Ingo R. writes: In 1982 and 1983 the Mint didn’t make any mint sets. I have heard that if you went to the mint in those years you could have bought a set from that mint. I have also seen some for sale on E-Bay. Are these real or just put together by someone other than the mint?
Both. Mint sets consist of regular issue coins from all the Mints that struck coins in a particular year. They come packaged in film and placed in envelopes that have the name of the Mint that made those coins.
In 1982-3 the Philadelphia Mint did not make Mint sets but you could go, in person, to either the Denver or Philadelphia Mint and buy a Year Set from the Mint gift shop. The set included a paper label or token identifying the set as coming from the Philadelphia or Denver Mints. You would have had to travel to both cities to get a complete set.
Some dealers put together their own sets from coins gotten at local banks. These rarely are of the same quality as the Year sets (the banks put the coins through counting machines that put scratches and nicks on the coins).
The purpose of Mint sets is to allow collectors to add gem examples of current coins to their collections. They are standard issue business strikes not proofs or special issues.