainable for me and most people. I was naive to the U S Mint until April of 2011. I had no idea that anyone can purchase from the Mint. My first gold coin was the Lincoln FS and I haven’t stopped buying.

  51. joe says

    I think the US Mint (really Congress) blew it with the First Spouse gold coin. I know that’s been rehashed here a zillion times, but here is what they should have done:

    1) Put the president on the obverse of the coin instead of the spouse.
    2) Made the coin a smaller denomination of PM (perhaps 1/4 ounce gold or in silver).
    3) MOST IMPORTANTLY, not wasted the reverse of the coin with flowery images of the FS doing something. STUPID!!! I believe they should have had an image of some important event that occurred during the respective president’s term or during their life for that matter. So for Washington, they could have had the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. Adams could have been his defense of the soldiers in the Boston Massacre or perhaps his nomination of Washington as Commander-in-Chief. Jefferson could have been writing the Declaration of Independence. And so forth! That is what I would like to see and collect. Serious dropped ball on the part of the Congress!!!

    I will take Lady Liberty anytime, but these feminist coins are a joke and I think many other collectors agree based on the demise of these sorts of coins. A girl on the Boy Scout coin???? Whatever…

  52. ClevelandRocks says

    I take it, Joe, you didn’t buy the “everyone but the white guy” ’09 proof platinum or the “What president was Alice Paul married to?” FS coin?

  53. Ikaika says

    @ ClevelandRocks

    I think the 1995 W ASE will still be the key for the series for a long time or perhaps for the duration of the series. Prices already came down considerable from the peak during these last 13 years. Lucy Hayes, 2012 AGE, 5 oz Hawaii I agree with you. Correction is on its way. Now excellent point regarding the 2006 AGE Reverse Proof from the 20th Anniversary set. This coin has a mintage just below 10K. Although the burnished AGE from the last few years have a lower mintage, this is the only coin that is unique to the series. Secondary market prices for the Reverse Proof has been in the range of $2.800-$3.500 in 70 grade depending on the holder. The 2012 burnished AGE in 70 grade has been selling in this range too.

    If I had to chose between the Reverse Proof or 2012 Burnished, I would take the Reverse Proof in a heart beat. I prefer the uniqueness over the 3K mintage difference. The only difference in my eyes between the burnished AGE coins is the year that is struck on it :) But again, that is just me.

  54. HistoryStudent says

    @ Joe
    The US Mint had a winner when they put a CLASSIC front on Jefferson, Jackson, Van Buren, and Buchanan spouse coins.

    They shoulda woulda coulda done the same with all 40 coins. They could have placed the UGLIES on the backs (reverses) and then we’d have a CLASSIC set of 40 different coins in MS and PF 69/70s that we could never afford elsewhere.

    The two biggest words in English – “IF ONLY!”

  55. stephen m. says

    Ikaika, I would have to agree on the 95w ASE being a key silver eagle but i haven’t seen that one go down in price. Have i not been following it closely enough, not long enough or not looking in the right place? I don’t have that one and have been waiting for a decline in price and may have to wait for a long time.

  56. Ikaika says

    @ Stephen m.

    Back in 2006, one could have purchased a 1995 W ASE for around 2K ungraded. The price has been creeping up again ever since. At one point, they were selling for over 4K. I am sure someone in this blog might have the historical price for the coin.

  57. DCDave says

    95 w ASEs have only one way to go with pricing.
    I agree mintage does not justify price. Sorry to say to all bloggers that own one.
    I checked pricing for the reverse gold proof from the anniversary set, and think it would be a way safer bet to double in value in the next 5-10 years with 1/3 mintage of the 95 w ASE. At the end of the day, I’ll take gold over silver. Even a nice classic Hawaiian silver commemorative with 10k mintage (same as reverse gold proof) sells for less than the 30k mintage 1995 w silver eagle. This will change for sure.

  58. jesse livermore says

    I LOVE PROOF SILVER EAGLES! ok.. why all the caps. Here’s why. I have always bought nothing but proof silver eagles and gold eagles. I few times I bought the uncirculated eagle from the Mint. I kinda regret i didnt get them.. but i will going forward… but anyways,

    Have you guys held the 2012 limited edition proof set in your hands?? Yea, yada yada yada i know you have all the quarters yada yada yada. BUT the presentation is BEAUTIFUL on this set. I have NEVER bought any mint product featuring any mint coins except eagles and buffs. Now I get this set with the dime, the quarters the half dollar and i mean this is an exciting set! PLUS it has a proof eagle,,, if the mint keeps doing these, I will buy a set or two every single year. I mean holding the whole set in its packaging must be what 1-2 pounds easy. Again i cant stop gushing about this set, it looks elegant, majestic, sleek and impressive. The Mints picture doesnt do it any justice, this set kicks *ass!!! Way to go US Mint!

    So, I think if the Mint packages diffrently i think they can restart the sale of these coins.

  59. hi ho silver says

    1995 w proof ASE only was sold to the public through 1995 Gold 4 coin sets! Get with it people !!

  60. DNA says

    Will people care in 100 years about having 2008-dated Buffalos?
    I’m sure someone somewhere asked that very same question about 1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickels many decades ago. >=^)

    One good reason why they may care in 100 years: the 2008-only fractionals.
    My favorite is the 1/4 ounce, because it’s very close to Nickel size.

  61. DCDave says

    Hi Ho: Duh! Your point?
    My point is that 30,125 mintage was super-low for anything from the Mint at that time (although some silver commems had around 1/2 the mintage) and now it isn’t since we are living in times of new lows taking over new lows, over time the pricing of the ’95 proof ASE will fall dramatically.

    On topic, I think the 2012 clad proofs will double in price in the next year or two. Clad wins!

  62. stephen m. says

    DCDAVE, I’ll have to keep a price watch on the 95w proof silver eagle and catch it when it drops. Sorry to be off topic. The only proof set i bought from the mint was the 2009. Nothing is wrong with collecting clad proof sets if that’s what you like.

  63. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    The 95W ASE will decline in price only if the Mint decides to floor the mintage even further, say 10,000 or 20,000 for another special ASE, such as with a different special reverse, in the future.

  64. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    As for clad complete proof sets, mintages may keep declining like all the other sets. This is only one point in time, and we may see mintages decline to 500,000 or 400,000 for the clad proof sets and 300,000 for the silver proof sets come 2015 to 2016.

  65. stephen m. says

    merryxmasmrscrooge at7:05am, I agree. I try to prepare myself for a 95W ASE purchase but something always comes up. In 1995 i was busy working, raising a family and paying bills and didn’t know what the proof eagles were. I discovered the ASE’s in 2000. Now i’m much older and the proof ASE is my hobby.

  66. hi ho silver says

    DCDave My point was maybe some folk didn’t know why the mintage was so low. As for your reply that clad will win…….Good luck with that.

  67. billrod says

    I agree with the comments in regards to the uniqueness of the 2006W RP AGE. Have you taken a look at the 2007W RP 1/2 oz Platinum Eagle (10th Anniversary) ? It has a higher mintage than the 2006W RP AGE but can be found for about $1000 in NGC MS-70. Platinum has been moving up lately so this may be a good time to buy.

  68. joe says

    ClevelandRocks – You take it correctly… ;-)

    History Student – I agree…I really do like the Liberty Subset of the FS coins.

  69. Jammer says

    I started collecting error coins & currency in 2001. I have US and world coins and currency that I am constantly trying to organize. To my wife’s horror, I also try to get 3 of almost everything the mint releases and it is a mess. The mint constantly changes not only what its annual offerings are, it also keeps changing the shapes and sizes of regular issues options. Trying to keep up with what actually being released is almost as difficult as trying to store them. Mint sets were the size of an envelope for years and instead of adding a sheet or two they are now in huge cards that have to be stored somewhere else. The mint has complicated coin collecting into a huge swamp for collectors to wade thru. Missing one odd set can leave you missing a key like the 1995-W Silver Eagle. How does anyone know where to start and more importantly, where to stop. I am drowning in all that I collect and trying to pick winners is like drawing straws. I am knee deep in rolls & sets and am in need of an intervention???

  70. billrod says

    If you have three of everything that means you have some big winners and lots of losers. Get rid of the losers as they will never be winners. Sell one of each of the big winners to cover your losses with the losers – if possible. Then decide which coins you really like and want to collect.
    I know people who collected multiple clad roll sets of all the state quarters. They almost had to move out of their houses just to store them. Back in the sixties collecting rolls was the big thing but that also crashed.
    Keep reading and studying mintage numbers. That way you’ll get the next Jackie Robinson, Atlanta Olympics, Army or Medal of Honor gold and silver commems. And while you are at it check out America’s most unloved coins – the low mintage First Spouse series.

  71. kip caven says

    hello-
    i found a 95 W Proof Silver Eagle in OGP last night………never touched or opened. And Im seeing prices on this coin anywhere from $100-$20 THOUSAND
    can anyone help me figure out what the differences are and should I send my coin in to get graded?
    thanks in advance!

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