Next to the Lincoln cent (103 years), what U.S. coins have remained in production the longest?
It may surprise you, but the next longevity records are held by gold coins. A second place tie goes to the Coronet eagle, struck from 1838 to 1907, and the Coronet half eagle, struck from 1839 to 1908 (69 years). Fourth place goes to the Coronet quarter eagle made from 1840 to 1907 (67 years), and fifth also is a tie at 66 years to the Washington quarter and Roosevelt dime, 1932-1998, and 1946-2012, respectively, though there were no 1933 or 1975 quarters.
Which is correct: 1,000 proof 1878 Morgan dollars were struck, or only 500?
R.W. Julian presents excellent Mint record evidence that only 500 were struck and delivered – 100 each on March 12, 15 and 18, and a final delivery of 200 on March 26, 1878. He also makes a good argument that the rare 7 tail feather proofs were not officially struck but were under the counter “specials.” To top it off, of the 500 officially struck, 16 were placed in circulation at the end of the year.
What is the largest U.S. proof set in number of coins?
The answer will vary if you want all coins in a single set or merely total the number of proof coins in a single year. In 1873 there were some 25 “complete” proof sets delivered in early 1873 that contained all of the coins (then currently being struck) from the cent to the $20 gold, most of the proof coins were issued either as part of individual sets such as the minor sets or gold sets. Later in the year, proofs were made of the silver coins with arrows added at date. In all, 20 different coins were struck as proofs in 1873. Nowadays with a 14-coin basic set, silver proofs, proof commemoratives, Eagles and Buffaloes, the number easily tops the number from 1873.
I can’t find a listing for a 1975-dated quarter. Didn’t they make quarters that year?
No quarters, halves or dollars with 1975 dates were minted because they were already striking the three denominations with 1776-1976 dual dates for the Bicentennial. The 1975 proof and mint sets were issued with the cent, nickel and dime with 1975 dates and the other coins with the 1776-1976 dates. For 1976 all of the coins in the sets had the 1776-1976 dual dates.
Do you have statistics on the Lincoln cent die life?
In 1909 the Lincoln cent dies were listed as 150,000. In 1914 Denver cent dies averaged 198,833. By the 1970s new steels and hardening raised them to more than a million for the obverse and 1.2 million for the reverse.
By 1980 the average cent die life was down to 850,000. Introduction of the copper-plated zinc cents in 1982 dropped the average by 100,000. However, by 1985 the obverse dies were averaging 680,000 but the reverse dies were getting 850,000 strikes.