My passion for 20th Century coins extends into this proof-only type set. (see also my non-proof only type set). Naturally, proofs normally offer a superior look to business strikes, because that is their purpose. So as a type collector, it makes sense to focus on proofs.
About half of this set is relatively easy to assemble. Anything available in the 1990's is affordable even when buying PF70UC grades. Coins only available in the 1970's, such as Ike dollars and the Bicentennial issues are inexpensive as long as you can be satisfied with the PF69UC grade. There are only a handful of these types graded PF70UC by NGC, but PCGS graded a lot of them in PR70DC. Because of Mark Salzberg's (horribly unfair) decision years back to allow PCGS coins to remain in some registry sets while preventing any new PCGS coins to be added, some collectors have a significant advantage here!
Now the other half of the type set is a different story. While all coin types from 1950-1964 are commonly found, most of them are hard to find when you want the highest grades. Check the difference between a PF65 and a PF69UC Franklin or Kennedy. And those grades mean big differences in NGC's scoring metric.
It's worth pointing out that the coins from Special Mint Sets in 1965-1967 are counted as proofs. The silver-clad Kennedy half dollars in Ultra Cameo grades fetch big money and are worth a lot more registry points than the 1968-1970 silver-clad proofs in the same grade.
Now here's where it gets interesting. Proof coinage has low mintage figures from 1936-1942 (between 3837 and 32,600), and has very low mintage figures from 1900-1916 (from 380 to 4118). No proof coins were struck from 1917-1935 and from 1943-1949, which makes all types that ended before 1943 hard to find and more expensive. Those types are: the Indian cent; the Liberty nickel; the Barber dime, quarter and half; the Morgan dollar; the Lincoln VDB and matte cents; all 3 of the Buffalo nickel types; the Type 2 Jefferson nickel; the Mercury dime; and the Walking Liberty half. Because of the way these coins were packaged and stored for the past 75-120 years, like business strikes, they all have unique toning and their own individual beauty. These are the coins that make this set special.
Here are the total number of each proof type made from 1900-1942 listed least to most:
1909 1c VDB 1194
1913 5c Buffalo T1 matte 1520
1900-1904 $1 Morgan 3907
1913-1916 5c Buffalo T2 matte 4439
1936-1937 5c Buffalo T2 brilliant 10,189
1900-1916 25c Barber 10,336
1900-1915 50c Barber 10,350
1900-1916 10c Barber 10,390
1909-1916 1c Wheat matte 17,181
1900-1909 1c Indian 19,019
1942 5c Jefferson silver 27,600
1900-1912 5c Liberty 27,890
1936-1942 25c Washington 73,875*
1936-1942 50c Walking Liberty 74,400
1936-1942 10c Mercury 78,648
1936-1942 1c Wheat brilliant 112,715*
1938-1942 5c Jefferson 121,978*
* = production continued in 1950
Note the scarcity of the VDB and the type 1 Buffalo proofs!
In my set, I tried to get the best coins that I could find and afford - so I immediately gave up on the scarce $20K Lincoln VDB matte proof. The rest vary from PF65-68 with intentions to upgrade any of them if and when I can find them. Of note, this type set includes the 6-piece 1900 proof set.
My compliments to Zakmar, who has won this category for 10+ years. His set has *three* pre-1943 coins graded PF68★! In my book, that is equivalent to catching a unicorn, a leprechaun, and Bigfoot. Nice!
All photos were taken by me.Read more...