2005 Mints Sets to Receive SMS Designation

Posted on 6/1/2005

Earlier this year, the Mint announced that its 2005 Uncirculated Coin Sets, commonly referred to as Mint Sets, would include satin-finish examples of circulating coinage.

2005 Mint Quarter Set
A 2005 P SMS West Virginia quarter showing wonderful quality, fully satin surfaces. Image NGC Photo Proof.

Earlier this year, the Mint announced that its 2005 Uncirculated Coin Sets, commonly referred to as Mint Sets, would include satin-finish examples of circulating coinage. NGC has examined many of these recently released Mint Sets, and has made the determination to designate these coins as SMS, for Special Mint Set.

Mint Sets are packaged by the U.S. Mint as sets, and include one example of each coin produced for circulation. These sets make it possible for collectors to easily acquire all regular issue coins struck during a particular year, and have been offered continually since 1947. Since 1968, all Mint Sets have included coins that were intended for circulation and received no special treatment by the Mint. The coins included in this year's Sets were struck from specially prepared dies.

The issuance of a Mint Set with specially struck coins is a reprise for the U.S. Mint. During the years 1965 to 1967, following the transition from silver to copper-nickel coinage, no Proof Sets were struck. This hiatus allowed the mint to focus on the production of circulating coinage, which ballooned dramatically during those years. In lieu of the Proof Set, a hybrid style Mint Set was released which included coins struck from proof dies, but which did not receive the same standard of handling and overall quality control as proof coins issued previously. The U.S. Mint called these Special Mint Sets.

Battle Creek Collection
Uncirculated Coin Sets, more widely-know as Mint Sets, are sold in envelops like the ones pictured above. Each includes all eleven coins that are struck for circulation at the respective mint. Image NGC Photo Proof.

This satin-finish surface being used on 2005 Mint Sets has been used on specimen coinage such as the 1994 P and 1997 P Jefferson Nickels, both which were created for limited edition commemorative sets. The surface is also similar to that seen on recent modern commemorative issues.

The 2005 Mint Sets that NGC has examined show a wide variety of production and handling quality. Even within a single set, coins can range from heavily frosted to mostly brilliant. While some coins are obvious specimens, others closely resemble regular circulating issues. Because of the inconsistency in quality of these coins, to assure that coins submitted to NGC receive the SMS designation, they must be submitted in their original mint packaging.

In addition to showing coins of varied surface quality, many sets also show scratches and abrasions on their devices and rims caused by the packaging machine used to seal coins within their Mylar® wrapping. So not only does the surface texture of these coins vary considerably, but the technical grade does as well. In fact, numerous coins in 2005 Mint Sets will not grade owing to this machine damage. Once graded, 2005 SMS coins will appear in the Mint State section of the population report rather than the Proof section as was done for 1965-1967 SMS coins and 1994 and 1997 Specimen coins.

2005 Mint Dime Set
A wonderful quality 2005 D SMS dime showing mild cameo contrast. This type of semi-prooflike surface has been seen on some 2005 Mint Set coins. Image NGC Photo Proof.

Coins from 2005 Mint Sets will be eligible for two additional designations from NGC. Because the method of production more closely resembles that used for Mint State coinage, coins that display cameo devices will receive the PL, or Proof Like, designation. This is a departure from the 1965 to 1967 SMS coins which are eligible for Cameo and Ultra Cameo designations, acknowledging their similarity to proof issues. Additionally, if a coin displays especially rich satin surfaces, it may likely receive the star designation, as an indication of its superior eye appeal. While few and far between, some coins included in 2005 Mint Sets display wonderful matte surfaces, and the designation is an ideal way to highlight those coins’ special attributes.

Contact NGC Customer Service with questions about submitting 2005 Mint Sets in their original packaging to receive the SMS designation. To reach Customer Service, you may use NGC Web site's contact form or call 1.800.NGC.COIN.