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Liberty design contrast to European rulers

Why was the stylized

Why was the stylized ?Miss Liberty? a universal design on our early coins?

The choice was in deliberate contrast to the personality cult of European rulers whose visages adorned all the major coins and many minors as well.
Exceptions included the Fugio cent of 1787, the Flying Eagle cent of 1856 and the two-, three- and five-cent coins of the mid-1800s that failed to bear the Miss Liberty design, as well as the Columbian half dollar, Lincoln cent, Isabella quarter and the Lafayette dollar. She is missing from most of the modern commemoratives, but shows up on both the silver and gold Eagles.

I?m curious as to why the prices for proof cents dated since 1975 are so much higher than earlier issues.

This may come as a surprise, but the answer shows the power of the collector who is interested in filling a coin board or album. These have a hole for each date and mint, and the only way to fill the ?S? mint holes after 1974 (when they stopped striking ?S? mint cents for circulation) is with proof cents with an ?S? mintmark. Many of these sets have been broken up for the half dollars, so there are lots of loose proof coins around, but the demand remains strong for the proof cents.

Why don?t you include the issue prices in the Coin Market listings for the commemoratives? It would be helpful at tax time.

We do get an occasional call for issue prices, but most collectors are aware of the IRS regulations and keep the price lists that come with the coin order forms. The IRS requires that you keep receipts and other records of what you paid for coins so that when you sell them you can deduct the purchase price from any profit. Otherwise you will have to pay the difference between the face value of the coin and the selling price. Unfortunately the prices for the commemoratives are extensive and complex, what with pre- and post-issue costs, discounts, etc., so they would take up considerable space.

What was so unusual about the 1982 proof sets that they were worth double issue price right after they were issued?

For a time it was thought there would be no regular 1982-dated half dollars so the proof sets were in demand to fill that gap. When halves were struck for circulation, the price dropped for the proofs. The lack of mint sets probably also helped.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 42-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to