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If you're a coin collector and you're having difficulty tracking down coins issued early on in the 50 State Quarters program, you're not alone. Since the program ends in 2008 and coins minted from 1999 to 2005 are out of issue, if you didn't start collecting when the program began, you're among a large number of other enthusiasts who are having a tough time tracking down the coins you need. The US Mint tallies the number of folks collecting coins from the 50 State Quarters program as 130 million people. So technically, you can figure one person in every household of the United States is trying to add to their state coin collection.
Coin collectors can frequent banks to try and find that elusive quarter, but they are also turning to coin companies such as the Morgan Mint. The Morgan Mint sells Uncirculated sets no longer available from the US Mint, but they also provide pieces coin collectors are raving over. These pieces include 24-karat plated versions of the State Quarters, a hologram version impregnated into the actual coins, and stunning colorized versions which are also part of the actual coin.
There are six US mint facilities total, located in the following cities: Washington DC, Philadelphia, West Point, Fort Knox, Denver, and San Francisco. Because each of these US mint facilities perform a specific function, you may find some coins only come from certain locations.
In 1999, the US mint released proof mint sets which include those from the 50 State Quarters program. The 50 State Quarters Program honors each of the 50 states in the United States with collector coins to be released through a ten-year period to 2008. These mint sets include 10 coins in all, within a sealed presentation case. Look for the seal of authenticity, which is an “S” mint mark on each coin. The image is a frosted cameo and the background has a mirror finish. All coins distributed under the 50 State Quarters Program are legal tender.
Looking for more mint sets from the 50 states? The US mint also issued uncirculated mint sets. These mint sets include coins from the Denver and Philadelphia US mint locations. Mint sets from Philadelphia may have a “P” mint mark or none at all. The Denver mint sets will carry a “D” mint mark.
If you're a coin collector looking for George Washington coins, you're probably aware that he appears on regular issue US coins as well as commemorative coins from the 19th century through the 21st century. One way to locate George Washington coins is by purchasing Mint Sets which carry an image of the first President. Since the image of Washington has appeared on circulating coins, the US Mint has created Proof sets, Uncirculated Mint sets, and Special Mints sets which have included him. Washington coins contained within sets can be found as silver coins as well as copper-nickel clad.
Once unpopular with the coin collecting public, Special US Mint Sets from 1965, 1966, and 1967 have gained momentum as some of the top US Mint strikes during that time period. These coins differed in that the US Mint stuck them once and not twice as Proof coins are. However, these Special US Mint Sets were struck on high-tonnage presses. Some of the coins did result in a full mirror finish and Proof like appearance. The Special Mint Sets present a good opportunity for collectors looking for variety. For instance, a collector can find a number of the 1966 Kennedy Half Dollars, which has a large number doubled dies, among the Special Mint Sets.
In a combination of European and American currency, the US Mint produced a 50 State Quarters and Euro Mint Set in 2002. The 50 State Quarters and Euro Mint Set contains 1 Euro coin from each of the 12 countries of the European Union which use the Euro currency. In addition, five 2002 state quarter dollars are also part of the set. The sets contain an assortment of Euro coins from 2000, 2001, and 2002. An Uncirculated Mint set is also available, containing 20 coins. Included in the Uncirculated Mint version is one denomination of every coin from the penny through a dollar. The Euro coin pieces come from the central banks of their issuing countries.
In 2007, look for Presidential US coins from the US Mint. Part of the Presidential Coin Act of 2005, the Presidential US coins will be issued in chronological order, starting with our country's first President, George Washington. Each year, there will be four one dollar US coins released. The back of each coin will feature the Statue of Liberty. These new Presidential US coins will have an identical composition to that of the Sacagawea Golden Dollar. In addition, the artwork will feature larger scale artwork and will include an inscription denoting the mint year.
The US Mint introduced the Sacagawea one dollar coin in 2000. This coin was believed to be rare because it was distributed through Wal-Mart in limited quantities. Very few of these coins ended up at banks. However, the US Mint produced billions of these coins. The Sacagawea US coins are available as a proof piece, brilliant uncirculated piece, or a part of an album set.
Unlike proof coins, mint coins aren't especially manufactured to have that sharp mirror like surface. So why would you want US Mint sets? Some good reasons: * Complete sets of coins issued direct and uncirculated by the US Mint. * Valuable for people collecting examples of all the US coinage of the 20th century. * The price you get for a proof Mint set can be several times the face value, especially for 1940s proof Mint Sets. * Mint set comes in the original US government envelope, much like mid-20th century proof sets. * Contains actual (uncirculated) coins issued that year for history fans. * Great for collectors who want to trace the history of US coinage. Of course, there's no reason you can't collect both proof sets and Mint sets. After all, if you're confused, just think of how your buddies will react when you show them your new acquisitions. Then you get to educate everyone for a change.
You never thought you'd be your parents, putting plastic on your furniture, but you're considering slabbing the pre-1964 mint proof coin sets you're buying. You want to protect your investment. The dealer recommends against it. Who's right, you or the dealer? The dealer is. Haggling is permitted. Arguing won't get you a better deal. Some reasons why you don't slab Mint sets and US Mint sets: * Proof Mint sets from every government typically come in the original envelopes, which are tightly sealed to provide enough protection. * Selling Mint sets in the original envelopes is customary. * If you want to protect your coins, buy a safety-deposit box. * Slabs are usually difficult to open. It's expensive to slab coins, so slabbing is usually done only for rare coins. After all, you never liked those plastic covers anyway.
You'd love to collect global Mint sets, but with global currency fluctuations, is buying Mint sets a safe investment, and are you making a moral investment in a fair trade country? While global stocks may not be right for your portfolio or conscience, global Mint sets are.
You can buy Mint sets directly from another country's Mint, or you can take your chances in coin shops and on eBay. Chances are that your neighborhood coin shop may not have the 2003 Andorran Mint Set with the Euro, or the 2004 Japan Mint Set. Global mint sets are especially great for your collection if you specialize in: * All coin mint proof sets and proof sets * World coins * Proof mint sets from a particular time, such as 1995 to the present World Mints such as the British Royal Mint, the Australian Royal Mint and tha Japan Mint make it easy to buy over the Internet. Some tips to remember: * If you're buying someone in, say, Canada or Brazil a gift, make sure you fill out the appropriate customs forms, if you're mailing coins, and be sure to purchase insurance. Ordering and shipping directly is the better option. * World Mint sets have attractive unusual covers that are part of the collector's cachet. For example, the 2004 Japan Mint set cover portrays cherry blossoms. * International mail gets inspected, so make sure you know all the coins and denominations of coins so you can recognize if coins are lost or misplaced. However, many world Mint sets are in plastic cases. * Always know the fair market value of the coins as well as any special issue coins such as the Australian Lunar series. After all, you might not want to invest in companies that use child labor, but you can feel good about banking on world coins. Many investments (think Worldcom) won't give you that piece of mind, but world proof Mint sets will.
With all this money around your house, you'd think you'd be solvent, but your hobby is expensive. Will switching to US Mint sets lessen the bite? You'd like to keep the electricity on. US Mint sets are actually an affordable way to collect coins.
If you're a novice collector, you can specialize in inexpensive modern-era proof Mint sets as a way to bring your collectors' costs down. If you want to try older coin Mint proof sets, you can usually be successful at buying Mint sets for a fraction of the cost of single rare or older coins. Plus, here's a boost when the boss didn't give you a bonus: if you get a coin in a Mint set with a proof-like surface, in other words mirrored, that coin means you can resell the set for a premium.
Be on the lookout for sharp strikes on "In God We Trust" or Lincoln's profile. The 2005 Mint sets have satin finish for the first time, so you own something special at an affordable price, without cutting into your grocery money. After all, once you get the basic needs taken care of, you can't take money with you, so you might as well enjoy it.
When you're looking at US Mint sets, you are looking at coins that have an example of every coin stuck during a given year from all of the US Mints. US Mint Sets which are mint packaged are assembled by the US Mint. You will find some sets which are packaged by private parties. However, the US Mint sets which are mint packaged will tend to command higher values. During 1982 and 1983, the US Mint did not put out any mint packaged sets in order to conserve funds. However, there are some privately packaged sets made by dealers to fill the void of those two years.
Uncirculated US Mint Sets from the US Mint are affordable collector's items. You can pick up uncirculated US Mint Sets from the US Mint every year to add to your collection or select a year which has special significance to you. You can purchase an uncirculated US Mint Set from 1992 for under $10. Watch out for one fad when you shop, however – unopened mint packing. Unopened mint packaging comes at a slightly higher price than opened packaging. However, you won't be able to find out what is in the box until you do open it, so exercise caution.
Susan B. Anthony and Ike, aka Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Kennedy too. You're happy you're buying a US proof Mint set that offers tribute to great Americans. Throw in JFK and you, an American history buff, are fired like the cannons during the Revolutionary War. But is your true red, white and blue zeal blinding you? Are these ordinary uncirculated coins, some with slight tarnish, worth as much as you're paying?
While regular SBA dollars and Eisenhower dollars are fairly common, especially if Susan B. is pocket change, as uncirculated coins (proof-like is a plus), and as part of a 1979 copper/nickel-clad Mint set, they're worth the price you're paying, especially if they're graded MS67. The average 1979 US Mint sets will run you $11-$12, especially if there's a prooflike or sharper-struck coin included and your dealer neglects to factor that in the price. If you're getting older US Mint sets secondhand, remember that a 1979 Mint set with SBA, Ike and fewer bag marks is in good condition and worth a few extra dollars. So celebrate genuine American heroes--as the Mastercard commercial says, they're priceless.
You love your commemorative coins--you'd buy one commemorating the finale of "Friends" if you could. But since you don't have Ross and Rachel on a golden eagle, you'll settle for proof mint sets with commemorative coins from 2004.
Sorry to say, US Mint sets don't include commemorative coins, only coins issued by a particular Mint from 2004. Oh no. How about a Golden Eagle instead? Golden Eagles don't belong in mint proof coin sets, since these special dollars are proofs. But Mint sets do include the Golden Dollar--the 2004 and 2005 Mint sets pay tribute to Sacagawea with the Sacagawea Golden Dollar. That's close to a commemorative Mint set. Now if they just made an Elvis commemorative coin, you'd be happy.
Good things come in small packages. With a 1970 proof Mint set, a small date can be valuable. Some coin value guides have estimated the face value of these Mint proof coin sets at $4 and the selling price at $58. The large date US mint sets from 1970 sell for $24. If you have to squint to see the date on a 1970 cent or dime in a proof mint set it's a valuable coin. According to an auction on eBay, a small date 1970 Lincoln penny "books" or is valued at $1,200 in MS67--the seller claims to have a rare MS70, which most numismatic experts say is nearly impossible to find. Imagine how much more the whole proof Mint set is worth!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|