I have been assembling a circulated three cent nickel book and I am down to those last two dates. Circulated business strikes are many thousands of dollars but the proof strikes are hundreds. I’m not doing a registry set, just plugging holes so unquestionably those last two spaces will be filled with proofs when @ToughCOINS finds them for me. I have about halfway been thinking that I may carry those proofs around in my pocket change for a while so they look like they belong in my Dansco, but that seems deceptive to me. There are no mint marks to identify a proof from a business strike, so once I wear down the rims and devices a bit, how would one tell that it isn’t an impaired proof?

Who would you be deceiving? I'm sure there are impaired proofs out there. I wouldn't buy a coin and try to lower it's grade.

I too have a hard time justifying lowering a coins grade and that alone will likely keep me from doing it….. I have a complete Merc book and the 1916-D is a contemporary counterfeit. My genuine 16-D is slabbed… But I have a sticky note in the book that says the 16-D is counterfeit…. Heck I am old. I don’t want my wife having to haggle with folks over my collection when I “retire”.

Ron Guth's comments in PCGS CoinFacts "beware of proofs masquerading" and the comment on 1885 imply there are ways to differentiate. WRT my 3CS XF set, I've just accepted impaired proofs as they are. They're on the "someday I'll downgrade" list. Below filling the true holes. PS: Anyone want to buy an 1867 PF58? I lucked into an old ANACS Soap Box holdered XF40...

After all the years collecting I've come to a cross road if I care to fill key holes in certain series or enjoy the coins in hand....there's been a couple which were filled then sold....never replaced....well not as of yet. This is a story for you Randy...its about a dealer friend who owned Arundel Coin in down town Glen Burnie Md. Since the mid 1960's. Sonny told me this story on a LCS visit one day. He in the 1960's was assembling a set of 3 cn coins. Like you he got to those mintages that where like you impossible to find...if they even exist? As Sonny told me for 1 solid year he took out a ad in coin world a 1/4 page...he included of course his business ad...and a request for those key date 3 cn coins. Now he goes on to say oh the ad worked great ...I got responces from all over...I had coins mailed to me weekly...only to be returned as they weren't MS they were Proof strikes....none were ms coins. All returned to senders...set never completed. I share this not to discourage you...but again there's dates ,mm, varieties so rare one can only rely on luck...to be in the right place the right time.. I too collect 3 cn ,as well 3 cent silvers, half dimes....however you ever see the mintages of the 1846 h-10? Or any date Philly mint from 1863-1869. I do understand that some need to see completion in their lives...but I've learned to enjoy the ride...as much as the destination.