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Proof Sets
 
 
A Proof Set is a collection of Proof coins struck at the United States Mint.  It
contains the Proof examples of each of the year’s circulating coin designs, so
it is the highest quality coin set made by the U.S. Mint.  Only one example of
each coin design is included in a Proof Set, and all coins in a Proof Set are
struck at the same branch of the U.S. Mint.  Proof Sets were first made for
collectors in 1936.  Production stopped in 1942 due to World War II and
resumed in 1950.  No Proof Sets were made in 1965 through 1967.
 
 
Prior to 1936, the U.S. Mint did on occasion put together a Proof Set of the year’s
coins.  These sets, however, were not made available to the public but were
instead given as presentation pieces to dignitaries and foreign heads of state
visiting Washington, D.C.  The most famous such sets were struck in 1834 and
1835 as gifts for foreign dignitaries.  No regular Silver Dollars were struck in
those years, so an 1804 Silver Dollar was made instead.  One of the eight 1804
Silver Dollars from these Proof Sets sold for $4,140,000 in 1999, which at the
time was a world record for a coin.
 
 
When the U.S. Mint began to make Proof Sets for collectors in 1936, each Proof Set included one Lincoln “wheat ears” Penny, one Buffalo Nickel, one Mercury
Dime, one Washington Silver Quarter, and one Walking Liberty Silver Half
Dollar.  The original issue price was $1.89 (a little more than twice the coins’
face value), but today an original 1936 Proof Set is valued at about $8,000.
 
Proof Sets from 1936 to 1972 included the Penny, Nickel, Dime, Quarter, and
Half Dollar.  The regular-issue Dollar coin was added from 1973 to 1981 and
from 2000 onwards.  Five State Quarters were included in each Proof Set from
1999 to 2008;  two Westward Journey Nickels were included in 2004 and 2005; 
and four Presidential Dollars were included in addition to the Sacagawea Dollar
from 2007 onwards.  Since 1992, a special Silver Proof Set has also been made
each year with Dimes, Quarters, and Half Dollars struck in .900 silver.