Angelo P. asks: What’s the difference between uncirculated and proof sets? i just started collecting and don’t know much. Thank you. Angelo
An uncirculated set contains an example of all regular issue coins that were issued in the current year. The coins are of better quality than one could get from a bank or other source besides the Mint. The sets come packaged in clear cellophane like material segregated by mint, one from the Denver Mint and one from the Philadelphia Mint. Both are packaged in a single envelope and separated by a thin sheet of cardboard.
Proof coins are specially made pieces that are struck on highly polished blanks. They are struck multiple times from a special high relief die and handled individually. Proofs often exhibit “mirror” fields and frosted design elements. The current year sets can be purchased from the United States Mint. Previous year mint or proof sets are available from coin dealers.
The market value for various years’ proof or uncirculated coins depend on the demand and circumstances surrounding the set. For example, when 90% silver coinage ceased in 1964, Congress mandated that the half dollar retain a sandwich of 40% silver and copper-nickel. By 1970, the price of silver had risen to the point that the silver in the 40% half dollar was about to exceed its face value. While the Mint waited for Congress to act, they decided not to release 1970 half dollars to the public but they were included in the mint set. Finally, Congress made their decision and the silver was eliminated from the half in 1971. If you want a 1970 half dollar you must purchase a 1970 mint set or buy one cut from the set.