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- Proof Sets
United State Proof Sets
Proof sets encompass every coin design produced by the United States Mint in a single year. This is the longest-running series of coins produced by the Mint and comprises coins prepared using proof striking methods. Proof blanks are specially treated, polished and cleaned to ensure high quality strikes. The blanks are then fed into presses fitted with hand-polished dies and struck at least twice to ensure sharp relief. The result are coins that are extraordinarily brilliant, with sharp relief and a mirror-like backgrounds. Their frosted, sculpted foregrounds give them a special cameo effect. Today, the Mint packages the specially prepared coins in hard plastic cases meant for long-term preservation.
All releases from 1936 to 1972 included the cent, nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar from that year. The first proof sets through 1964 were minted at the Philadelphia Mint. There were two official releases in 1942: one regular five coin set and a set including a silver wartime nickel. Production was moved to the San Francisco branch in 1968, and all subsequent issues bear coins with an "S" mint mark. In 1973, the Eisenhower dollar was added to the collection. Sets from 1975 will have a dual-date 1776-1976 quarter, half-dollar, and dollar as none of those coins were ever produced with a 1975 date. The Susan B. Anthony dollar replaced the Eisenhower in 1979. The 1981 mint sets were the only method of obtaining a Susan B. from that year, though many have slipped into circulation. With the cease in minting of dollar coins, the regular issue Proof Set for 1982 included a brass token. From 1983 until 1998, the annual United States Proof set resumed to only issuing the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and half-dollar. With the introduction of the 50 State Quarters program in 1999, the Mint began issuing all five quarters released from that year with the already established denominations, thus creating a nine-coin set split across two holders, or lenses. The single lens containing just the quarters was also sold separately. The following year, the Sacagawea dollar was included in the regular set, bringing the coin count to ten. The Westward Journey Series of nickels saw the introduction of eleven coin sets in 2004 and 2005 featuring both nickels, the penny, dime, half dollar, golden dollar and all five quarters. The regular issue returned to ten coins in 2006, but the Presidential Dollar Coin Program necessitated an expansion to three lenses with a total of fourteen coins from 2007 to 2008. In 2009, another lens was added to facilitate the pennies minted for the Lincoln Bicentennial collection. The pennies produced for the proof sets that year were special in that their composition saw a return to the 95% copper alloy employed when the Lincoln cent was first introduced. This set peaked the coin count at eighteen as it also included that year's set of six District of Columbia and United States Territories Quarters. The regular release returned to a count of fourteen coins across three lenses in 2010.