William F. asks: Do you know of any special bicentennial pure silver coins minted as gift sets to mint employees? I have been told there were a few of these special pure silver proof sets, is it true and if so what might the value of these coins be? Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated. Thank You.
No, it is not true. The normal composition of U.S. clad coins from 1965 to the present is a copper-nickel sandwich over a pure copper core. The Bicentennial design was issued for two years 1975 and 1976, shows the regular head of George Washington and the dual dates “1776-1976” (There are no quarters, half dollars or dollars dated 1975). The United States Congress mandates or approves coin compositions. Forty percent silver clad issues of the Bicentennial quarter, half dollar and dollar were authorized by Congress, minted at the San Francisco Mint and sold to the public in any quantity until 1982. These sets are abundantly available in the coin market in proof and uncirculated versions for a small premium over their silver content.
The Mints would not have had silver strip available to make planchets (blanks) as there had been no silver coins minted for ten years. If they did, they wouldn’t have been pure silver. Pre-1965 dimes, quarters and half dollars were 90% silver. I will add this story to my collection of Urban Legends.