Are the coins in uncirculated sets really different from circulating coins?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by pomyluy, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. pomyluy

    pomyluy Member

    I'm trying to assemble a complete set of each different type of 2019 San Antonio quarter, and I haven't been able to find a definitive, convincing answer to the following question:

    Are the coins in uncirculated sets really different from circulating coins?

    According to the US Mint's website, the answer to this question is yes. The page for the 2019 uncirculated set claims "United States Mint uncirculated coins are struck on special presses using greater force than circulating coins, producing a sharp, intricately detailed image." But if this is the case, why can't I find any graded examples of both types of uncirculated quarters, i.e. the "special" uncirculated quarters from the mint sets as well as the "regular" uncirculated quarters struck for circulation?

    This could just be a dumb question, but I'd really like to get to the bottom of it so I can complete my set. So far, I've got the following quarters, all graded by PCGS:
    • 2019-P San Antonio 5 oz silver, SP 70
    • 2019 (P) San Antonio 5 oz (bullion), MS 69 DMPL
    • 2019-S San Antonio silver proof, PR 69
    • 2019-S San Antonio clad proof, PR 70
    • 2019-S San Antonio clad, MS 66
    • 2019-W San Antonio clad, MS 66
    • 2019-D San Antonio clad, MS 66 (presumably circulation strike)
    • 2019-P San Antonio clad, MS 66 (presumably circulation strike)
    And then, ungraded:
    • 2019-P San Antonio clad, taken from 2019 uncirculated set
    • 2019-D San Antonio clad, taken from 2019 uncirculated set
    If the uncirculated set coins really are different from the business strikes, I'd love your advice on how to tell them apart when it comes to graded, slabbed coins since I haven't been able to figure it out myself. Thanks!
     
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  3. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    I could be entirely wrong here so I'll be clear about that up front...... I have understood that the business strikes and the uncirculated coin sets came from the same dies, only difference being in the special mint sets produced in the 60's when we didn't have proof sets. The only difference being that they are handled differently...... Again, I preface that with the fact that I am saying what I believe I remember from a previous thread. And my "remember" brain cells ain't what they used to be!! Fortunately we have some folks here that probably do know the definitive answer...... Welcome to the forum.
     
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  4. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    The answer is - yes, technically they are different. However, the differences are extremely minor and there is no consistent way to tell them apart once they've been removed from the set.

    So, no, they are not designated as such and not (usually) collected as separate issues.
     
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  5. Inspector43

    Inspector43 72 Year Collector

    From 2005 through 2010 the coins in "mint sets" had a satin finish. So you definitely have two different coins to collect for a full set there.
     
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  6. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    They're basically just saying the set coins are supposed to be nicer than the ones for circulation. You likely have seen some graded set ones and just didn't know it.
     
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  7. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    From the mint website
    "United States Mint uncirculated coins are struck on special presses using greater force than circulating coins, producing a sharp, intricately detailed image."

    Is there a difference the grading companies acknowledge? Nope.

    however "The U.S. Mint produced a special satin finish in annual sets from 2005 to 2010, instead of the traditional business strike finish." there is a noticeable difference in the mint sets of those particular years. PCGS grades those coins as "SP" instead of "MS".

    I think NGC puts "Satin Finish" on the labels.

    As far as it goes for 2019 San Antonio quarters, there wouldn't be a real difference from the mint set one and one found new from circulation, BUT it might grade higher since it didn't go through the rolling machines and didn't get the extra rough handling of distribution.
    Your P+D, ungraded yet and taken from an uncirculated set may get you better than MS66. Maybe MS67 or MS68.

    and if you bought those P+Ds that were already graded, they might also be from a mint set. the usual business strike from a bank even new is usually MS64 or 65 if lucky.
     
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  8. pomyluy

    pomyluy Member

    Thanks for all the replies, this has been extremely helpful - I wish I'd thought to ask sooner! Sounds like I've been confusing myself over nothing, I knew there was some difference between standard circulating coins and the uncirculated set coins and turns out that I had the satin finish coins in mind. But I didn't realize those had stopped being produced after 2010, which is actually the last time I bought an uncirculated set up until last year. So it looks like my graded San Antonio quarter collection is complete, then. Awesome! :D
     
  9. Burton Strauss III

    Burton Strauss III Well-Known Member

    That's OK, there were several hundred years in the Middle Ages when learned (for the time) people argued over how many Angels could dance on the head of a pin.
     
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  10. Inspector43

    Inspector43 72 Year Collector

    My grandmother knew the exact number but never would tell us.
     
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  11. Cheech9712

    Cheech9712 Every thing is a guess

    @pomyluy I’d go with Randy’s answer
     
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