The Philippine Islands were a Territorial United States possession from 1899-1945. Awarded to the United States as partial reparation following the Spanish-American War, the U.S. was tasked with providing a monetary system that was both compatible with the existing Spanish coins already in circulation, and the existing U.S. system. The resulting system was a new coinage depicting the "Filipinas Islands" on the "heads" side and "United States of America" on the "tails" side. This was a unique coinage and the first time in U.S. history that a separate and exclusive coinage system was developed specifically for a territorial possession. The first issues were coined in 1903 at both Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints. Just like other U.S. issues, proof coins were also produced for sale to interested Americans and coin collectors. These Proof coins were issued from 1903-1908, with the exception of 1907.
The proof coins were limited to 500 coins of each variety, and were sold in sets. Many sets were never sold, and the individual coins were released to general circulation or sold in bulk sets to coin dealers years later. The exception was the 1905 issues of which 471 sets were sold, and the remaining coins supposedly scrapped. Most of the existing coins are in the PR60 - PR62 grades, with higher grades scarce to rare. Since most Americans looked at these coins as "foreign" coins, very few were respected as potential future rarities. Most were handled or even "played with". High grade, pristine, sets are truly rare and in demand, often selling for up to ten times the price of sets of handled coins.
U.S. / Philippine Coins are one of numismatics' best-kept secrets. It is estimated that as many as half of all U.S. coin collectors are totally unaware of their existence. Over the past five years these coins have become more and more difficult to locate, and increasingly expensive. Although many times more difficult to locate than their contemporary U.S. proof issues, they are still much less expensive to acquire, and represent a good investment.
The opinions expressed in this review are mine alone, and are solely intended to call to attention a rare and potentially valuable series of coins. If you have found this guide helpful or informative, I would greatly appreciate your (YES) vote at the bottom of this page. All references available upon request. - mintex03