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Community Voice Responses (Mar. 20, 2018)

From the Feb. 23 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Will U.S. proof sets continue to decline in value?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.


Yes, I think the value in proof sets will decline in value. Not being negative, but the John Q. public has shied away from this area over the past decade or two. With this, and selling off of many sets, this has come to pass.

I do think there will be a time for steadiness in prices in about two to five years. This will be part to bring the collector back to this area. Also, a drop in Mint-run items will have a bearing also. Kudos to this, should it happen.

Gary Kess
Sherman, Texas


When I was a kid and first started collecting (I was nine or 10), I wanted to get all the proof sets back to my birth year of 1955.

At the time I figured that those proof sets would put me through college, then when that didn’t happen, surely they would provide the money for a down payment on my first house. No luck there either.

But my faith wasn’t shaken. I continued to buy sets directly from the Mint into the early 1990s.

Today, frankly I can’t stand to look at proof set values. It hurts to see some sets selling for less than what they sold for originally from the Mint. (Of course there are some exceptions, and of course, I don’t own any of those exceptions.)

So to answer your question, “Will U.S. proof sets continue to decline in value?”

I have to say, “YES,” to most years after 1964 with sets from 1958 to 1964 not doing much better unless silver takes off.

I’ve seen sets with a face value of $1.91 selling for only $4. That’s just a little over twice the set’s face value!

What a shame. But also what a great value!

Ken Freeze
Martinez, Calif.


When supply exceeds demand, prices will decline. Those junk proof sets are appealing only to the beholder. No potential beyond personal appeal. In bulk they are worthless.

Wesley Ellis
Portland, Ore.


Why should they? They should spend more time on good commemoratives not ones like the set for World War One. Or Ellis Island no stars on the flag and the Supreme Court of this country states 10 percent belongs to New York, so why were they left off?

All the immigrants that came to Ellis Island came by way of New York Harbor. Ask me I came up that river to the island.

The sets should be made because people are still collecting albums. Remember collecting American coinage is still important. Maybe if they were made of gold they would sell. Look at the gold coins. How many have just bombed out?

They need a permanent director as soon as possible. Let’s get a director and move on. Get done what has to get done.

Mike Byrne
Address withheld


I have bought quite a few proof sets over the last 40 years. I think it stands to reason that the silver content ones will always have the intrinsic value. Although the U.S. Mint has long overpriced these sets, at least they will have some value. As for the clad products, good luck in securing anything but face value for them. I think if the Mint wants to continue to sell these sets, they will almost surely have to drop prices. I am no longer interested in buying or selling proof sets and their future is not looking very bright for collectors. This is my opinion.

Joseph Taylor
Address withheld


The only U.S. proof sets that I buy are silver proof sets.

Bob Brown
Address withheld


I just read your article on proof sets and new collectors.

I think what would spur the hobby is not what the Mint could make, rather what they should taketh away.

The Lincoln cent, JFK half, $1 note and $5 note should be discontinued.

A 2-cents return, perhaps a short run?

Convert the half dollar to a new $5 Lincoln coin.

The best days for numismatics are always after hoardings, and they last at least a generation.

Nelson K. Clifton
Address withheld


Older clad sets (circa 1970s, 1980s 1990s) that are currently in the market have probably reached their lowpoint in value running at roughly $4 to $6. Some of the more modern proof sets in clad still maintain a minor value over face but still are in a decline year over year.

Anyone who purchases modern clad sets with the intention of making some profit, sorry to say, it’s a bad investment. Silver proof sets are always going to maintain a slight premium over melt value.

Demand in the market has turned from a collector market to a stacker of precious metals market. I feel as if my rants on this topic have gone unheard for years, and the industry leaders are really slow to move this ship.

Just go to any local coin show, and you’ll see what is flying off of the shelves. Dealers don’t even want to buy MS-65 professionally graded common date Morgans, because the premiums go up significantly in between MS-65 and MS- 64. They would rather buy an MS-64 common date Morgan and sell it for $75, then buy at a higher price an MS-65 Morgan and try to sell it for $250, since no one (locally) wants to spend that kind of money on one coin!

Now, a big show like ANA or FUN, etc., the story is a great deal different, but who has the resources to travel to large shows?

Robert Matitia
Address Withheld


This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.


More Collecting Resources

• Keep up to date on prices for Canada, United States and Mexico coinage with the 2018 North American Coins & Prices guide.

• Is that coin in your hand the real deal or a clever fake? Discover the difference with U.S. Coins Close Up, a one-of-a-kind visual guide to every U.S. coin type.

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