Question about Unopened proof sets

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by zaneman, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. zaneman

    zaneman Former Moderator

    A dealer once told me that these originally came unsealed back in the day, and when people offer them as unopened, they are simply ill informed or dishonest. Does anyone know if this information was correct?
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  3. walterallen

    walterallen Coin Collector

    This question has interested me for some time. As a collector of proof sets on original packaging I too have questioned the integrity of some of these ads that claim sets have never been opened.

    Here is what I have found out. According to some mint personnel, from back in the day, envelope sets where not sealed at the mint. However, because of climate changes and humidity the glue on the envelopes would seal themselves. This sounds good, but I can't say for sure that it is true.

    I do have some sets from the sixties that are not sealed, the glue is dry. BUT, I have also come accross many sellers that have printed their own envelopes, with the aid of Microsoft. By the way the mint does not care that people are forgering mint envelopes and passing them off as originals.

    Personally I think it is a sellers scam to get a bid war going. I think most all sales that claim coins have not been searched are lies. Who in there right mind would not search for a potential rarity.
  4. samjimmy

    samjimmy New Member

    All the ones I have are unsealed... and never were. The coins are sealed in the celo, but that was the extent of the sealing, far as I know.
  5. jody526

    jody526 New Member

    I can only relate what was told to me, by a dealer from that same era.
    He told me that the boxes (or cases) were sealed for shipment through the mail, but once he opened the boxes, the individual proof set envelopes were unsealed.
    He doesn't sell coins anymore, but my understanding is that he had a thriving business, at one time, and sold a great deal of Mint products.

    I don't have first-hand experience, mainly because I couldn't have dreamed of buying something as expensive as a proof set, back in the 60's.
    Besides that, I'd much rather purchase coins that I can see, than to buy an envelope that "supposedly" has coins inside.
  6. JBK

    JBK Coin Collector

    The old paper envelope proof sets were issued unsealed, and the sealed flaps were the result of humidity or licking.
  7. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    There was a time when both Proof sets & Mint sets were sealed by the mint. With Proof sets it started in 1950 and ended in 1955. With Mint sets it started in 1947 and ended in 1958. Both of these were sealed in a different manner. From those dates on - none of the sets were sealed by the mint.

    The Proof sets were packaged in a small, square cardboard box and around the cardboard box was a strip of brown paper tape which sealed the top of the box to the bottom.

    The Mint sets were sealed in a different manner. The coins were shipped in an envelope which was addressed and mailed to the buyer. Inside was another plain, brown envelope which was unsealed. Only the outer, addressed envelope was sealed.

    Other than what I have described above, the only way that a Mint or Proof set may be considered to have been sealed by the Mint is if it is obtained in the original, sealed mailing package.
  8. dreamer94

    dreamer94 Coin Collector

    Unopened Proof Sets

    I recently obtained a number of pre-1965 proof sets. I noted that the return address of the envelopes said "Philadelphia 30, PA". At least some of the replacement envelopes offered for sale say simply "Philadelphia, PA".

    In addition, envelopes from 1956 and 1957 have the flap on the side of the envelope. Newer ones have the flap on the top. Interestingly (and suspiciously) the replacement envelopes dated 1956 and 1957 also have the flap on the top, similar to the newer ones.

    This is good evidence that the replacement envelopes are fake. I have tried to contact the US Mint to find out what the real envelopes look like, but so far I haven't gotten any information.

    Is anyone aware of whether any genuine US Mint envelopes omit the "30" in the return address? Was there a variation in the location of the flap?
  9. Mikjo0

    Mikjo0 Numismatist

    The Philadelphia,30 ran from 1955-1963.1964 said just Philadelphia (and the new zip code) and after that,they came boxed.As for the flaps,in my collection,the 1955-56 have side flaps but MY 1957 has a top flap and I'm positive it's original so there must have been variations at least in that year.They probably had leftover 1956 (unprinted) stock.
    Also,proof sets from this time came with two cardboard pieces,either white or manila to protect the coins in shipping,so if they're missing,it might be a red flag.You can see them behind the envelope in my photo and they've turned a bit yellow at the edges from age.

    Attached Files:

  10. Mikjo0

    Mikjo0 Numismatist

    Doug is absoloutely correct.I actually ordered this 1964 proof set (or my Dad did) and here is how it arrived.
    Sealed outer envelope and unsealed inner.Also the two pieces of cardboard and the Mint's somewhat abusive disclaimer (click pic twice to read it).:eek:

    Attached Files:

  11. dreamer94

    dreamer94 Coin Collector

    More on replacement envelopes

    Thanks for the pictures.

    The 1964 replacement envelope I purchased did not have the zip code on the return address. The one my 1964 proof set came in did have it.

    All of the sets I received contain either two pieces of flat cardboard with the cellophane pack in-between, or with the '56 and '57 sets, a piece of corrugated cardboard. The seller was open with me about the fact that he had replaced many of the envelopes.

    I contacted a seller who offers the replacement envelopes in large quantities on e-bay and asked him where he got them. His listings do not say that the envelopes are from the US Mint; they say only that they were purchased in 1965 at their store in Philadelphia. He replied that they were purchased from a "printing jobber". There is some plausibility that a printer would have them available in 1965, which is the year the Mint abandoned making proof sets. On the other hand, it's not clear why the printer would have 10 year-old envelopes on hand, unless they were asked to print them up. They all look the same; the old ones don't look more worn or yellowed. Also, what would make someone think that these envelopes would be so valuable in the future so as to justify buying thousands of them? He must have a huge number because you can buy them in lots of 250!

    There may be a way to determine when these envelopes were printed or how old the paper is but I sure don't know how to do it. I doubt if we'll get much help from the Mint since this all took place without their participation.

    It might be a useful public service to compile a collection of images of exactly how the original sets were packed. It would help collectors differentiate original ones from altered ones. I learned a number of facts so far, from this discussion.
  12. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator


    Such help exists already. It is called United States Proof Sets and Mint Sets - 1936 - 2002 by Ron Guth & Bill Gale. Click Here
  13. dreamer94

    dreamer94 Coin Collector

    Thanks for that suggestion. I'll probably order it from Amazon.com.
  14. Mikjo0

    Mikjo0 Numismatist

    Doug,
    I would love to order that book but in the meantime,can you answer a few other questions regarding the original packaging?I found a site that claims all proof sets from 1936-1955 came in the little boxes but I'm sure I've read that the early ones 1936-1942 came in cardboard strips with coin holes like the Whitman albums and this is the reason so many single proof coins from this period show heavy toning around the rims.Another website says they were sold (for $1.89) just wrapped in thin tissue paper and mailed in an envelope.
    This is a short,interesting article about it with an anecdote from the author that will make you wish YOU had been there:
    http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/signal/coins/sg060405-coins.htm

    Attached Files:

  15. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    The '36 - '42 Proof sets were sold in the same small cardboard boxes that the sets of the early '50s were sold in - if you bought a full set. Individual coins were wrapped in tissue paper and sold over the counter. But back then you could also order individual coins, or mutiples, (you didn't have to order a full set), and they placed in individual cellophane sleeves, wrapped in tissue paper and shipped in envelopes. Only the full sets were shipped in the small boxes.

    The cardboard strips you mention were after market items.

    Sol Taylor writes some interesting stuff, you will find other articles by him linked in the Numismatic Resources section ;)
  16. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

    Doug---am I just dreaming or am I right when I say that the mint made some 1916 Proof sets and they came in leather holders----??....seems like I've heard this a few times but can't remember.

    Speedy
  17. Mikjo0

    Mikjo0 Numismatist

  18. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

    Thanks Mikjo---must have been another year---I thought I had heard a friend on WINS talk about how he used to own one...but I can remember what year...

    Speedy
  19. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Prior to 1936, 1904 is the last year that they issued complete Proof sets. But, yes, they did sometimes issue them in leather presentation cases. But I can't swear that they issued any in 1904.
  20. Speedy

    Speedy Researching Coins Supporter

    That is what I needed to know---I wonder how many still are in the leather presentation cases....I bet not many if any.

    Speedy
  21. 19Lyds

    19Lyds Member of the United States of Confusion

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