Prestige Proof Sets (Produced 1983-1997)

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Prestige Proof Sets (Produced 1983-1997)
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Prestige Proof Sets

Produced 1983-1997

Prestige Proof Sets blended two popular Mint programs by combining the five coins from a regular Proof Set along with one or two modern commemorative coins issued during the year.  The set packaging was more elaborate than that used for either of the included programs and thus provided a nice upgrade option for collectors interested in an attractive display for the coins.

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 Sets

As 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

                                          1983    Los Angeles Olympics          Yes
                                          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)
                                          1997    Botanic Gardens                   Yes                             

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 Figures

Prestige 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


Year    Mintage       Year    Mintage
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 Packaging

Prestige 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

Year        Box Color                Year        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:

United Sates
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.
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