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Sets mark passage of time

How do you feel when you are behind the wheel of a new car?

How did you feel when you walked into your new home for the first time as owner?

Wasn’t it a little bit like how you felt when you bought your first coin or collector set from the U.S. Mint?

I began thinking along these lines because I see that next month the Mint will offer collectors its standard issue proof and mint sets. With all of the products coming out of the Mint today, it is easy to give these traditional sets short shrift.

With gold and silver in the headlines and a continuing scramble by buyers to buy gold and silver, Eagles can make the proof and mint sets seem at best to be something of secondary interest.

For me, though, they always come to the fore first because of the mental associations I make with them. These issues are like birthdays, or a mile markers for me.

They tell me how far I have come in the hobby.

The very first proof set I ordered was the 1969 set. As chance would have it, that offering sold out in six days. That reinforced the sense that the set was special and I was privileged to own it.

Later it taught me that what goes up in price can also go down.

I think every collector has a memory of that first Mint acquisition in his mind.
For my generation of collector, it was the proof and mint sets because there was basically nothing else to be purchased from the Mint.

For other collectors it might be Ike dollars, Bicentennial coins, Prestige proof sets or since 1986 even the American Eagle coins that are today so much in the headlines.

What Mint product fills that place in your mind?