1964 SP/SMS coins
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As I spend most to my efforts researching older coinage, I'm not up on moderns.

 

Might anyone be able to point me toward finding the NGC pops on the 1964 SP or SMS coins? I don't seem to be able to locate them.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

 

ec

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Look under the PF (not MS) heading for each of the denominations from 1964 - you will find the SMS pops there, right after the Proofs for that year.

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The Philadelphia Mint was still striking proof coin sets (flat packs) in 1964. The Special Mint Sets (SMS) were not started until 1965 thru 1967 then back to the proof coinage in 1968 from the San Fransisco Mint.

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It might very well be that NGC doesn't recognize them at all. My understanding has always been that these are speculative. I don't see them under either the mint state or proof sections of the NGC census (and the SMS issues are usually grouped with the latter).

 

Here is an excerpt from Jamie Hernandez (PCGS Coin Facts):

 

Jaime Hernandez: Plain and simple, the 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half's are not suppose to exist. However, there are about a dozen or so examples which have surfaced in the past 15 years. Therefore, it is the scarcest non error or variety Kennedy Half Dollar in existence.

 

The 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half dollars display very unique characteristics unseen on any other coins of the era. First of all, the strike is very sharp as it displays very clear details on both the obverse and the reverse. The coins also contain a smooth satin like appearance with the rims being very square and sharp. There are die polishing lines throughout the coins surfaces. These coins also tend to lack contact marks unlike business strike coins, indicating that they were struck and handled under extreme care. Furthermore, the coins do not display the reflective surfaces that are usually encountered on proof coins.

 

These 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half’s were first noticed in 1993 when they appeared in a Stacks auction. Apparently, the coins originated from Lester Merkin who was a well known coin dealer. His collection was later consigned to Stacks. It is also believed that Lester Merkin initially acquired the coins from a Mint employee or Eva Adams who was former Director of the U.S. Mint

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The Philadelphia Mint was still striking proof coin sets (flat packs) in 1964. The Special Mint Sets (SMS) were not started until 1965 thru 1967 then back to the proof coinage in 1968 from the San Fransisco Mint.

 

Despite what you wrote above, there are a number of 1964 coins designated as SMS. And their appearance is markedly different from either Proofs or typical business strikes.

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It might very well be that NGC doesn't recognize them at all. My understanding has always been that these are speculative. I don't see them under either the mint state or proof sections of the NGC census (and the SMS issues are usually grouped with the latter).

 

Here is an excerpt from Jamie Hernandez (PCGS Coin Facts):

 

Jaime Hernandez: Plain and simple, the 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half's are not suppose to exist. However, there are about a dozen or so examples which have surfaced in the past 15 years. Therefore, it is the scarcest non error or variety Kennedy Half Dollar in existence.

 

The 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half dollars display very unique characteristics unseen on any other coins of the era. First of all, the strike is very sharp as it displays very clear details on both the obverse and the reverse. The coins also contain a smooth satin like appearance with the rims being very square and sharp. There are die polishing lines throughout the coins surfaces. These coins also tend to lack contact marks unlike business strike coins, indicating that they were struck and handled under extreme care. Furthermore, the coins do not display the reflective surfaces that are usually encountered on proof coins.

 

These 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half’s were first noticed in 1993 when they appeared in a Stacks auction. Apparently, the coins originated from Lester Merkin who was a well known coin dealer. His collection was later consigned to Stacks. It is also believed that Lester Merkin initially acquired the coins from a Mint employee or Eva Adams who was former Director of the U.S. Mint

 

I looked and found some in the NGC census in the Proof section. Additionally, I saw some, while a grader at NGC and have seen them offered for sale from time to time.

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It might very well be that NGC doesn't recognize them at all. My understanding has always been that these are speculative. I don't see them under either the mint state or proof sections of the NGC census (and the SMS issues are usually grouped with the latter).

 

Here is an excerpt from Jamie Hernandez (PCGS Coin Facts):

 

Jaime Hernandez: Plain and simple, the 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half's are not suppose to exist. However, there are about a dozen or so examples which have surfaced in the past 15 years. Therefore, it is the scarcest non error or variety Kennedy Half Dollar in existence.

 

The 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half dollars display very unique characteristics unseen on any other coins of the era. First of all, the strike is very sharp as it displays very clear details on both the obverse and the reverse. The coins also contain a smooth satin like appearance with the rims being very square and sharp. There are die polishing lines throughout the coins surfaces. These coins also tend to lack contact marks unlike business strike coins, indicating that they were struck and handled under extreme care. Furthermore, the coins do not display the reflective surfaces that are usually encountered on proof coins.

 

These 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half’s were first noticed in 1993 when they appeared in a Stacks auction. Apparently, the coins originated from Lester Merkin who was a well known coin dealer. His collection was later consigned to Stacks. It is also believed that Lester Merkin initially acquired the coins from a Mint employee or Eva Adams who was former Director of the U.S. Mint

 

I looked and found some in the NGC census in the Proof section. Additionally, I saw some, while a grader at NGC and have seen them offered for sale from time to time.

 

If you don't mind me asking, which denomination did you look under and which page? I must have overlooked them. I am very curious as to the population of the pieces.

 

Do you consider legitimate SMS coins? It would be one of the few moderns that would pique my interest if it was in fact a legitimate rarity.

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I'm finding SMS for 1965-67, but not 1964.

 

Does NGC list the '64?

 

Thanks for the help so far. Appreciated.

 

ec

 

As I had mentioned previously, I located them in the PR (proof) section of the NGC Census Report. They appear after the 1964 Proofs and are listed as "SP".

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As I had mentioned previously, I located them in the PR (proof) section of the NGC Census Report. They appear after the 1964 Proofs and are listed as "SP".

 

Thanks! I was looking for "SMS" as PCGS designates them but "SP" for specimen makes more sense to me. Do you think these are worth the hype and large prices that these tend to fetch when offered?

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It might very well be that NGC doesn't recognize them at all. My understanding has always been that these are speculative. I don't see them under either the mint state or proof sections of the NGC census (and the SMS issues are usually grouped with the latter).

 

Here is an excerpt from Jamie Hernandez (PCGS Coin Facts):

 

Jaime Hernandez: Plain and simple, the 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half's are not suppose to exist. However, there are about a dozen or so examples which have surfaced in the past 15 years. Therefore, it is the scarcest non error or variety Kennedy Half Dollar in existence.

 

The 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half dollars display very unique characteristics unseen on any other coins of the era. First of all, the strike is very sharp as it displays very clear details on both the obverse and the reverse. The coins also contain a smooth satin like appearance with the rims being very square and sharp. There are die polishing lines throughout the coins surfaces. These coins also tend to lack contact marks unlike business strike coins, indicating that they were struck and handled under extreme care. Furthermore, the coins do not display the reflective surfaces that are usually encountered on proof coins.

 

These 1964 Special Strike Kennedy Half’s were first noticed in 1993 when they appeared in a Stacks auction. Apparently, the coins originated from Lester Merkin who was a well known coin dealer. His collection was later consigned to Stacks. It is also believed that Lester Merkin initially acquired the coins from a Mint employee or Eva Adams who was former Director of the U.S. Mint

 

I looked and found some in the NGC census in the Proof section. Additionally, I saw some, while a grader at NGC and have seen them offered for sale from time to time.

 

If you don't mind me asking, which denomination did you look under and which page? I must have overlooked them. I am very curious as to the population of the pieces.

 

Do you consider legitimate SMS coins? It would be one of the few moderns that would pique my interest if it was in fact a legitimate rarity.

 

I looked for and located cents, nickels and dimes. I did not look for the quarters and half dollars.

 

They don't look like typical SMS coins, but they differ distinctly from ordinary business strikes. In fact, they look different enough to be labeled as "SP", despite the lack of official documentation of their production.

 

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Quarters :

 

3 7 59 105 395 1852 3033 1950 4

1964 25C PFCA Shop 922 4 15 73 188 359 282 1

1964 25C PFUC Shop 336 1 1 7 25 79 145 78

1964 25C SP Shop 1

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As I had mentioned previously, I located them in the PR (proof) section of the NGC Census Report. They appear after the 1964 Proofs and are listed as "SP".

 

Thanks! I was looking for "SMS" as PCGS designates them but "SP" for specimen makes more sense to me. Do you think these are worth the hype and large prices that these tend to fetch when offered?

 

I think they are highly intriguing and they appear to be extremely rare, so yes. Also, while I don't know how the current pops compare to that of years ago when the first examples were certified, I suspect that there have been very few additions since that time.

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The Philadelphia Mint was still striking proof coin sets (flat packs) in 1964. The Special Mint Sets (SMS) were not started until 1965 thru 1967 then back to the proof coinage in 1968 from the San Fransisco Mint.

 

Despite what you wrote above, there are a number of 1964 coins designated as SMS. And their appearance is markedly different from either Proofs or typical business strikes.

 

In my defense, none of the 1964 "prototype" Specimen coins that were struck were available to the public as a SMS sets, or even as individual coins, unless of course you were Eva Adams or LBJ

 

I'm more comfortable with a Specimen designation than I am SMS...I have been looking for any of the raw denominations for years. They say when you see one, you will know it.

 

 

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Greetings,

I happen to have a full set of the 1964 special strikes coin set. Can anyone tell me how much this set is worth.

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

The value would be determined largely by the grades of the coins. Which company graded them and what are the grades?

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Greetings,

I happen to have a full set of the 1964 special strikes coin set. Can anyone tell me how much this set is worth.

Usually, since these coins have always sold for traditionally high prices, folks that have a compete set have sunk close to $50,000 into the 5 coins.

 

I expect that you might simply have a 1964 Proof Set which folks buy and sell on a regular basis and quickly lose track of what was paid along with relative value.

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This is a complete set never opened my father said the bank he used in Philadelphia just gave him these coins in a hard plastic sleeve. I see some full sets on eBay for $40 and on other site's I see them saying over $25000? Who can I take these coins to and get a fair appraisal?

Thanks

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This is a complete set never opened my father said the bank he used in Philadelphia just gave him these coins in a hard plastic sleeve. I see some full sets on eBay for $40 and on other site's I see them saying over $25000? Who can I take these coins to and get a fair appraisal?

Thanks

 

It does not sound at all as if you have a 1964 SMS set, but rather, that it is a regular Proof set. If you can post images here, we can probably tell you.

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What evidence is there for 1964 "SMS" pieces being struck? I have not examined the extant mint documents at NARA, but I presume someone found letters or memoranda about the pieces.

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What evidence is there for 1964 "SMS" pieces being struck? I have not examined the extant mint documents at NARA, but I presume someone found letters or memoranda about the pieces.

 

I am not aware of any documentation. But having viewed a good number of them in hand, believe that the coins speak for themselves.

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What evidence is there for 1964 "SMS" pieces being struck? I have not examined the extant mint documents at NARA, but I presume someone found letters or memoranda about the pieces.
Totally off the cuff, but I believe that these coins were produced for the national collection or at the very minimum with the dies and processes used for the coins intended for the national collection.

 

Check out the Aug 5th, 2013 edition of Coin World. There is an article title "Hidden in Plain Sight" where researchers tasked with photographing the National Numismatic Collection (NNC) found that a great number of the modern coins submitted to the collection by the US Mint were in fact Special Finish Coins. Possibly actual "First Strike" modern coins.

 

Within that article is a photocopy of a memorandum date April 3, 1964 from then Smithsonian Curator, Y. Clain-Stefanelli, which states:

 

"All these coins are first strikes, selected in accordance with special arrangements made in 1962 with Miss Adams, Director of the Mint."

 

Since Eva Adams is "directly" tied to the 1864 SMS coins found in her estate after she passed away AND she is tied "directly" to an agreement that was made between the NNC and "special finish" coins, I see no reason to believe that the 1964 SMS Coins weren't actually intended for the Smithsonian or perhaps produced with the4 same manufacturing technique for some specific purpose under Miss Adams direction. How they ended up in her personal collection is quite a different question with its own innuendo's.

 

I did copy of one of the Kennedy's from that article just for discussions such as this:

 

Kennedy1968-DNNCCollectionCoinWorldCover-01_zps9aeacd03.jpg

 

NGC ultimately graded each of the coins. This one graded SP67.

 

There you go Roger!

 

What should happen at this point, is more of a detailed study of the 1964 SMS Coins comparing them with the NNC Coins to see if the same dies were used on any of the 1964 examples.

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Thanks! Good information.

 

When these coins "speak" are they saying the surfaces were an intentional product, or are they saying they are simply very early strikes from new dies?

 

"First strikes" are not specially prepared coins - they are just the first ones off a new die, pulled from production as being the best and most detailed of production coins. The earliest strikes from a new die will always look different from the majority because the metal flow we associate with coinage occurs during production and is NNOT present on a new die.

 

The comment from Dr. Clain-Stefanelli is clear and says nothing about any special surfaces.

 

One possible solution is that the so-called "SMS" coins are really first strikes. At some later date, these were incorrectly interpreted as being made with a "special" surface. The balance all seems to be guesses that have morphed into "facts." See the phony "Zerbe proofs" and similar exaggerations. The Hernandez quote seems to support the first strike approach.

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PS: The illustrated coin, and similar ones, might reasonably be called "specimens" since they were deliberately pulled from the beginning production from a new die. If the fields and details are consistent with the NNC first strike pieces, then they are all of the same nature regardless of date. Thus the 1964 "SMS" coins are no more or less special than ones of any other date from 1962 forward. That means, of course, that all the stories built around the 1964 coins are just inventions to separate the rube from his gold.

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Thanks! Good information.

 

When these coins "speak" are they saying the surfaces were an intentional product, or are they saying they are simply very early strikes from new dies?

 

"First strikes" are not specially prepared coins - they are just the first ones off a new die, pulled from production as being the best and most detailed of production coins. The earliest strikes from a new die will always look different from the majority because the metal flow we associate with coinage occurs during production and is NNOT present on a new die.

 

The comment from Dr. Clain-Stefanelli is clear and says nothing about any special surfaces.

 

One possible solution is that the so-called "SMS" coins are really first strikes. At some later date, these were incorrectly interpreted as being made with a "special" surface. The balance all seems to be guesses that have morphed into "facts." See the phony "Zerbe proofs" and similar exaggerations. The Hernandez quote seems to support the first strike approach.

 

It has been a long time since I examined any 1964 SMS coins. However, my recollection is that they spoke to me in terms of obvious and atypical die polish lines, as well as a surface fabric which differed noticeably from business strikes.

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A coin made from a new die will not look like ordinary circulation strike coins. The metal flow of the die steel has not developed so what is visible is an image of the new die surface before it is deformed by use.

 

There are coins in the Mitchelson collection that are "different" from usual circulation strikes, and several letters to/from George Goddard indicate these are coins taken from fresh dies. To be more specific, there are several 1917 Ty-1 quarters that from their appearance one would conclude they are specially made pieces. Yet, the documents state they are nothing but the best first strike coins mint curator Comparette could obtain. There are several 1921-P Morgans with similar documentation. Also, in the 1916 pattern series, there is a quarter (J1989/P2050) which has been repeatedly "authenticated" as a "proof" with satin-like surfaces, yet letters between the mint director and superintendent clearly state the coin was made on a production press - plus describing the mint director's actions in scraping off part of the olive leaves on this specific coin. Also, refer to 1921 Peace dollars. Early strikes from new dies have a satin-like surface and virtually no luster. Again, this is the image of a new die before the surface has deformed. (1921s are easier to find than 1922s because many dies were used to make only 1 million+ coins.)

 

I suggest that if "1964 SMS" coins are of a similar fabric to others of different dates, known to be first strike coins, then they are probably also first strike pieces...."Specimen pieces" - Yes! "Special Mint Set pieces" with all sorts of cute stories attached - No!

 

One additional factor to consider. If the dies were prepared with a special surface, then we would expect to see a sharp cut-off between special surface coins and normal coins. Experiments are usually brief, intense examinations, with a clear end....one would not expect experimental pieces to drag out and merge with production pieces. It is my recollection that the authentication companies have had considerable internal discussions in trying to separate "1964 SMS" coins from other 1964 coins with similar characteristics.

 

I leave it to others to perform the physical examination of SI coins as they relate to the so-called "1964 SMS" pieces.

 

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A coin made from a new die will not look like ordinary circulation strike coins. The metal flow of the die steel has not developed so what is visible is an image of the new die surface before it is deformed by use.

 

There are coins in the Mitchelson collection that are "different" from usual circulation strikes, and several letters to/from George Goddard indicate these are coins taken from fresh dies. To be more specific, there are several 1917 Ty-1 quarters that from their appearance one would conclude they are specially made pieces. Yet, the documents state they are nothing but the best first strike coins mint curator Comparette could obtain. There are several 1921-P Morgans with similar documentation. Also, in the 1916 pattern series, there is a quarter (J1989/P2050) which has been repeatedly "authenticated" as a "proof" with satin-like surfaces, yet letters between the mint director and superintendent clearly state the coin was made on a production press - plus describing the mint director's actions in scraping off part of the olive leaves on this specific coin. Also, refer to 1921 Peace dollars. Early strikes from new dies have a satin-like surface and virtually no luster. Again, this is the image of a new die before the surface has deformed. (1921s are easier to find than 1922s because many dies were used to make only 1 million+ coins.)

 

I suggest that if "1964 SMS" coins are of a similar fabric to others of different dates, known to be first strike coins, then they are probably also first strike pieces...."Specimen pieces" - Yes! "Special Mint Set pieces" with all sorts of cute stories attached - No!

 

One additional factor to consider. If the dies were prepared with a special surface, then we would expect to see a sharp cut-off between special surface coins and normal coins. Experiments are usually brief, intense examinations, with a clear end....one would not expect experimental pieces to drag out and merge with production pieces. It is my recollection that the authentication companies have had considerable internal discussions in trying to separate "1964 SMS" coins from other 1964 coins with similar characteristics.

 

I leave it to others to perform the physical examination of SI coins as they relate to the so-called "1964 SMS" pieces.

 

The characteristics of coins I viewed did not resemble that seen on other dates.

 

And at least while I was at NGC (1991-1998), we did not have discussions regarding "trying to separate "1964 SMS" coins from other 1964 coins with similar characteristics".

 

I'm certainly not going to claim that the coins can't be merely early strikes. But based on my observations, I don't think they are.

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I examined a five-piece set of these coins for the first time in 1995, and there was no question in my mind that they were neither currency strikes nor conventional proofs. All of the coins but one were certified by NGC as SP (specimen). The dime was on the line and, since these were the first such coins seen, it was decided to err on the side of caution.

 

I wrote a front page article for Coin World at the time, but it was too long ago to be accessible from CW's archives. I saved the printed version in one of my scrapbooks, but I'm away from the ofiice and can't consult it. Nevertheless, I'm absolutely certain that these distinctive coins do exist and were struck for a special purpose.

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