1950-1964 US Proof Set

1950-1964 US Proof Sets marked a return to proof set production for the United States Mint. They had last been issued by the Mint in 1942 but were then discontinued as the nation focused on its involvement in World War II.

It is important to know that these proof sets were and are not identified as silver proof sets. That is because all circulating dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars issued by the US Mint during this era were struck from 90% silver. Thus a label indicating the precious metal content was not required.

The 1950-1964 Proof Sets cover a relatively large range of years, but surprisingly saw little variety. One major change during this time came to the proof set packaging. When first issued, coins of these sets were placed in individual pouches and then stapled together at the top. The bundle was then wrapped in tissue paper and placed inside cardboard boxes.

That packaging changed in 1955. In that year, the coins of the set were packaged together on the same plastic sheet with each in an individually sealed pocket. This pack was then placed between two cardboard inserts inside a paper envelope.

Specific coin changes were also few in these sets. Of interest, however, is the fact that the Roosevelt Dime and the Benjamin Franklin Half Dollar made their proof debuts as part of the 1950 Set. Also, in 1964, the Franklin Half Dollar was replaced with the new John F. Kennedy Half Dollar.


The 1950-1964 US Proof Sets contained a total of five coins per set. These strikes are briefly described below:

Lincoln Cent

Lincoln Cents actually made their debut in 1909 as part of a centennial celebration of the birth of the man that would become the 16th President of the United States. The obverse of each base metal coin contains a profile portrait of Lincoln as designed by Victor David Brenner (a design still in use on the Lincoln Cents today).

From 1909-1958, the reverse featured a wheat stalk design also designed by Brenner. That design changed, however, in 1959 as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of Lincoln’s birth. Beginning that year, an image of the Lincoln Memorial was used by Frank Gasparro.

Jefferson Nickel

The Jefferson Nickel made its debut in 1938 and features an obverse portrait of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was the third President of the United States and also the principle author of the United States Declaration of Independence. The original portrait shown on the nickel was completed by Felix Schlag.

The reverse, also by Schlag, depicts a view of Monticello – the home of Jefferson. Like the Lincoln Cent, Jefferson Nickels were struck from base metals.

Roosevelt Dime – 0.07234 oz. total silver weight

Roosevelt Dimes were first introduced by the US Mint in 1946. As such, their appearance in these proof sets in 1950 marked the first time the coin was released in the collector grade finish.

Shown on the obverse of each dime is a John R. Sinnock portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States. The reverse depicts an olive branch, a torch and an oak branch, also by Sinnock.

Washington Quarter – 0.18084 oz. total silver weight

Washington Quarters made their debut in 1932 as part of a bicentennial celebration of the birth of George Washington, the first President of the United States. His image, by artist John Flanagan, has been found on the obverse of quarter dollars since then.

John Flanagan also designed the original reverse of each quarter. It featured an eagle is shown perched on a bundle of arrows with two olive branches flanking it.

Franklin Half Dollar (1950-1963) or Kennedy Half Dollar (1964) – 0.36169 oz total silver weight

Franklin Half Dollars were first released by the US Mint in 1948 making their appearance in the 1950 Proof Set the first time the coin had been issued in the collector grade quality. Shown on the obverse of each coin is a portrait of American diplomat and statesman Benjamin Franklin. The reverse depicts a Liberty Bell. Both designs were the work of John R. Sinnock.

In 1964, Kennedy Half Dollars replaced the Franklin strikes. These coins featured a portrait by Gilroy Roberts of John F. Kennedy, the 35th US President, who had been assassinated the previous year. The reverse of each coin contains the image of modified Presidential Seal by Frank Gasparro.

1950-1964 Proof Set Specifications

Face Value:   $.91
Composition:   cent, nickel – base metal
dime, quarter, half dollar – 90% silver
Total Silver Content:   0.61487 oz

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