1968-1970 US Proof Set

1968-1970 US Proof Sets were the first proof sets issued by the US Mint in over three years. Proof Set production had been discontinued beginning in 1965 as the country struggled with a coin shortage.

As a means to satisfy collector demand, the US Mint instead starting issued Special Mint Sets from 1965-1967. These special sets were struck in San Francisco and included just one example of each circulating coin produced in that year.

Their finish was different from previous releases in that the dies were specially polished while the planchets were not. The result was a strike with a brilliant finish but since each coin was not handled separately, marks occurred on many of the coins.

But in 1968, the US Mint returned to standard proof and mint set production. These releases also basically marked the beginning of the modern proof set era as coins of the set were now struck solely at the US Mint’s facility in San Francisco just as they are today. The coins were also placed in hard plastic display cases similar to today’s product.

The 1968-1970 Sets also marked the beginning and the end for the 40% silver Kennedy Half Dollars included in them. The 1968 Proof Set was the first time a 40% silver Kennedy Half Dollar was included in a proof set since the 1964 Proof Set had contained a 90% silver variety.

The 1970 Set would be the last year for a 40% Kennedy Half Dollar in a set. Following releases would see the coin change to a base metal composition.

A total of five coins struck at the US Mint’s facility in San Francisco were included in each of the 1968-1970 Proof Sets. A brief description of each coin is offered below.

Lincoln Cent

The United States Mint debuted the Lincoln Cent originally in 1909 as part of a centennial celebration of the birth of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The obverse portrait of Lincoln was originally completed by Victor David Brenner. The reverse of the cent coin featured in this set first appeared in 1959 with a Lincoln Memorial image by Frank Gasparro.

Jefferson Nickel

Jefferson Nickels were first released in 1938 and feature an obverse portrait of the third US President, Thomas Jefferson. The portrait was designed by Felix Schlag who also completed the reverse image of Monticello, Jefferson’s home.

Roosevelt Dime

1946 marked the first year Roosevelt Dimes were issued. The dimes feature an obverse portrait of President Franklin D. Roosevelt by John R. Sinnock who also designed the reverse of an oak branch, an olive branch and a torch.

Washington Quarter

The US Mint first released Washington Quarters in 1932 as part of a bicentennial celebration of the birth of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The obverse contains a portrait of Washington by John Flanagan with the reverse showcasing an eagle with its wings outstretched, also by Flanagan.

Kennedy Half Dollar – 0.14790 oz. total silver weight

Shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, plans were put in place for his likeness to appear on a coin. This occurred in 1964 with the release of the Kennedy Half Dollar with a portrait of Kennedy on the obverse by Gilroy Roberts. The reverse shows a modified Presidential Seal by Frank Gasparro.

1968-1970 US Proof Set Specifications

Face Value:   $0.91
Composition:   cent, nickel, dime & quarter – base metal
half dollar – 40% silver
Total Silver Content:   0.14790 oz

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