Long Beard's Blog

27 Nov 2022

More Unrealized Value

Coins-United States | Long Beard

Last week's blog topic pertained to finding rarity and value far exceeding that of what we as collectors first think of on that subject. Low mintage, low survival high grades of world coinage comparative to similar coins of the United States. The subject of this week is a continuation, finding value which all too often is right before our eyes. The Prestige Proof Sets from 1983 to 1997. Enjoy!

Beginning in 1983, the United States Mint began a series of proof sets spanning fifteen years, excluding 1985 for an unknown reason. These sets were the pinnacle of perfection and the highwater mark to future quality of their product packaging. These sets were composed of silver representatives of the cent through half dollar along with a dollar and/or half dollar commemorative of the set's year housed within a plastic case and bound to an outer covering giving appearance to a book. The 1983 and 1984 sets featured a fine, faux leather with button snap closure. Those from 1986 and on were covered in a luxurious felt, each year being a different color, and were now larger in size than the previous two years. All feature a silk lined pillow on the inner covers with embossed text and date as well as a heavy cast metal eagle centered on the cover. In all, there are 14 sets.

Which brings us to that unrealized value mentioned in both the title and opening. Commemorative coin sales have been popular since their return in 1982, growing in fact over the past few years. With a few exceptions, a large percentage of earlier issues trade for not much above their original issue. Some even less. Using the 1989 Congress commemorative as an example, currently the dollar averages around $30 and the half dollar $21.00. The 1989 Prestige Proof Set can easily be found between $30-35. Clearly costing less than buying them individually, they contain three addition coins composed of .90% silver. So if this is not a true value by every definition, what is? Perhaps some simply like them individually. Yet for the money, you'd be foolish to pass them by.

And finally, some added history behind the coin you guys always thank me for. Which is greatly appreciated. While the obvious Capitol it's self could be presented, or those elected who hold chamber within, something which I'm fairly certain no one has heard of comes to mind. The Architect of the Capitol. This is the federal agency made up of 2,000 plus employees who's sole purpose is to serve, preserve and inspire the Capitol, and it's grounds, both houses of Congress, The Library of Congress, the Supreme Court and the Botanical Gardens. Their very existence dating back to the laying of the Capitol cornerstone in 1793. It began with Dr. William Thornton' design of the grand two-wing structure and central dome, credited as being the first Architect of the Capitol. These are the people, behind the scenes if you will, who ensure that the symbol of American strength and power continues to be. And a beautiful structure it is!



Level 5

Very unique packaging for the sets. Sad to see how little value they now have.


Level 6

Beautiful set! I always enjoy your blogs! Thanks for sharing these great coins! ; )

AC coin$

Level 6

Exquisite thematic sets. It is wonderful you have them within your impressive collection. Such an honor to read from your expertise.


Level 4

Nice, informational blog. I've seen a few dealers at Long Beach sell them without the dollars, as they can make more cracking them out and selling them in bulk. At one of the first times I went to a coin shop (about two years ago), I saw one of these selling for $23, but I wasn't knowledgeable enough to realize the potential deal. Thanks


Level 4

Yes still have my 1986 prestige set and despite it barely being worth the issue price I still enjoy it today. Maybe it is the nostalgia of remember the fireworks during the big celebration of its restoration as I watched the event on TV. I like to say these sets seemed to fair much better than the 83 Olympic sets where some the proof mirror finish has been replaced by a milky cloudy surfaces over the years, so kudos on the better packaging by 1986.

Long Beard

Level 5

Overall, I think the presentation and quality of the sets have few equals paired against the Mint's other offerings. I look at mine at least once a month, lacking only that 1996 Olympic due to a high price.

I bought a 1987 mint set only for the half dollars because it was cheaper than buying the individual coins.


Level 6

It's all about research. You certainly show us some great results. Nice end to this blog. On the news it seems like the white house and all the buildings you mentioned are on a constant state of repair or building. Always see construction equipment. Thanks.


Level 7

Again you never disappoint. I enjoyed this. I would like to own the 1996 S . They made 55,000. They go for hundreds. The presentation is beautiful. The case there in would look great if you wanted to display it. Thanks for your work . Your research. Mike


Level 6

You do a great job of explaining the conclusion of your topic. Collectors can find nice bargain, if they would do just a little research. Thanks for the blog.

Long Beard

Level 5

I think the lack of patience plays a slightly larger part. But yes, researching before you buy is also a key part. In some cases you could buy another commemorative which was not part of the Prestige series for the difference saved.

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