What You Need To Know About Proof Sets

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We all know that certain gold and silver coins are worth more than others. The older the coin, the higher the value. Rarity also plays a role in the value of coinage. But did you know that you can have two of the same coins from the exact same year with the same weight and purity, and one could be more valuable than the other? If one is a proof coin, you’ll find it’s more valuable than standard coins.

What is a Proof Coin?

 

A proof coin is a coin made for collection rather than circulation. They are also made using special minting techniques and are processed differently than regular coins. This gives them a special, highly polished finish.

Here are a few of the things that set proof coins apart from standard coins:

  • Their method of manufacture is more important than their grade
  • Their appearance is more reflective, with a “frosted” look that is shinier
  • They are struck using specially polished dies
  • They may be treated with chemicals or sandblasted
  • The coins may be struck under pressure, or struck multiple times

Proof coins tend to be made with more caution, as they are intended to be collected rather than used to buy and sell goods. This extra care usually gives the coin greater detail and makes the design stand out more. The field area often looks smoother than is standard with circulated coinage.

The value of proof coins is higher thanks not only to their rarity, but also because of their shiny, frosted appearance. These coins are designed to be put on show, and they are intended to be added to a coin collection. Thus, they are less likely to suffer the wear and tear common with standard coins. There are also far fewer proof coins in existence than standard coins, meaning they are harder to find. They tend to be pricier because of their scarcity.

The coins always have the mint marks where they were minted, so it’s easier to trace them to their origin. Most proof sets made after 1968 come from the San Francisco Mint, while the sets pre-dating 1965 come from the Philadelphia Mint.

Another reason proof coins are more valuable: there is a far lower risk of bag marks. Bag marks are the dings, scratches, and indentations left on coins that jostle against each other in the mint distribution bags. Because proof coins are never stored in bags, there is a much lower risk they will sustain contact marks.


What are Proof Sets?

 

Proof sets are basically a set made up of various proof coins. They can have any number of coins (4 to 12 is standard, but there are many options), all of which come in a hard plastic case with an individual space for each coin. This individual storage prevents the coins from being damaged in shipping or storage.

There are a few proof sets that are rarer than others, meaning they tend to be valued more highly than other proof sets:

  • The 1936 U.S. Proof Set currently sells for roughly $7,500, due to the fact that it was the first proof set created.
  • The 1937 proof set values come out to about $4,500, as it was one of the earliest proof sets created.
  • 1938 and 1939 proof set values are $2,000 and $1,800 respectively.
  • The 1947 double set will sell for upwards of $1,100.
Imagine that! A single set of coins worth thousands of dollars. If you’re looking to make money, selling proof sets is the way to go.

Why is selling proof sets smarter than selling a single high-value coin? Well, proof coins tend to be valuable on their own, but the value increases when they’re in a set. You can get more for a proof set than you would trying to sell each coin individually.

In fact, the proof coins on their own are only worth a fraction of what they’d earn if you sold them in a proof set.


Proof Set Values

 

The value of each proof set is determined according to the year it was produced. The older the coin, the higher the value of the proof set. If the proof set has been stored properly, it shouldn’t show any bag marks or damage that could decrease the value of the coin.

Below is a table showing the estimated value of the more common proof sets:

Proof Set Value Table
This is just a sample of some of the higher-valued proof sets. There are close to 100 different proof sets to choose from.

(Table courtesy of Sammler)


Why You Need a Specialist

 

The value of a proof set is determined by the age, rarity, and condition of the coin. You may be able to figure out the age by looking at the date on the proof set box, but how will you be able to know the rarity and condition of the coin on your own? If you’re thinking about selling proof coins, it’s a good idea to get a professional appraisal.

A professional coin appraiser will be able to take a look at your coin and tell you how much it’s worth. You can find a lot of information on coin values on the internet, but you may find a professional gives you a much more accurate estimation of how much the coin is worth. They’ll be able to look at the age, any mint marks, the historic or collector’s value of the coin, and any signs of damage.

Through a professional appraisal, you can get an accurate estimation of how much the coin is really worth. Not just how much you think you can sell it for, but what the real value of the coin is.

That’s where Twery’s comes in! As Florida’s premium professional appraisal service, we’re more than happy to help you figure out the value of your coins. Not only are we expert appraisers, but we’ll often buy the coins from you. Our dealers offer you the best possible price for your coin, and no one in Florida can beat our customer service. We provide a secure, safe location for you to receive appraisal of and fair value for your coins.


If you’re thinking about selling a proof set, remember that the value is raised when the set is complete. Selling off the coins one by one will actually decrease the value of your proof set, so make sure to sell them all at once. Work with a specialist to get a professional appraisal of the coins so you can be clear on their value. It’s the best way to ensure your set of beautiful, collectors’ coins earn you a fair amount.

What did you think of this article? Are we missing anything to help you understand proof coins and proof sets? Are you clear on what is a proof set and how to go about selling proof sets? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!