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More reverse proofs on the way

With the March of Dimes set sold out featuring a reverse proof silver dime, collectors still have four more reverse proof coins coming in 2015 and the United States Mint says more are on the way in subsequent years.

Obverse of the 2007-W reverse proof half-ounce platinum $50 American Eagle.

Obverse of the 2007-W reverse proof half-ounce platinum $50 American Eagle.

On June 4, Tom Jurkowsky, director of the Mint’s office of corporate communications, confirmed there will be a reverse proof Presidential dollar in the 2016 Reagan Presidential Coin and Chronicles set. There will not be Nixon and Ford reverse proof Presidential dollar coin in 2016 or Presidential Coin and Chronicles sets for them.

Jurkowsky also said the Mint is looking into issuing a reverse proof set in 2018.

“Reverse proof coins do appear to be broadly popular with the numismatic community, especially when they mark the first time the Mint produces a particular coin with this type of finish, as was the case with the reverse proof Roosevelt dime included in the March of Dimes set,” he said.

Reverse proof coins are exactly what the name states: proof coins where the frosting and mirror fields are reversed from usual proof coins.

On a typical proof coin, the devices, raised elements on the coin such as lettering or the design, are frosted while the smooth, low fields receive a mirror finish. Reverse proof coins have mirror-like devices and frosted fields. The result is a coin that shows strong differentiation between the fields and design.

A list of the reverse proof coins the Mint has released or will release between 2006 and 2015.

A list of the reverse proof coins the Mint has released or will release between 2006 and 2015.

The number of different reverse proof coins produced has increased over the years since the first one was made in 2006.  As of June 4, the Mint has released nine reverse proof coins.

The accompanying list shows each reverse proof coin, their mintages and what mint facility made them. So far, three of the four Mint facilities – Philadelphia, San Francisco and West Point – have produced reverse proof coins. The Mint facility in Denver is the only one yet to produce a reverse proof coin.

The first two reverse proofs created, a silver and a gold one-ounce American Eagle, were released in 2006. In 2007, a reverse proof platinum half-ounce American Eagle was released.

Between 2011 and 2013, the Mint released a reverse proof one-ounce silver Eagle each year.

At the 2013 Chicago American Numismatic Association convention, the Mint began sales of a reverse proof gold  one-ounce American Buffalo coin, minted to honor the 100th anniversary of James Earle Fraser’s Buffalo design.

As part of the 2014 four-coin silver Kennedy half dollar set, the Mint included a reverse proof

By 2015, the Mint began experimenting with more reverse proof coins. The latest release was in early May with a reverse proof silver dime included in the March of Dimes silver set.

The four reverse proof coins coming up in 2015 are the four Presidential dollars honoring Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson as part of the 2015 Coin and Chronicles sets. The Mint has announced 17,000 sets would be available for all the presidents except for Kennedy. The Kennedy Coin and Chronicles set will have a product limit of 25,000.

The Truman Coin and Chronicles set goes on sale June 30 and has a household limit of 5 sets. The Mint has not announced release dates for the other three sets. The reverse proof Truman Presidential dollar is notable in that it will be the first reverse proof coin the U.S. Mint has made that doesn’t contain precious metals.

With the latest news from the Mint, 2016 will see one reverse proof issue while 2018 could see around 10 released because the denominations in a proof set include five quarters, cent, nickel, dime, half dollar and dollar coins.

For collectors wanting to start a set of reverse proofs, the most expensive coin in the lineup is the 2006-W one-ounce reverse proof gold Eagle. With a mintage of just 9,996, a collector can expect to pay at least $2,500. Latest eBay sales show they sell infrequently on the site with a PCGS Prf-70 example going for $3,350 on May 15 and a PCGS Prf-70 First Strike designated coin selling for $5,811 on June 2.

So what began as a little subset of U.S. coinage looks set to grow dramatically in the next few years. Whether you collect them or don’t, love them or hate them, reverse proof coinage is here to stay.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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