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Damaged cent found in proof set

One of the San Francisco Reverse Proof sets I ordered has a blatantly discolored and scratched cent to the point where you can see the gray zinc color in the groove. Do you know if a gloved or plain ol’ human hand puts the coins in the plastic slots?


I can’t be certain the Mint has a written policy on how Mint personnel handle proof coins; however, if images the mint has posted online are to be believed, gloves are to be worn when handling these coins.

Will the problem with the cent in my 2018 San Francisco Reverse Proof set impact reselling the set at a later date? A more knowledgeable friend said he doesn’t think it’s a big deal because the more sophisticated buyer, should I sell years hence, will look at the silver coins first.

Problem coins in sets usually diminish the value of the overall set. It will depend on the potential buyer if that buyer will find the problem cent to impact the value or not. Your friend is right – some people (not all) are interested in the set purely for the silver coins.

What happens to silver coinage when a country goes on a gold standard?

Since the spot price of gold and silver fluctuate on commodity exchanges, it is difficult to issue coins with a fixed face value on par with some exchange value. By going on a gold standard, silver coins in which there is less silver content than their face value can be justified. Should the price of silver rise too dramatically, this, too, becomes impractical.

I’m planning to sell my coin collection. Is it more practical to consign to an auction or to consign to a dealer?

A major advantage of an auction is the velocity of turnover. An auction may also attract a larger or more endowed audience. An over-the-counter dealer may be able to negotiate a better price in some situations but will likely take more time to liquidate a collection. Consider the fees each will charge, as well as which may be able to realize a better price for what you have.

Can the pedigree of a coin enhance its value?

I don’t like to give a nebulous answer, but that answer is maybe. The provenance of a coin is important to some collectors, while it is not to others. Who owned a coin in the past may suggest the coin is a better example if that previous owner was a true coin connoisseur. The true importance of a pedigree today may be in defending your ownership if a government demands the repatriation of a coin as being part of that nation’s cultural patrimony.

In your opinion, what is the most frequently used security feature to prevent coins from being counterfeited?

While micro-printing, holographic devices, and color enhancement are becoming more commonplace as anti-counterfeiting devices, it appears edge lettering is still the most frequently encountered feature meant to prevent the bad guys from making their own coins.

How can I go about collecting patterns? There seems to be no particular format to which they conform.

All are trials or experiments. They are struck in different metals. Some may become precursors for a circulation or commemorative coin while others will not. Most pattern collectors focus on a specific area due to the breadth of the subject and rarity of the individual examples. You can use the Official Red Book United States Pattern Coins by J. Hewitt Judd and edited by Q. David Bowers.

Is there a club for pattern coin collectors?

The Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors can be contacted at

How can I tell if there are adjustment marks on my 18th century coin?

Overweight coin blanks were filed to the proper weight. Marks left on the blanks from making these adjustments do not appear on the coin image since the adjustments were made prior to striking the finished coin. Adjustment marks may, however, interrupt the images produced in the later coining process.

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