Silver Proof Coins

Posted by on October 26, 2011
4651525613 13277f68cd z 225x300 Silver Proof Coins

Proof Silver American Eagle coin. Photo by sirquitos*

Silver Proof Coins are more sought after than regular struck coins.  Proof coins were originally used to test and check the dies before striking of a series.  Now, Silver Proof coins are a special striking of a coin for a collector.  Proof coins are made on highly polished blanks (planchetes) to yield a mirror effect and treated with special dies.  They are also struck with extra pressure and a longer hold time.  In addition they are struck at least twice.  The combination of these techniques brings out more of the coin’s detail.

Silver Proof Coins are done in smaller volumes than general issued currency and more time is taken in the process.  Therefore the mint charges prices much higher than standard mint sets, and the smaller quantity usually causes a higher return on the investment.

Proof coins usually are graded in the 60-70 range and indicated with a “PR” or “PF” before their grade.  Proofs are graded on the strength of the strike, luster, and the lack of imperfections in the strike.

Proof coins may display a frosted effect of the portrait or image in contrast to the high finish of the coins surface or field. This is called Cameo (CAM).  Die tools are cleaned using an acid-treatment.  When coins are struck directly after the die tool is cleaned - the Cameo effect occurs!  This frosting effect is greater at the beginning of the striking run.   As the run of coins being struck proceeds, the frosted effect diminishes. The early strikes with the newly cleaned dye tool can produce what is called a Deep Cameo (DCAM) or Ultra Cameo.  The frosted effect is readily apparent on these coins.  The Cameo effect lessens as the die tool is repeatedly used throughout the striking of the series.

(Article continued below listings...)
ebay silver logo Silver Proof CoinsCoins Close to Melt Values

1913083261024040 1 Silver Proof Coins
2003-S 10c United States San Francisco Gem Proof Roosevelt Dime 90% Silver
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2009-S 10c United States San Francisco Gem Proof Roosevelt Dime 90% Silver
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Specimen (SP) refers to coins specially struck coins from 1792 to 1816 which have similar characteristics of modern Proof coins.  Proof-Like (PL) coins are not Proof coins, but have a flawless and brilliant surface with a bold, strong, sharp strike, giving the look of a Proof coin.

In 1936 the United States Mint, out of the Philadelphia mint, started packaging their Proof coins in sets.  Each set had a single proof coin representing every business strike coin they produced.  This was the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar ($0.81) and sold them for $1.87.  In 1942 some sets had the World War II silver Jefferson nickel and the nickel Jefferson nickel in them.  But no sets were made in 1943 and
were not resumed until 1950.

The packaging for the proof sets has changed frequently.  Up to the middle of the 1955 strikes they were packed in cellophane envelopes and put in small cardboard boxes.  In order to protect these coins from tarnishing many collectors have removed them from the original
packaging and put them in plastic holders.

The rest of the 1955 proof sets and those issued through 1964 were sealed in flat clear cellophane sheets and are called ‘flat packs’.  1964 was the
last year silver was used in the dime and quarter.  The Kennedy half dollar was reduced to 40% silver content in 1965 thru 1970.   However
no proof coins were struck in 1965 thru 1967 as production was being moved to the San Francisco mint.  In 1971 thru 1974 the Eisenhower dollar was introduced and the San Francisco mint struck the uncirculated and proof dollars with the 40% silver content.  Then in 1975 the JFK half dollar and in 1976 the Ike dollar was also struck with 40% silver for proof and uncirculated again to commemorate the United States Bicentennial.

Now US proof sets vary with a selection of coins prepackaged and even special 99.9% silver coin sets are being issued as proof and/or uncirculated sets.  Over the years there have been variations with proof sets making some highly prized.

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The Last 90 Percent Silver United States Coins - A Buying and Selling Guide (U.S. Silver Coin Series Book 1)
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