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  1. #1
    us
    Apr 2011
    Northeast
    388
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Which unopened/sealed proof sets offer the best buy?

    Looking at proof sets (50's mostly ), and wondering which unopened/sealed proof sets offer best bang for the buck?

    A lot of sets go for $30 ($10 more than the silver value @ $32.xx), but some sets (1955) going for a lot more.

    Which sets are best to buy to find those cameos or coins that are worth a lot of money?



    On a side note.. I know most coins after the 50's that have an S mint mark means that they are strictly from a proof set. In the 50's, there lots of variations, so I am not sure which coins will come inside the proof sets.

    I.e. 1953 offers a no mint mark, a D, and an S. So if I buy a proof set, do I get the s mint mark?

    Others include:

    1954
    1954D
    1954S

    1957
    1957D

    1959
    1959D

    1955 only has a no mint mark coin...
    "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."



    March '12 Finds: 186 40%, 24 90% (36.19 troy oz)

  2. #2
    us
    Jan 2012
    Maryland
    White's Coinmaster
    5,814
    632 times
    Coin Roll Hunting
    Before the 1960s, all proofs were minted in Philly.

  3. #3
    us
    Dec 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    Whites DFX; Minelab eTrac
    1,127
    22 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (2)
    As mentioned above all proof sets prior to 1964 were minted in Philadelphia and contain no mint mark. From your post it appears you are interested in buying 1950's unopened sets and opening them in hopes of getting Cameo coins to re-sell at a quick profit. So here comes a bit of a history lesson. In the 50's the focus was on issuing proof sets and NOT on making sure that each proof was a cameo. The mint made fewer proof dies and used them longer. As a result very few cameo coins were created from that era when compared to the total proof production for the year. Also prior to 1955 (1955 has both types) the proof coins were placed in a cellophane envelope and sealed with a staple. That staple often reacted with the metal in the coin and caused spotting and/or toning. From 1955 on the proof sets were issued in flat packs where the coins were encased in sealed packs that contained one of each denomination.

    Just like any other antique a lot of the value (IMHO) of the unopened proof sets comes from the fact that there are very few unopened sets available compared to the total production for that year. If you buy one and open it and don't get cameo coins you have reduced the number of unopened sets making those that remain even more valuable (at least in theory). Also don't forget that most of the opened sets were placed in Capital plastic holders. During the transfer process the coins were handled and exposed to the atmosphere so more than a few got toned, carbon spotted or adorned with finger prints. While some collectors prefer the toned look many more do not.

    My guess is that you would have to buy and open a large number of those unopened sets in order to find even one cameo proof and for those already selling above the silver premium all you would be left with is a nice proof set whose value is slightly less than an unopened set.

  4. #4
    us
    Apr 2011
    Northeast
    388
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by waseeker View Post
    As mentioned above all proof sets prior to 1964 were minted in Philadelphia and contain no mint mark. From your post it appears you are interested in buying 1950's unopened sets and opening them in hopes of getting Cameo coins to re-sell at a quick profit. So here comes a bit of a history lesson. In the 50's the focus was on issuing proof sets and NOT on making sure that each proof was a cameo. The mint made fewer proof dies and used them longer. As a result very few cameo coins were created from that era when compared to the total proof production for the year. Also prior to 1955 (1955 has both types) the proof coins were placed in a cellophane envelope and sealed with a staple. That staple often reacted with the metal in the coin and caused spotting and/or toning. From 1955 on the proof sets were issued in flat packs where the coins were encased in sealed packs that contained one of each denomination.

    Just like any other antique a lot of the value (IMHO) of the unopened proof sets comes from the fact that there are very few unopened sets available compared to the total production for that year. If you buy one and open it and don't get cameo coins you have reduced the number of unopened sets making those that remain even more valuable (at least in theory). Also don't forget that most of the opened sets were placed in Capital plastic holders. During the transfer process the coins were handled and exposed to the atmosphere so more than a few got toned, carbon spotted or adorned with finger prints. While some collectors prefer the toned look many more do not.

    My guess is that you would have to buy and open a large number of those unopened sets in order to find even one cameo proof and for those already selling above the silver premium all you would be left with is a nice proof set whose value is slightly less than an unopened set.
    Very nice lesson.. I am more of a silver collector (junk), but I can't help myself in buying older sets that have been preserved for the years. I am also thinking about getting the America the Beautiful Quarter Proof Sets..

    In any case, I learned a lot of information AFTER I already bought 3 1963 sets and 1 1961 set ($124 total). I might just keep them unopened because I doubt I will find anything spectacular. I know the pre-'60 sets sell for much higher for the reasons you mentioned and the amount of proof sets made in those years (fewer than the 60's).

    I also notice a lot of sales online for brand new mint envelopes that are identical to those that the mint sent out. All someone would have to do is try and age it a bit, then place the cello in the envelope and mail out (after they made sure the coin was not cameo, etc)...

    I might just be on a kick, but I think it would be cool to buy up some of these and put them away.

    I ran across some double mint sets also that would be a nice accompaniment to the proof sets.
    "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."



    March '12 Finds: 186 40%, 24 90% (36.19 troy oz)

  5. #5
    us
    Dec 2006
    Pacific Northwest
    Whites DFX; Minelab eTrac
    1,127
    22 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (2)
    Anyone who has been collecting for a while has a similar story. We learn (hopefully) from experience. The main thing is to collect what you enjoy. Stay away from purchases from the TV hucksters and the "national" dealers who want you to spend so much per month on coins they choose. Try to find a coin shop and a coin club near you. Also buy the book and read read read

 

 

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