Unique Finish - 1983 Philadelphia Mint Souvenir Set

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Pawstruck, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Tamaracian

    Tamaracian Member

    As you may already know, this Souvenir Set (as-well-as the 1982 P&D and 1983 D Sets) in the Mint packaging is very scarce (original mintage about 15,000 Sets and only available from the Mint's Gift Shop) and was therefore worthy enough to be listed in the Red Book since the 2017 edition. The better quality finish is probably due to use of a fresh Working Die and the first strikings from that Die for each denomination, with ejection from the press into a smaller vessel (to minimize bag marks) rather than the larger Bin that is used for gathering the high-speed production for business strikes.
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  3. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    The quarter is very nice. I think 66 is a shoe-in and 66+ quite likely. It has a shot at 67 but it's hard to say from a picture. There's enough chatter that I would expect 66+.

    FB is really tough on this date dimes. But these are valuable in much lower grade than yours if it is.

    I've seen some really top notch '83-P souvenir sets but none with multiple winners. I've even seen sets with almost all the coins gemmy. Let me say it this way; there are better sets than yours overall but this one might have more total value and rarity.
    Pickin and Grinin likes this.
  4. Pawstruck

    Pawstruck CoinTalk Survivor

    Thanks so much, Thomas--yes, it does look like a full torch and is a very clean coin--so is the 25C--the black lines in the photo are on the cellophane.
  5. Pawstruck

    Pawstruck CoinTalk Survivor

    Tamaracian--Always love hearing mint details...thanks very much. I knew these sets were rare but didn't realize they were in the Red Book.
  6. john65999

    john65999 Well-Known Member


    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    The coins in the annual Mint Sets, including all the Souvenir Sets from every year, were taken from regular business strike runs every year until about the late 1990's. If memory serves it was 1998 before the mint ever made a separate run of coins for the annual Mint Sets. Since then, there has always been a separate run for those coins. But before that, there never was.

    So if any set is particularly nice, it's nothing more than a matter of chance.
  8. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    It is the WHOLE 1983 Philadelphia Souvenir Set, the Philadelphia and Denver sets were separate sets were not in the same envelope and were not sold together.
    Inspector43 likes this.
  9. Pawstruck

    Pawstruck CoinTalk Survivor

    Thanks John65999, GDJMSP and Condor101...
  10. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    Anyone collecting these mint sets knows this isn't true.

    Since 1965 the exact methods to make these sets and coins has changed again and again but a few things have remained constant. The coins are made by new dies at lower speed and higher pressure. And they are washed and dried.

    This hardly assures every coin is a Gem but finding Gems in mint sets is like shooting fish in a barrel compared to looking for them in boxes or bags.

    Of course souvenir sets are different and are not specially made. However, they did take a lot of care in the selection of which coins were used in the sets. This same applies to all of the privately packaged sets for '82 and '83 though these are often poor anyway because many bags of these dates contained no nice coins at all.

    Ironically the souvenir sets for these dates are among the least likely places to find Gems. This goes several times over for the '82-P quarter and is somewhat true for the '83-P. Numismatic News sets are the best for the '82 and P&J sets probably are best for the '83.

    The reason Gems of these dates are scarce is that very few were made at all and most went into circulation. And then very few coins were saved at all. What were saved is by no means representative of the garbage that was struck in those years. In typical years there would be thousands of Gems placed into regular mint sets.

    The mint didn't own up to the quality of these sets until 1996 when they finally admitted they were made specially (just like SMS) but this had been true all along for clads. Now these mint sets are gone because they were unloved and allowed to corrode away. (I hope to have some good news on this topic soon.)
  11. Pawstruck

    Pawstruck CoinTalk Survivor

    Fascinating @cladking --thanks for the background info...
  12. Pawstruck

    Pawstruck CoinTalk Survivor

    Thanks so much for this assessment @cladking ...I love the clad coins too. I wish I could master this whole light thing when it comes to photography--kind of frustrating to capture the beauty of these coins. The most striking thing about this set is the lack of nicks and dings and the bright fields--it looks handpicked.

    The obverse of the 1C (in the close-up I posted) is almost flawless (minus the carbon spots) and the 10C actually looks pretty close to flawless. I have a digital microscope and traced the full bands to the ends of the torch, so they are there. You have to look to find the chatter on the quarter and it's fairly minimal. I am hoping to get some better pics posted soon...
  13. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    We're gonna have to agree to disagree. The process you're describing didn't start until the late 90's.
  14. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    Looks like a nice set! The weak link is the cent, which has a couple nasty spots on the obverse that would limit the grade to 64. The dime, if graded 66FB, would be a home run. As mentioned, these are worth a lot in the original packaging. I see two possibilities for grading this set, if that's what you want to do, both of which would require contacting NGC ahead of time for pricing and instructions.

    The first option would be to have the entire set, including the medallion, put into a multi-coin holder. NGC is the only service that offers this right now, which is why I mention them. The original packaging of the set would be lost, but the coins would be more easily viewed in the new holder, and if you get a high FB grade on the dime, that's a win.

    The second option would be to have the set with packaging put into a holder like those NGC uses for the GSA soft pack coins. I don't know if they'd do this for these sets, but you'd have to ask or have someone ask for you. The packaging would be preserved, but any grades they assign to the coins are not guaranteed, since they're not seeing the coins outside of the packaging. You'd also be looking at the coins through an additional layer of plastic and the coins would be free to move around in their original packaging.
    Pawstruck likes this.
  15. Pawstruck

    Pawstruck CoinTalk Survivor

    Thanks very much for the great info messydesk--very helpful. I will call ahead and ask NGC if I decide to do this. I agree about the carbon spots--the only thing that makes me wonder about maybe getting a little bit higher grade on it is the finish (very glossy) and the fact that it's almost nick-free. Can always hope, I guess...
  16. cladking

    cladking Coin Collector

    A lot has been going on in the mint set market since February. These sets are still suffering extreme attrition and degradation through tarnish and lack of concern but this is where the good news lies. The set prices have come up to and even exceed the aggregate prices of the coins in them. For years a $4 mint set contained six or seven dollars worth of coins. Now the prices of the coins are firming and increasing and the sets are worth more than the coins. So that $4 now has $8 worth of coins and sells for $9 instead of four. The premiums (value over face) are up many multiples on some coins. Two years ago you couldn't give away a 1974 mint set for more than a few cents over face value, and now it wholesales at $11.

    I've also found a quicker, cleaner, and easier way to clean the coins. This is not a cure all and many coins need other measures and really bad coins can't be restored at all but dilute dishwashing liquid will restore most lightly tarnished coins. I still use acetone and 91% isopropyl along with a few others but the new technique has greatly streamlined the process.

    Right now it's Ike and half dollars driving these prices but very soon I expect the demand for the quarters and dimes to simply swamp the surviving supply of mint sets. I'm expecting continuing increases in Ikes, faster increases in half and a virtual buying panic in the other clads. Buyers are looking for nice chBU coins meaning white or toned coins with luster and minimal marking. As issued about 90% of mint set coins (depending on date) were of this grade or higher. There aren't many roll coins but they are less likely to meet it for several reasons. The one cent coins and nickels will surprise people as well. Most of these are exceedingly common and are "never" going to have much premium but other dates can be extremely elusive because they were never set aside, the rolls tarnished, or the mint set coins tarnished. There are going to be quite a few that have significant premiums in nice grade. Some of the commoner ones have fewer surviving coins in BU than the '50-D nickel. The scarce ones will surprise people.

    Price increases are very subdued right now because they made million of sets and they've been coming out of the woodwork but the market will chew through these pretty quick I think. Most of the mint sets have been destroyed through apathy and tarnish.
    Pickin and Grinin and ldhair like this.
  17. Long Beard

    Long Beard Well-Known Member

    I would have to agree with the others as to leaving the set intact. The value has been steadily increasing with little if any signs of ever coming down. Much greater than the individual values. As for having it conserved, are you referring to the carbon spots? If so, sorry but they are embedded into the surface and can not be removed.
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