US Mint sets versus Proof sets...

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by LA_Geezer, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    There has to be a distinction and there is, but my experience on ebay is that sellers, probably very innocently, are mislabeling the sets they have for sale. This is especially true for items from the Sixties where I have spent a little time and money, only to discover that what I have received isn't necessarily what I thought I was buying. This leads me to asking those whose knowledge is far more complete than mine for some help in making certain that I know what I am looking at as I view the thousands of sets that are up for sale.

    Some of the mint sets that I have received — those for 1975 & 1976 specifically — have both P & D coins in the US Treasury envelopes that come with the coins. Some of these have light orange printed cards describing the set in the envelopes, others don't, but these are often only Philadelphia minted coins. My question here is concerns whether there was a time when the mint sent out ONLY the P coins in the mint set, OR, have the ones I have received actually been proof coins that were sold to me as a mint set?

    As I look over the many listings, there seems to be only a few that have both P&D coin sets, most are just listed as mint sets with only one cellophane set, not two. In this link of an auction for multiple year sets, the seller pictures what I believe are BOTH coin sets that are from original mint sets and others that are from proof sets. He does not distinguish these in his auction title, but it is obvious that there are those that have red seals, others with blue and some that are clear. I note also that there are different sorts of "stickers" on the cellophane, and I think these distinguish proof from uncirculated regular coins. Is this correct?

    There isn't much at all in the Red Book, and no pictures either. I would appreciate knowing about the history of these sets, whether the mint sets have always had P&D or whether these were separate items years ago. Thanks for the help.
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  3. Blissskr

    Blissskr Well-Known Member

    That printed orange card only came with proof coins, there was a white card that came with mint sets as a divider though. In the picture link on Ebay you shared I count six proof sets in there. They are readily identifiable by the proof set token which is stamped aluminum versus the plastic coin used in mint sets. Also proof coin sets never come with the red or blue stripes on the edge of the cellophane as that was only used on mint set coins and blue/dark blue for Philly & Red for Denver

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
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  4. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    1959-1964 sets are in similar packaging for proofs and mint sets (the mint set has coins from all mints in it).

    1965-1967 are the years of the special mint sets (no other sets were made in those years). The 65 is in an envelope while the 66&67 are in plastic holders.

    Starting with 1968 the proof sets came in hard plastic cases (while mint sets were in cellophane packages).

    Mint sets always included P&D (and sometimes S while San Fran was still striking coins for circulation with a mintmark). Initially all the sets were placed in one envelope but at some point (I’m not sure which exact year) the Mint started using separate envelopes for P and D (buying a mint set from the mint would mean you would receive both...on eBay you might see just one set due to people breaking up sets for various reasons like albums or grading).
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  5. JayF

    JayF Active Member

    PCGS has a 1964 philly SMS listed (also called it Special Strike), was that a mistake from the mint?
  6. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    That is a fairly rare set. It’s not a mistake, but it doesn’t appear to have been intended to be released to the general public.

    See more here:
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    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    In the regular Red Book, yeah you're right. All they have is a listing of the sets. But there are other Red Books, like this one -

    But as you can see that only covers the Proofs, so no good at all for the Mint Sets. But there are plenty of other books. And that's the key, you need to buy a book or two. This one is in my opinion the best -

    It gives ya everything ya need, info and pictures, including packaging, so you can tell what is what and what it's supposed to contain. There are several other books out there, I used to have them all but over the years have passed them on to others. A quick search on Google and or Amazon will find them for you.
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  8. JayF

    JayF Active Member

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  9. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Mint sets from 1959 to date are made up of two sets, one for P one for D. From 1959 to 64 and 1968 to I think 1998 they were the pliofilm sets. The 1959 to 1981 sets had a gray plastic disc in each set that identified the mint and the sets had either a red or blue edge depending on the mint. (I don't remember which mint used which color.) The sets from 1984 to 1998 replaced the plastic disc with a copper plated zinc cent planchet stamped with which mint it was and I believe the edge of each set was still either red or blue.

    In 1965 to 1967 they made "special mint sets". A creation that was neither a business strike or a proof set. These contained just one set of coins because there were no mintmarks in those years. The 1965 set comes in pliofim, and the 66 and 67 sets come in a hard plastic holder.

    Proof sets started in pliofilm in 1955 and stayed that way thru 1964. They contained just one set of coins from Philadelphia The sets had a multi-sided embossed metal "sticker" in the set that Identified it as a "US Mint Proof set" These sets do NOT have a colored edge. In 1968 proof set production was moved to San Francisco and all proof sets for 1968 to date are in hard plastic cases of various types.

    I think that covered all your questions.
  10. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    Yes it did; particular thanks to @ddddd who jumped right in there. I'll take a look at some of those other books, @GDJMSP , but as I am looking to add just another mint set or two — I bought what were described as mint sets which were, in fact, proof sets — I'll probably not buy one of these.
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  11. bhh

    bhh Well-Known Member

    Excellent information above. One thing that I believe is misleading on EBAY in particular is that many, many times proof sets from the late fifties and early sixties are described as "mint proof sets" and even occasionally as "mint sets" which is confusing particularly when the packaging looks so similar (especially to those who may not have much experience with these sets). I've found the best way to search is for "uncirculated mint sets, however, this still yields a fair number of proof sets. As many others have said, the red and blue lines are an easy way to be sure you are looking at a mints set.
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  12. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

  13. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Your choice of course, but consider this. You could buy a used copy of the Guth book for less than $10 - and always know what you were looking at when thinking about buying. So owning that book would have saved you what you spent in that 1 transaction, and more than paid for itself, twice I suspect, in the bargain.

    That is the value of books and how they pay for themselves usually many times over.
  14. ValpoBeginner

    ValpoBeginner Well Known Supporter

    Coin world did an article on this problem in an issue a few weeks back.
    edited - copyright
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2018
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  15. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    Unlike many collectors, I am not interested in odd/freak/mistake coins, ValpoBeginner; I guess that could include mistake packaging such as these mint sets. Many years ago my wife got a two-headed nickel in her change and we found out that these were just joke coins that were available everywhere. Maybe I should have paid attention to the time when I was a kid that I bought an Elvis Presley 45 RPM record that had the wrong label and artist on the flip side, it might have ended up being a rare collectible. I didn't even bother to play it, but just got back on my bike and rode to the store for a refund.

    Anyway, at my age, my eyesight is not good enough to notice the small imperfections that mesmerize many a collector. As a lagniappe, a coin seller sent me a 2017 penny with some sort of mistake on it. Since it came in a cardboard flip I just put it into this box of coins I have. If it had been I who received that mint set with the wrong dated coins in it I probably wouldn't have noticed at all.
  16. LA_Geezer

    LA_Geezer Well-Known Member

    I put this Guth book on my Amazon wish list, @GDJMSP . Everything else has been on a back burner, as I have been fighting off the snipers for a super good looking 1908S IHC. I put a personal $150 limit on one of these, but, alas, those with the deeper pockets have been paying upwards of $400 for one of these I'd like to have... it's insane! I paid less than $50 for a pretty darn nice looking one a few years back that I'm guessing would go for about twice that today. I finally won one over night for $132.50 that just might fit into my plans for another set of these that I'll be looking to assemble for under $5K.
  17. juris klavins

    juris klavins Well-Known Member

    Used copies are available for $9.04 / free shipping
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