Prestige Proof Sets
For collectors interested in Prestige Proof Sets, check our eBay Store as we usually have examples of most dates in stock.
The first Prestige Proof Set was issued in 1983 and included a silver dollar commemorating the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games. Prestige Proof Sets were issued every subsequent year through 1997 with the exception of 1985 when no modern commemoratives were issued. The Legacy Sets issued by the US Mint starting in 2005 resurrected the concept of Prestige Proof Sets by combining current year proof sets and commemorative programs. The Legacy Set packing is dramatically different from that used for Prestige Sets and Legacy Sets have included commemoratives from two different commemorative programs while Prestige Proof Sets utilized coins from only one program per year. It will be interesting to see if over time collectors group these two types of sets and collect them together.
Commemorative Coins In Prestige Proof SetsAs mentioned, each Prestige Proof Set contains the regular issued proof coins for the year (San Francisco mint Proof versions of the Lincoln Cent, Jefferson Nickel, Roosevelt Dime, Washington Quarter and Kennedy Half Dollar). In addition, the set contains at least a silver dollar from one of the modern commemorative programs from the year. Sets from some years also include a clad half dollar from the same modern commemorative program. The chart below indicates which commemorative coins were included in each set:
Commemoratives in Prestige Sets
Year Program Dollar Half Dollar
1984 Los Angeles Olympics Yes
1986 Statute of Liberty Yes Yes
1987 Constitution Yes
1988 Olympics Yes
1989 Congressional Yes Yes
1990 Eisenhower Yes
1991 Mount Rushmore Yes Yes
1992 Olympics Yes Yes
1993 Bill of Rights Yes Yes
1994 World Cup Yes Yes
1995 Civil War Yes Yes
1996 Atlanta Olympics Yes (Rowing) Yes (Soccer)
In most cases, commemorative coins in the Prestige Proof Sets were minted at the Mint's San Francisco Assay Office. The two exceptions were the Eisenhower and Botanic Gardens Dollars which were produced at the Philadelphia Mint.
Prestige Proof Set Production FiguresPrestige Proof Sets got off to a slow start in 1983 with only a touch over 140 thousand sets selling. The following year was much better with over twice as many sets selling. The Mint took a pause in 1985 with no commemorative program but came back in 1986 with the best selling commemorative program of all time, the Statue of Liberty program. The result was the best year ever for Prestige Proof Set sales with nearly 600 thousand sets sold, each containing a Statute of Liberty Half Dollar and Dollar and accounting for nearly ten percent of the total production for those two coins.
The years that followed saw declining sales of Prestige Proof Sets until 1990 when the Eisenhower Commemorative Dollar program proved popular and pushed sales back over the half million mark for the only other time in the series history. 1991 sales were about half the 1990 sales and generally continued to decline until the end of the program. During the last two years, the Mint set maximum sales at 55,000 and 80,000 unit respectively and both sold out.
Prestige Proof Set Mintages
1983 140,361 1991 256,954
1984 316,680 1992 183,293
1986 599,317 1993 224,045
1987 435,495 1994 175,893
1988 231,661 1995 107,112
1989 211,087 1996 55,000
1990 506,126 1997 80,000
1990 No S Proof Cents
In addition to being one of only two sets with sales surpassing the half million mark and one of only two sets with coins minted in Philadelphia, the 1990 set is the only one in which significant errors were found. A few Proof Sets from 1990 were found to contain cents that were missing their S mintmark. Similarly, a few of the Prestige Proof Sets from the year were also discovered with this error coin making their owners very happy!
Prestige Proof Set PackagingPrestige Proof Set packaging consists of a thick album for the coins that fits inside a sturdy outer box. The first two years, the album and box were smaller than that used for the later years. The smaller size box measures 4 3/4 inches wide by 6 1/2 inches long by 1 1/4 inches deep. The larger size box measures 5 1/4 inches wide by 7 3/8 inches long by 1 1/2 inches deep.
The binder itself was of three different materials. The 1983 and 1984 sets use a simulated leather material. 1986 and 1987 sets use a faux suede material. Finally, the albums in the later sets have a velvetish finish.
The Mint used a variety of colors of the outer boxes. With the exception of 1986, the inner album was colored to match the outer box. For the 1986 Prestige Proof Sets, the Mint used a royal blue outer box matched with a gray album inside. The following table shows the colors used for the outer boxes:
Prestige Set Box Color
1983 Maroon 1991 Gray
1984 Maroon 1992 Maroon
1986 Royal Blue 1993 Royal Blue
1987 Light Blue 1994 Dark Blue
1988 Maroon 1995 Green
1989 Brown 1996 Maroon
1990 Teal 1997 Green
The outer boxes for the first two years are blank while those from 1986 on are imprinted with the Treasury seal and the following:
19xx Prestige Sets
For collectors looking for a closed series to collect, Prestige Proof Sets are an attractive option. None are particularly difficult to locate and other than the last two are relatively inexpensive. The whole run of dates can typically be assembled for $1200 or less making it affordable for many collectors, especially when assembled one set at a time.