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Proof Coins and Proof Coin Sets

Updated on December 30, 2014

Proof Coins and Proof Coin Sets

Proof Coin Production

A proof coin is a coin that is made in a special manner. First, a blank piece of metal that has no apparent flaws is placed in the die. The die itself is kept highly polished, and cleaned regularly. But, what produces the extremely vivid detail is the press applies higher pressure to the die, thus giving a highly detailed coin.

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The Process

Yes, there are foreign proof coins.

Circulating Coins often Have a Proof Version

Many circulating coins are also made with proof strikes. In the case of United States circulating coins, they are currently struck as the San Francisco Mint, making them easy to identify. However, this is not the case for commemorative coins and bullion coins. For those, one needs more evidence than a mint mark.

Proof Sets

Circulating proof coins are currently only issued in proof sets. These sets currently are special cases that protect the coins, while making them visible for display. Older sets had little physical protection, although the cellophane did offer some environmental protection.

It is recommended that proof coins that were issued as part of a proof set remain in the set. Separate modern circulating coins are harder to liquidate for a reasonable price. Most collectors want the entire set of coins, and prefer to also have them in the original case. Few seasoned collectors would purchase individual coins and make up a set.

Proof Coins

Commemorative Coins

Proof commemorative coins are issued in a special box, and often a Certificate of Authenticity. The only reason to remove a coin from its case is to have it graded, and the grading service should indicate the coin is proof.

Can Damage Occur?

If a coin has been removed from its protective case there is the question of whether it has been properly handled. And, it almost certainly has been exposed to possible future environmental damage.

Many collectors do not realize there are contaminates in the air, and the damage may not show up for years. Also, handling a coin can leave oil on it that may noy be visible. But, years later the damage may surface.

Buy from a Reputable Dealer

Unfortunately, commemorative coins can be easily removed from their cases, and replaced with business strike coins. Some dealers actually sell the cases and Certificates of Authenticity, which are left over after having coins graded. One can easily guess what happens to these cases and COAs. So, be careful when buying a coin online. Know your dealer, and establish trust.


Buying older proof sets is not difficult. In fact, many are very inexpensive. Those with silver coins are currently high, but many later issues can be found well within the range of many collectors.

Prestige and Premiere Proof Sets

Prestige proof sets are silver proof sets that come in a nicer, displayable case. The case can be opened and made to stand up,allowing the coins to be viewed.

Premiere proof sets are regular proof sets with the addition of a commemorative silver dollar, and one or two half dollars. The proof coins are clad, except the dollar is silver.

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    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      Proof editions are also much more limited and this makes them even more collectible.

    • bhavesh lm profile image

      bhavesh lm 6 years ago

      Thanks for bringing us the world of proof coins.