MS vs. SMS

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by chascat, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know the difference between a 1965 Kennedy in mint state vs. in special mint set? I know this question sounds ignorant, but on many occasions, I simply can,t tell them apart. If I didn,t have prior knowledge of where the coins came from in the first place, I wouldn,t know where to start.

    Another Kennedy date is the 2005-p sms vs. ms. I have several of each and I can,t tell any difference in them. They are all high grade, all look like satin finish, and all are identical.

    Has anyone else had this problem?
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  3. Cascade

    Cascade CAC Variety Nerd

    That's the bane of SMS coins. At least we have a W on the burnished ase to tell that apart
    chascat likes this.
  4. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    Sometimes the only way you can tell them apart is if the coin has a die variety particular to SMS or business strike coins. TPGs have a tendency to just slap SMS on high grade coins of those years.
    Hunting Rare and chascat like this.
  5. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    The SMS coins of the 60's are more prooflike since proof coins were not produced from '65 to '67. It should be easy to tell them from typical business strikes because of their mirrored finish.

    The satin finish used on the Mint Sets beginning in the year 2005 is more like the special finish used on the 1998 Kennedy in my avatar. You're not going to find any business strikes during the same period that have a finish like that.



  6. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    Chris, You missed the point. I too have many examples of SMS, SP, Matte Proof, etc. My inquiry is simply to see if anyone knows if there are any die markers or rev. or obv. design differences in the two series I inquired about earlier. I have on several occasions not been able to tell SMS from MS coins. In other words, no proof like finishes are evident. In the case of the 2005-p Kennedys, I can,t find any difference whatsoever between SMS and MS.
  7. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Why would you think there would be die markers to distinguish between the two? Do you think that only one pair of dies were used for the business strike coins and only one pair of dies for the SMS or satin finish coins? Die markers would identify one specific die, not all of them.

  8. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    Chris, Paul M. suggested possible die markers as a method for id. I can see your point that they would not represent the entire run. Do you know of any design changes between SMS and MS strikes other than polishing differences?

  9. green18

    green18 Unknown member Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Nope........and neither do the third party graders......
  10. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    I believe @Paul M was referring to any marker that may help identify a specific variety. It has nothing to do with being an identifier for all SMS or MS coins. To my knowledge, there aren't any design changes that differentiates between SMS and MS coins.

  11. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is correct. For instance, on 1967 halves, there is a DDR that occurs on only on business strike coins. So, if you have a 1967 "SMS" half with a DDR, it's been misattributed.
  12. brg5658

    brg5658 Supporter! Supporter

    Many Special Mint Set (SMS) coins from 65-67 do not have much of if any of a mirrored finish, and their surfaces are not what I'd even call prooflike. It is not always easy to differentiate these, and even the TPGs get it wrong. Sure, there are some SMS coins from the 1960s that have mirrorlike surfaces, and even some frosty devices to merit Cameo or Ultra Cameo designations -- but there are also a lot of these SMS coins with surfaces very similar to the business strikes from the same years.
    Hunting Rare and Paul M. like this.
  13. chascat

    chascat Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the support. I will continue to study these illusive Phantom coins in an effort to further educate myself in this mysterious early Kennedy era.
  14. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Yeah, you're right Brandon. I was thinking out of the wrong end of my body.

    However, I'm still right about the satin finish mint sets.

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