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United States Coin Proof Sets

Proof coins were originally minted specifically to check the dies before regular production began as a prototype for quality assurance. Beginning in the 1850s, proofs were allowed to be ordered directly from the mint, as their special frosted look and higher relief qualities were popular with collectors. Before this, proofs existed only internally at the mint, although some copies exist because they were either given away as presentation pieces to dignitaries or stolen from the mint.

These proof coins were eventually put into sets, which consisted of one proof copy of each coin minted that year. The first U.S. proof set was created in 1936. It consisted of the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar. Proof sets included the dollar from 1973 to 1981, and then again in 2000 with the introduction of the Sacajawea dollar.

Collecting U.S. coin proof sets has become especially popular in recent years due to the State Quarters program. The 1999 to 2008 proof set runs contain all five of each year's state quarters in proof as well as the remaining circulating coinage. As the U.S. Mint has created more unique and commemorative coinage, proof sets have retained their desirability. Proof sets are affordable for burgeoning young coin collectors, allowing them to obtain complete high-quality sets of a specific series of coins.


Quick Facts

  • Despite their origins in quality testing, proof sets are not entirely without their own rarities and flaws. Several have missing, malformed, or misshapen mint marks
  • An original 1936 proof set in PR65 condition sold in 2010 for just over $13,000
  • Proof sets are also sold in silver. While normal proof sets consist of the same base metals used for circulating coinage, silver proof sets use rarer materials, creating a gorgeous product reminiscent of when all coins were made that way

Recommended Items at Auction

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LOT OF 9 ASSORTED U.S. COMMEMORATIVE PROOF SETS INCLUDES SILVER
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LOT OF 16 2007-2013 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL $1 COIN PROOF SETS
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LOT OF 23 1999-2013 U.S. MINT STATE 50 STATE QUARTER PROOF SETS
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FIRST & LAST YEAR OF ISSUE .999 SILVER DOUBLE EAGLE PROOF SET
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LOT OF 30 1968-1998 U.S. MINT PROOF SETS WITH SILVER
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LOT OF 40 ASSORTED 1975-2010 U.S. MINT PROOF SETS
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LOT OF 5 1976 US BICENTENNIAL SILVER PROOF SETS
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Sellers Who Sell United States Coin Proof Sets


McCurley Auction Company

McCurley Auction Company

Key Date Coins

Key Date Coins

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Richard L. Edwards Auctioneer

Gold Standard Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions