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New book focuses on proofs 1936-1942

Roger W. Burdette has written a new book.


The intrepid researcher has titled it, United States Proof Coins 1936-1942.

What a rich vein of information he has mined.

When I was a kid ordering my first proof sets from the U.S. Mint in the 1960s, I envied the collectors who could afford to buy the proof sets of those years.

They were expensive. They were out of reach for me when compared to my income as a paperboy.

But I could dream.

The earliest sets in this sequence had proof Buffalo nickels in them. I daydreamed about them.

Proof Mercury dimes and Walking Liberty half dollars were right up there in my thoughts as well.

I would check out prices of these proof sets each week in the full-page ads in Numismatic News.

Then, of course, I would turn my attention to coins that were more in my league.

Now I can really dig into the background of the proof sets that I found so attractive years ago.

Burdette is thorough.

Proofs at the time were products of the Philadelphia Mint.

Burdette covers the “background and origin of the series, the number of pieces struck from each die, when dies were pulled from service, delivery dates of coins, plus quantities sold and returned for destruction.”

The author says he was able to examine never-before-seen U.S. Mint documents and notebooks.

He answers questions that have long puzzled collectors.

He explains “1940 reverse of ’38 nickels,” “1939 reverse of ’40 nickels,” production of “cameo proofs” and quantities actually sold during the year of issue.

The book opens with an explanation of the origin of modern proof coinage. Back in 1936, proofs returned after a gap in regular production of 20 years.

Other chapters in order cover:

Manufacturing Proof Coins, Summary of Proof Coins by Date, Proof Coins by Denomination, Lincoln Cents, Five Cents (Nickels), Liberty (“Mercury”) Dimes, Washington Quarters and Walking Liberty Half Dollars.

Those familiar with other work from Burdette know how well he can tell a story.

Overall, there is surprisingly little duplication of content between the chapters, the promotional material states.

“It has been amazing to go through the data and analysis, and then see unexpected results and explanations appear – almost magical,” Burdette said.

The book is 330 pages long. It is printed in full color with hundreds of images.Each page measures 8-1/2 x 11-inches.

A CD-ROM comes with it. Its text comes in searchable format, a useful aid for everyone, but most especially other researchers and busy newspaper editors.

Copies of United States Proof Coins 1936-1942 by Roger W. Burdette published by Seneca Mill Press LLC is priced at $39.95 from Wizard Coin Supply, Chantilly, Va.

To order, go to the firm’s website at

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

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