Set. [57,500] Same comments, but without the "first year" glamor.
Set. [81,980] As in 1951. Half dollar sometimes has incomplete back curls. 1973 GENA:
Set. [128,800] As in 1951. Speculation on unc. half dollars may have affected proof set prices.
Set. [233,300] As in 1951
Set. [378,200] As in 1951. Speculation on unc. half dollars may have affected proof prices; note that less than six times as many business strikes of this denomination were made as there were proofs.
Owing in part to discovery of a singularly crude abuse, sometime during April or May - exact date and amounts appear not to have been recorded - the mint changed over from shipping sets in boxes to shipping them in polyethylene plastic envelopes. During about 1953-55 there had been a growing business in "mint sealed" proof sets, which term was taken by some of the more stupid element to mean unopened boxes. The demand was met in part by enterprising specialists in fraud, who steamed open the boxes, filched the proof sets, replaced them with junk foreign coins, small pieces of lead pipe, or reportedly lumps of coal or stones of approximately proper weight, and afterwards resealed the boxes replacing the buff paper tape in as near the original position as possible, so that the mint's rubber stamp designations would not be disturbed in position. Exposure of this practice produced a rather messy scandal. Unfortunately, the market in "mint sealed" proof sets continued even after the switch to plastic envelopes. Some of the aforementioned more stupid element continued to insist that the term had to mean unopened mailing envelopes, and one may guess what happened ... ! I have seen several such envelopes which revealed that the proof sets had been replaced by small zinc sheets of about the proper weight. Exposure of this practice has helped quiet down the moronic insistence on "mint sealed." If people are going to buy, sell, hoard and speculate in the things unopened, why not keep them in some central vault and sell shares of stock in them?
Set. [669,384] Two types.
- Half dollar of Type I as in previous years.
- Half dollar of Type II, 1956-63. Eagle in higher relief, 3 feathers left of perch, all wing feathers distinct. It is not known which is scarcer. The late Sol Kaplan had hoarded these and some earlier years by the tens of thousands.
Set. [1,247,952] Nickels for this year and 1958 only have a much larger star in legend than former years. I have also seen one with extremely thin letters (overpolished die); this is evidently quite rare. As less than 41'8 times as many business strike half dollars were made as proofs, conceivably this might have helped in the recovery of prices on 1957 proof sets some years later. For awhile the large mintage made this date difficult to sell, especially after Prudential Insurance Co. dumped over 100,000 sets. During the next few months these sets could be bought at well below issue price, but there were few takers. One set known, evidently assembled, with all five coins showing frosted devices. Usually there are not more than one or two, generally none.
Set. [875,652] As in 1957, but no nickels seen with extra thin letters, and the remarks about half dollars and massive hoarding do not hold. Nickels are not as dark as business strikes of this year.
Set. [1,149,291] Cents have the new (and still, alas, current) Gasparro design for reverse - no improvement at all. Nickels have smaller star in legend; tie more rectangular, queue in higher relief and farther from neck.
Set. [All kinds 1,691,602] Claims have been made for true varieties on the dimes ("pointed" and "blunt" tails to 9). So far as I can tell, this variation on dimes 1960-64 comes from lighter or heavier hub bing into dies; or sometimes from relapped dies, which procedure would naturally thin out date elements, preferentially those already narrowed in design such as serifs or tails.
On the other hand, small and large date cents prove two different working hubs. Small dates have thick digits, short tails to 9 and 6, small circle within zero, and top of 1 is noticeably about top of 9. Only a comparatively small number, probably between 100,000 and 200,000 pieces (promoters would like to believe still fewer than that),managed to leave the mint in proof state; exact statistics have never been released.
The large dates have thin digits, long tails to 9 and 6, large opening in zero, top of 1 below top of 9; they are sufficiently common.
When two different hubs are used to make coins of the same denomination in the same year, mixups occur such that a working die, given one blow from a hub and then sent to the annealing furnace, may return in the wrong batch to the hubbing press and receive a second blow from a different hub. This is what produced the well-known 1918/7 nickel and quarter obverses and the 1942/41 dime dies. By the middle 1960's eagle-eyed specialists had discovered the same kind of hubbing error on 1960 cents: large over small dates. Uncirculated specimens are numerous. Later on (about 1966) proofs were reported from at least one working die with this same error. The Steiner-Zimpfer book Modern Mint Mistakes (Whispering Pines Ptg., Box 16, Wanatah, Indiana 46390, 4th ed., 1974, p. 74) lists proofs with this blunder at $50-$75: say 50 to 60 times the value of a regular large date proof, 3 to 4 times the value of a regular small date proof cent.