90% Silver Half Dollar Found in 2012 Birth Set

A reader has reported finding a 90% silver 2012-S Kennedy Half Dollar within the United States Mint’s 2012 Birth Set.

The 2012 Birth Set went on sale at the US Mint on March 13, 2012. The product includes the 2012-S Proof Lincoln Cent, Jefferson Nickel, Roosevelt Dime, El Yunque National Park Quarter, and Kennedy Half Dollar. The coins are mounted in an illustrated display folder, designed as a keepsake for newborns. While it does not seem to be explicitly stated anywhere, the product is supposed to contain the standard copper-nickel clad composition dime, quarter, and half dollar.

The inclusion of the 90% silver version of the 2012-S Kennedy Half Dollar seems to be a mistake. Besides being a packaging error, it would also represent the accidental early release of this year’s silver proof half dollar. The coin is not anticipated to be released until June 4, 2012 within the 2012 Silver Proof Set.

The reader has been in the coin business for more than 20 years and identified the silver composition by the appearance of the coin, including the silver edge. (Copper nickel clad coins will show the copper core at the edge.) He also reported the weight of the coin as 13 grams, compared to a weight of 11 grams for the clad version.

An order placed on March 17 had all of the sets containing the silver proof halves. A subsequent order placed on March 19 contained a mix of some silver and some clad halves. One of the 90% silver halves is listed on eBay.

If any other readers have ordered the 2012 Birth Set and have it in hand, please take a close look and report any other finds within the comments.

As of the latest sales report published today, the US Mint has sold 7,173 of the Birth Sets.

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Comments

  1. DCDave says

    Nice find, BUT the silver Kennedy will be in the ’12 silver proof set, so nice, but limited real value (20 bucks?).
    Hope this is not a gimmick to have us all buy a ton of these silly birth sets.
    I will wait for the ’12 silver annual proof set (likely will be available later this year and remain available until 2015 the way the Mint is doing things….).

  2. Shutter says

    I wonder how many of those silver went straight to NGC in a sealed Birth set and whether NGC will catch that.

  3. says

    As I mentioned in a comment awhile back, one guy in my seven-man buying group picked up a birth set since his wife is due.

    He lucked out. We checked his coins today carefully today. El Yunque and the dime are definitely both clad, but his half-dollar appears to be 90% silver. Needless to say, he is thrilled.

  4. G says

    Wow. The first interesting mint release of the year! hmmm… I wonder if they’ll label this and set a new Kennedy low mark: “Birth Year Kennedy?”

  5. Brad says

    You know what this means, right? Some unlucky saps are going to receive CLAD Kennedy Halves in their Silver Proof Sets! Everything will likely balance out in the end!

  6. john says

    All the proof Kennedys have this same appearance, me thinks you should ckeck and see if this guy works for the mint and is trying to cause a rush, I have 2 of the sets and they both have the same look, but danged if I am going to break them out only to find they are a regular proof, need some other way to tell

  7. VA Bob says

    The Mint should just put a silver half in all of them now. What smuck is going to be satisfied paying the same price for clad when others are getting silver?

  8. Ikaika says

    Here is another conspiracy of the mint to increase the sales of the 2012 Birth set. Will pass. Don’t collect the JFK’s and will not buy even if a gold eagle was found in some of these sets.

  9. Sam says

    Ok, I have one these sets, short of breaking it open, how do I tell if its silver or clad?

  10. says

    Sam,

    it’s pretty easy to tell. Take an average pre-1964 silver coin and an average modern clad coin (dime, quarter, or half dollar) and look at the rims. The rim on a clad coin will have a dark orange color while the rim on a silver coin will be a solid, well, silver (or gray if you prefer). Once you’re satisfied you can spot the difference, push a little bit on the bottom of the capsule holding the 2012 half dollar (gently, so the thing doesn’t pop out of the Birth Set) and then carefully examine the rim. If it’s a solid gray, you’ve probably got a full silver coin.

    Feel free to contrast it with El Yunque and the 2012 dime, which should both have the normal copper rim.

    I find it unlikely that the Mint would deliberately slip in silver half dollars on purpose into the birth set. Why wouldn’t they do so for a product like, say, the unpopular three-coin quarter set to bolster sales as well? The Mint had to know the birth set would sell relatively slowly since it’s a gift item. Plus if they really wanted to make collectors go crazy, the best way to do so would have been to strike a few “error coins” outright rather than just making one of them silver by accident.

  11. Shutter says

    The Mint should just put a silver half in all of them now.

    A bit late for that now, since at least some sets already shipped with the clad half. Having said that, I always thought the Birth Set should have just used a silver half and dispensed with other coins. Having an incomplete set was a pretty dumb idea to begin with. A silver coin and a non-monetary token that said something like “Welcome to the World” would have been pretty classy. As it is, it’s a good idea poorly executed.

  12. Hidalgo says

    From FeedBlitz

    http://archive.feedblitz.com/199462/~4159568/20664305/231f0e61486c92cbe30058f73421e5ab

    Smaller set, larger audience

    Who will be ordering the two-coin American Eagle set that will be produced in May to mark the 75th anniversary of the present San Francisco Mint?

    Two coins, a reverse proof and a regular proof, combine for a less costly set than the 5-coin extravaganza offered to collectors to mark the 25th anniversary of the American Eagle last fall.

  13. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    thank you, michael.
    told everybody there’d be some rarity or anomoly in this set.
    now you should have listened to me!!!!!!!!
    but it’s not too late

  14. Nate says

    John, Sam – You can also tell by weight. The only difference between a set with silver vs. non-silver Kennedy would be the weight of that coin (the packaging and other coins are identical weight in all sets). It could require some collaboration here, but if readers posted the weight of their Birth Sets the heavier ones would have the Kennedy silver and the lighter ones would have the clad (assuming accurate and precise scales).

  15. Sam says

    Its hard to see the edge without opening the packaging – but it just may be silver. Well, my grand daughter will get something special!

  16. says

    Let me flip Michael’s question around a bit.

    Is there anyone here who bought the Birth Set that can confirm they have a CLAD kennedy half dollar? Did anyone else other the guy in my group and Sam buy the Birth Set? I’m wondering now if maybe all the Birth Sets have silver Kennedies.

  17. Larry Pang says

    I still don’t see how you can tell the post 1964 silver coins from non-silver coins by “looking” at them.

  18. Dolores says

    Hedalgo … thanks for the info regarding the american eagle set in May. It will be interesting to see what the cost is and the mintage will be. I’ll be buying!

  19. Brad says

    Where is some sort of official announcement about that upcoming ASE set? A 2012 Reverse Proof and Proof ASE with the “S” Mint mark? I’m there, man!

  20. Shutter says

    I’m wondering now if maybe all the Birth Sets have silver Kennedies.
    re-read the post:
    A subsequent order placed on March 19 contained a mix of some silver and some clad halves.

  21. Dolores says

    Brad … look at Hidalgo’s comment – scroll up a little – he gives the web site you can click on… check out the web site. It looks like the ASE set will be minted in May, but no other details yet.

  22. simon says

    Larry,

    The easiest way is the edge. The 1965 – 1970 Half dollar coins do have high silver content and the edges do look uniform silver. I recall when I was a novice collector in the late ’70s, getting a 1969 Kennedy Half, looking at the edge and thinking – wow it looks different. I did save it on a whim back then, and still have it in my collection. I found out years later in the 90’s from the internet that the Kennedy Half’s in said period were in fact bi-layered silver. I think the total content is ~ 40%.

  23. Brad says

    Delores,

    Yes, I saw that. It references Dave Harper’s “Buzz” blog post. That’s how I knew about the types of coins the set will contain. What I’m really wondering is, where did Dave Harper get the information? I can’t find any sort of press release on the Mint’s website about it.

    I don’t even really care about the mintage, though. It will likely be high enough that there won’t be any unhappy would-be buyers this time, unlike the 25th Anniversary ASE Set. There will probably be an initial household limit of 1 set, with a mintage of 300,000+. That is high enough to meet demand I would think, and yet still low enough to allow for a premium product on the secondary market. It will be nice to have another Reverse Proof coin too, with the “S” Mint mark this time. The other two were both “P”.

    How about a set of truly unique ASE’s, like resurrections of the Carson City and New Orleans Mints from back in the days of Morgan silver dollars? Imagine how cool Silver Eagles with a “CC” and “O” Mint marks would be! I know, I’m dreaming on that one. It’s fun to dream, though.

  24. dv says

    Just wondering if this is an accident? How secure are things at the Mint if these are supposed to be Clad but mistakenly silver. Has anyone questioned a CS rep at the Mint? Just wondering

  25. Dirk says

    I’m not so sure that 2 coin ASE set is nothing more then urban legend. Its been kicking around awhile now but has never been substantiated by the Mint.

  26. Michael says

    I am trying to get some direct confirmation from the Mint on whether or not the 2 coin ASE set has actually been confirmed. For a few months, there have been articles about potential coins and potential sets.

  27. says

    Shutter,

    I did see that. I just was hoping for some independent confirmation from someone here who actually got a normal clad half. I’m sort of developing an impression (perhaps mistaken) that the clad is less common than the silver!

  28. Shutter says

    less common than the silver or barely/not included at all

    Not for long, I’m assuming. If the Mint management is not completely asleep at the switch, a flunkie has been appointed to check all the sets that haven’t gone out yet and correct the error.

  29. Brad says

    Remember what I said yesterday, though. There’s a good chance that the clad halves that were meant for the birth sets will find their way into some silver proof sets. That would be an even tougher situation to determine it seems. The edges of coins are pretty much invisible in the proof set lenses. I guess you could weigh your set in comparison to a known correct set and look for a two-gram difference, but there are likely minor variations in the weight of the empty lenses themselves.

    Fortunately for me, I don’t buy silver proof sets. If I did, I just bet I’d be one of the unlucky ones who would receive a clad half dollar in mine!

  30. John says

    I don’t want to sound mean here but it should be really easy to tell the difference between a 90% silver coin and a clad coin without even examining the edge. If you have a birth set the quarter will either be more “grey” in color compared to the half or the quarter & half will look exactly the same in color.

    A few months back I got a roll of halves from the bank which included several post 1992 silver proofs and they all stuck out like a sore thumb!

  31. Shutter says

    There’s a good chance that the clad halves that were meant for the birth sets will find their way into some silver proof sets. That would be an even tougher situation to determine it seems. The edges of coins are pretty much invisible in the proof set lenses.

    Not that hard. In the most recent sets, you can tell. Older sets, you’re right. Also 2009 Proof set doesn’t have any room around the quarters. Still if you have known examples of each and examined all three under good light, you’d be able to tell the difference.

  32. Shutter says

    A few months back I got a roll of halves from the bank which included several post 1992 silver proofs

    Wow, that’s pretty strange. Wouldn’t someone have to break open a few proof sets and use them as spare change for that? I realize that proof sets end up selling for less than the mint price on the secondary market, but this would be much lower still. I’ve been getting $500 in halves every year or so and only found 2 1964’s and 1 40% half. No proofs of any sort. And they weren’t in the same roll.

  33. dave says

    19.95 for this set what a joke there should be a silver half in it anyway, the other coins are practically worthless anyway

  34. says

    Shutter,

    I have a friend who searches for silver halves, and twice now he’s found rolls of pure silver containing 40% Kennedies, 90% Kennedies, a few Franklins, and in one a heavily worn Barber.

    He has also come across the occasional proof Lincoln penny and has found two proof dimes. One of the proof dimes was a silver coin. You never know what people will do with their change (even an obvious collectable like a proof).

  35. Louis says

    Those proofs found in rolls are likely to be impaired and not have much value beyond the silver.

    As for the issue at hand, it’s kind of exciting to get a silver half you were not expecting, but think about it, you are paying $20 for a set that has very small face value and is supposed to not have any precious metal, so even if you get one, you paid $20 for it, which is the most it would be worth.

    This is just my opinion, but I would rather spend $35 on a 2012 silver eagle as a birth gift rather than $20 on one of these sets. In fact, I did just that for a cousin having a baby soon.

  36. Shutter says

    Look I wasn’t doubting John’s words. Just said it was strange. I can understand 64 and even earlier halves. I can understand 40%. It’s rare, but it does happen. I’ve even picked a few 90% dimes in spare change. However, there are relatively few proof sets and even fewer silver proof sets. And they couldn’t have been slipped into circulation through a mint error since all proofs were done in San Francisco, while circulation coins (when there were any) came from Philadelphia and Denver. So it had to be someone cracking open a proof set and buying something with the coins. I don’t remember how much the earliest silver proof sets sold for, but it had to be a great deal more than ¢91.

    Maybe it was a thief who didn’t want to deal with a coin shop and just bought smokes with his loot. I can sorta see that.

  37. John says

    I suspect that a collector might have pass and his spouse didn’t know what the coins were worth and just took them to the bank (or might have been dropped off by a thief). There were also clad proofs in the roll which I gave to a friend so he could give them to his sons.

    I live in a small community where the population is not too savvy when it come to money. Tonight I gave a cashier a $2 bill and was told that the company didn’t take them because “I have never seen one of those before”. I have similar experiences with $1 coins where I live

  38. Frank says

    re: how to tell silver from clad: take a tissue (Kleenex or the like), cover the coins with it. The silver coin will stand out as bright white, while the clad coins will not. Try it, it really works.

  39. Steve says

    I bought 3 sets and all 3 appear to have the 90% silver Kennedy. Makes me want to keep these and get other sets for my future grandchildren! But I probably won’t.

  40. Pittsburgh-2-Cents says

    It is still a Kennedy Half – and has no more numismatic value then the 64 Kennedy Half – NO Matter The Packages it’s in

  41. Blackbeard says

    Why is the mint not showing the whole scheduling for this year? the platinum series would like to know when I can at least see the design. If its not a proof i cant approve I don’t really care for anything else Other than that I’m pretty excited about the 2012 American Eagle gold proof that’s coming out next month on the 19th

  42. Dan says

    Off Topic

    Anyone else notice the Army half dollar auction at the top of the page? Could that be right or do they think its gold?

  43. Wylson says

    Dan, those are X-tremely rare in 70 so it’s probably legit. The proof halfs are fairly common in 70.

  44. Goat says

    Since Michael blessed us with the news I’v been watching sales on the MS70 army half so far four (on EB) have been sold, one NGC for $173 (that was at the time of breaking news) and three ANANCS $286, 224, and 227 and now this one WOW! The question is how much $ is a good buy on Grant’s proof and what grade? Oh is the half in the birth sets 40 or 90% or the big question a new first ever .999 ? Thanks

  45. Shutter says

    Could that be right or do they think its gold?

    ANACS certified MS70 have been selling for almost $400. Also compare to Mount Rushmore half. The last time I ran across one in MS70, the asking price was over $1,000.

  46. Tim says

    Wow 62 bids on the MS 70 Army half at this time. I picked up a few of the proof coins, I seldom ever buy the uncirculated. Just don’t like them. The reverse is cool, in proof, of the reverse side solider..

  47. VA Bob says

    I just don’t see them (the Army half) having long legs. I hope they do, but we’ve been here before. Get while the getting is good, I suppose.

  48. Mike M. says

    Great to see quality assurance is as good as ever at the US Mint.

    Personally, I swore-off buying anything from these jokers last year after their cluster-f*** that was the sale of the 25th anniversary American Eagle silver coin set. Over the previous12 years or so, I had spent thousands buying items from the mint. I’ve not spent a dime since that debacle, and have no intentions to do so. I will continue to buy my proof and mint sets, but I will do so on the secondary market. Granted, I’ll pay a little more for the items. But knowing I’m bypassing a direct transaction with them, and that I’m not increasing their sales, are good enough for me.

  49. Ben says

    Shortly after the Army half came out, some guy listed three MS70s on eBay, consecutive serial numbers, for around $1,400 OBO. They sold a couple days later for $1,000. I figured the guy that bought them was either going to be the luckiest gambler out there or was throwing away $1,000. Now he’s sitting on three very valuable coins. I bet the guy that sold them was real proud of himself for a few days!

  50. dennis gopear says

    The mint does not package any coins they send them bulk to sub contractors who do the packaging and then to another sub for shipping. I know a woman who works at the string company down the road from me and said they get coins many months ahead of time before release..I asked her about the birth set mix up and all she could tell me is that all packaging was stopped for a week for inventory.

  51. says

    I just checked two set ordered on 3/16/12 and delivered on 3/20/12. They both have silver halves and the dimes look silver too! What a find!! Any other thoughts out there on possible value??

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