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First and foremost – there is a significant difference between a mint set and a proof set. If you’re a beginner in the coin world, you should understand how they differ, and how these differences affect the price. Yes, they’re both sets of coins from the U.S. Mint and both sets are made up of coins in original, unused “mint” condition.

Different Value

Some details of these sets are similar, it’s true. But to understand how different they are, you can start with a basic definition of each. Proof sets have one coin of each design and denomination, but they’re also produced with polished blanks and made using polished dies. By comparison, mint sets contain coins that haven’t been circulated but are in condition close to circulating coins. This set also has one coin of each denomination made at the mint locations. However, if there are two mints producing coins, the mint set will contain two coins of each type.

It’s important to buy and sell with care because the value of a mint set and a proof set from the same year may be significantly different. You should also understand that proof sets have been packaged in cases of hard plastic for the last several decades. Mint sets generally contain separate packs within the set (since the 1950s). You might also look for indications of the mint where the set was produced, such as a blue and red theme for the coin holders.

Coin Condition

This is one of the most important factors you should use when assessing coin value. But you should also pay close attention to some other important characteristics separating proof coins from mint coins. For example, proof coins are very early samples of a new issue. Traditionally, these were used to make sure the dies used to produce coins were in top condition. They were also produced for government archives, but now are made to be collector’s items.

Mint coins were produced in the same run as many other coins but their condition has remained very good. Sometimes these coins were never circulated, leaving them in excellent shape.

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