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Proof sets coming in January

Have you ever simply forgotten to order a proof set or a mint set?

I know that seems like a strange question to ask a collector. There have been years in my hobby career when I have decided not to buy that year’s proof set, but I don’t recall that I ever simply forgot.

Some years quite the opposite happens. The order period for 1969 proof sets opened Nov. 1, 1968. I still remember that date 42 years later.

I remember it because it was the first time I ever ordered proof sets from the U.S. Mint.

When did the 2010 proof set go on sale?

It was July 22. I had to look it up even though it was just two months ago. It has changed many times in my hobby career.

There is no seasonal pattern to fix the date in my mind.

Does the lack of a fixed date for the beginning of proof set sales affect the ultimate numbers purchased?

The Mint is about to find out. Starting in January 2011, the Mint will offer what it calls its core products, the proof set, silver proof set and mint set right away. There will be no more waiting and wondering when they will be offered. It will be boom, new year, new sets.

It is well known among sellers of American Eagle bullion coins that there is a bulge in demand as each new year begins as buyers scramble to add the new date to their collection.

With early availability, will demand for proof sets start following the American Eagle pattern?

The Mint probably hopes so.