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2017 Proof Set Just Released

June 11, 2017 0 Comments

The US mint has a number of annual rituals, where specific new coins are released into the hands of waiting collectors. One annual highlight is the release of a proof set of silver coins for the year – the Mint Silver Proof Set. This year June 7 is the official day of release, and the set of 10 coins is now available. This is a great way, with a modest price, to start a coin collection, or extend an existing one. As a gift to a young person with an interest in coins, it could set them on the road to a lifelong hobby and interest in coins.

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The 2017 United States Mint Silver Proof Set® consists of five’ America the Beautiful’ quarters in 90% silver. These show the Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa; the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, DC; the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri; Ellis Island in New Jersey and the fifth is the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana. Like all the coins in the set, each one is marked ‘S’ to indicate its minting at the San Francisco Mint.

A small mystery – beloved by coin collectors – is the discrepancy on the Mint site between the description and illustration of the $1 coin. It is described as being the Sequoyah dollar, already discussed here a few weeks back. This coin pays tribute to Sequoyah, who created a written form of the Cherokee language, and the coin has “Sequoyah from Cherokee Nation” in that script along the border of the design. Strangely, the illustration shows the earlier Sacagawea dollar, from 2016, with an engraving of the Shoshone guide of the Lewis and Clark expedition, carrying her child on her back. Since the Native American $1 Coin Act, signed by George W. Bush, requires a new design each year, it is likely that this is just an error on the site, which will no doubt soon be corrected. It does however show that even the Mint is not infallible!

The $1 coin is made of a copper alloy, so it appears golden, but the Kennedy half dollar and the Roosevelt dime are in 90% silver, like the quarters. The Kennedy half dollar has been made every year since 1964, and of course it is a memorial to the assassinated of President John F. Kennedy. Although it began life as a silver coin, the rising value of silver led to it being melted down in large quantities, so the silver was gradually eliminated completely. It was restored to 90% silver in 1992, but only for these annual proof sets. The Roosevelt dime has been made since 1946, and it too was once silver. This was removed in 1965, and only restored in 1992, again only for the annual proof set. Consequently, although legal tender, neither of these coins are intended for general circulation, which only increases the value of the Proof Set.

The set is rounded out with a Jefferson nickel and a Lincoln penny. The nickel is 25% nickel and 75% copper, and the penny is 2.5% copper, and the remainder is zinc. The Jefferson nickel replaced the Buffalo nickel in 1938, and the Lincoln penny has been struck every year since 1909. Together the complete set – in full mint condition of course – is a great introduction to collecting American coins, and it will surely be as popular a release as ever.

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