Coin Collecting at the Safir House
Proof Sets - Silver and Clad


Proof Sets are coins struck by the mint which have specially treated and polished dyes and which are most often struck with special care, at slower rates and more pressure to create an idealized version of the coin. Proof Sets are a common way which people are introduced into coin collecting. They are not created for general circulation, although many proof sets are cracked open by collectors fishing for top level proofs which they send away to the various certication and grading companies to be graded and slabbed. Those that don't make the mustard are then basically dumped into circulation. So it is possible to aquire a proof coin, from time to time, in circulation.

Some Proofs are hard to spot for a beginner collector. For example, Franklin Halves, especially in the years where the dyes were weak in detail, are hard to seperate proofs from brilent uncirculated coins due to the lack of detail on the coin with Franklin's jovial round cheeks and balding head. On older coins, the difference between great business strikes and proofs can be disputed even by experts. Sometimes there is a question whether any proofs have ever been struck for that coin and year.

While the US Mint had created Proof Sets and Proof coins from time to time for a variety of reasons, US Proof Sets didn't become a regular product line for the Mint until in the the middle of the 20th Century starting in 1936. Production stopped between 1942 and 1949 and then picked up again by the mint in the post war boom from 1950 on until the present although in 1983 only a "Prestige" set which inlcuded a Los Angeles XXIII Olympiad Dollar.

At least from 1955 proof sets were sold in a clear flat plastic wrapper to protect the coins. However the wrapper as can be seen here make photographing the sets a real challenge without studio equipment. Many of the photographs of our proof are taken with this wrapper so I apologize in advance for the lack of clarity of some of these photographs. In the 1980's the mint started to produce these coins in hard plastic cases which made them much more viewable and photogenic.

The real boon in Proof quality and production happens after the Reagan Administration makes available the new American Silver Eagle coins in Proof and Uncirculated versions. On until the present both the cases and the coins have improved in the quality and the strikes today are nearly all perfect in detail and presentation. Computer aided dye production and design greatly enhance the average coin received from the mint

Obverse of one of several 1963 Proof Sets that we own.
This set still have silver dimes, quarters, and halves and if the last year with the
Franklin Half Dollar. The assasination of JFK leads to a change of the half dollar in 1964.

This is the reverse of the same set. We own several 1963 sets because that is the year of
my birth. This might not be the best of them but it is the one which photographed the best.

Here is a close up of the reverse of the 1963 Lincoln Cent and you can see the detail the proof allows in the statue of Lincoln inside the memorial and the shrubbery on around the stairs. This closeup also demonstrates the problems identifying Proof Franklins of this period. Even on this closeup the details of the liberty bell are washed out. There just wasn't enough quality control in the period for that coin

Several other close ups are worth viewing including this photo of the obverse quarter of the same set and this this reverse dime of another 1963 set and this fine picture of a obverse quarter, nickel, dime and half in the same set as the dime

This this the obverse of the second 1963 proof set which was had close ups of the dime, nickel, quarter and half above.

This is the reverse of the same set

The 1982 Proof Set below is in a hard plastic case. The resuting photgraphy is much cleaner and perhaps some of the coins are nicers as well. Particulary nice is the obverse of the Kenedy Half dollar which has exquisite detail and satin finish on the facets.
1982 Proof Set Obverse
1982 Obverse
1982 Proof Set Reverse
1982 Reverse
1982 Proof Cent Obverse
1982 Proof Cent Obverse
1982 Proof Cen Reverse
1982 Proof Cent Revser
1982 Proof
1982 Proof Nickel Oberverse
1982 Proof
1982 Proof Nickel Reverse - nice detail of the building
1982 Proof
1982 Proof Dime Obverse
1982 Proof
1982 Proof Dime Reverse
1982 Proof
1982 Proof Quarter Obverse
1982 Proof
1982 Proof Quarter Reverse
1982 Proof
1982 Proof Kenedy Half Obverse
1982 Proof
1982 Proof Kenedy Half Reverse

We also have a 1979 Proof Set which is was a throw in from fastcoins. Not an official set, this collection is in a commonly available hard plastic holder and was put together by someone, possibly left over coins from someone trying to find deep cameo proofs for grading. Over all it is a nice set.
1979 Proof Set Obverse
1979 Proof Set Obverse
1979 Proof Set Reverse
1979 Proof Set Reverse
1979 Proof Cent Obverse
1979 Proof Set Cent Obverse
1979 Proof Cent Reverse
1979 Proof Set Cent Reverse
1979 Proof Set Dime Reverse
1979 Proof Set Dime Reverse
1979 Nickel and Dime Proof Set Obverse
1979 Proof Set Nickel and Dime Obverse
1979 Nickel and Dime Reverse
1979 Proof Set Nickel and Dime Reverse
1979 Proof Quarter Obverse
1979 Proof Set Quarter Obverse
1979 Quarter Proof Reverse
1979 Proof Set Quarter Reverse
1979 Kenedy Proof Obverse
1979 Proof Set Half Obverse
1979 Proof Half Reverse
1979 Proof Set

We buy current Silver Proof Sets from the Mint. Here is the 2008 with the silver State Quarters, and the Presidential Dollars. All the Modern sets are San Fransico productions. The Quarters are Oaklahoma, New Mexico (which is a very nice design), Arizona, Alaska and Hawiai. The Alaskan bear is nice and is the first Bear on a US Coin.

The Presidents (and I dislike these coins) are Monroe, Quincy Adams, Jackson and New York's Van Buren
2008 Silver Proof Presidential Obverse 2008 Silver Proof Presidential Obverse
2008 Silver Proof Obverse Quarters 2008 Silver Proof Quarter Reverse
2008 Silver Proof Coinage Obverse 2008 Silver Proof Reverse

Coin Forum Links

Coin Collectors Hangout
Last 10 Topics

The Safir Family Internet Coins Library.

Click to see these examples show below including photography: note to lawyer: most of the good stuff is gone
Section I:
US Coints
Large Cent Coppers
Flying Eagle Cents
Lincoln Cents and Wheat Backs
Buffalo Nickels
Jefferson Nickels
Jefferson Silver War Nickels
Bust Half Dimes
Mercury (Liberrty Head) Dimes
Roosevelt Dime
Barber Quarter Dollars
Standing Libery Quarter
Washington and Washington State Quarters
Cap Bust Half Dollars
Seated Half Dollars
Barber Half Dollars
Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Franklin Half Dollars
Kennedy Half Dollars
Morgan Silver Dollars
Peace Silver Dollars
Eisenhower Clad and Silver Dollars
Sacawagea Golden Dollars
Modern Silver and Clad Proof Sets
Modern American Silver Eagle uncirculated mint coins and proofs
Modern Silver and Clad 2008 Commorative Bald Eagle Series
Gold Coins - Not too many
Circulated US Silver Coins prior to 1964

Go To Section II:
Modern and Ancient Foreign Coins from Outside The United States

Go To Section III:
Mandy's 25th Anniversary World Wildlife Fund Silver Coins

Unsorted Extra stuff:
Bust US Coinage
From the coin Show at Melville Long Island

The Safir Family Internet Coins Library: Foriegn Coins.

Several mints from around the world make exciting coin designs in circulating alloys, silver and gold. Among my favorites are the Perth Mint in Austrailia which produces a variety of coins for nations mostly through out the Pacific Rim. The Neatherlands has also produced some interesting designs, and several private US based mints have produced foreign currency on contract, include the Franklin Mint which has produced many Israeli Coins.
Our interest in foreign coins has been nominal but rapidly growing as it seems that US designs are so stuck in the mud. Also, foreign mints are creating bold new designs with color and bimetal designs that are both eye catching and fun.

Ruben Safir's Front Page
Coin Collection