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2018-S San Francisco Mint Silver Reverse Proof Set
On July 23 the U.S. Mint will make numismatic history with the release the highly-anticipated 2018-S Silver Reverse Proof set, which has a limited mintage of 200,000 sets. This first-ever reverse proof set celebrates the 50th anniversary of the issuance of U.S. Mint proof coins at the San Francisco Mint.
Proof sets products have been a popular staple for collectors for many decades and a way for anyone to enter the hobby because they allow them to own all the coins issued each year for circulation (and clad dollar coins no longer made for circulation) but in Proof or silver Proof at an accessible price point.
These sets have also played a major role in stimulating interest in modern U.S. coins, especially in the various series of coins issued by the Mint that many collect by date and mintmark.
The new Silver Reverse Proof sets were first announced in 2015 by Tom Jurkowsky of the U.S. Mint who said back then: “Reverse proof coins do appear to be broadly popular with the numismatic community, especially when they mark the first time the Mint produces a particular coin with this type of finish, as was the case with the reverse proof Roosevelt dime included in the March of Dimes set.”
San Francisco Mint Proof Sets
The original San Francisco Mint operated from 1854 until 1937 in several different facilities. The modern San Francisco Mint opened in 1938.
This mint is best known in the modern period for producing Proof coins such as Eisenhower Dollars from 1971 to 1978; American Silver Eagles from 1986 to 1992, in special sets in 2011 and 2012, and once again since 2017; and since 1968 U.S. Mint Proof coin sets with all coins carrying an “S” mintmark.
The Mint also produces other Proof coins at the West Point and Philadelphia Mints.
Proof and Silver Proof sets, issued exclusively at this mint since 1968 except for certain special sets, have established the standard for numismatic excellence with their impressive artistry, craftsmanship, and quality.
The clad proof sets the Mint began issuing in 1968 that were struck at the San Francisco Mint were the first one released in hard plastic cases to protect the coins. Initially these sets included five coins: Proof versions of the Lincoln cent, Jefferson nickel, clad Roosevelt dime and Washington quarter, and John F. Kennedy half dollar.
Then a sixth coin, the Susan B. Anthony dollar was added for the sets issued from 1979 to 1981. From 1982 to 1998 the Mint returned to five-coin sets, and then in 1999 it began to include a second lens in the set for the five State quarters issued each year. In 2000 the Native American Dollar was added, and then in 2007 even more coins were added, including a separate lens for the Presidential Dollars issued each year through 2016.
While clad Proof sets have issued since 1968, 90% silver Proof sets have been issued at the San Francisco Mint since 1992.
ModernCoinMart’s inventory of Proof and Silver Proof sets is available here.
The coins and designs
Until now, there has never been a set of Reverse Proof examples of the coins normally issued in clad and silver Proof, nor has there been a Reverse Proof cent, nickel, national parks quarter, or Native American dollar, which are all in the new set.
So, what is a Reverse Proof coin? Reverse Proofs simply reverse the finish seen on regular Proof coins – frosted design devices and raised lettering against highly mirrored fields – meaning they have mirrored designs and raised lettering against frosted backgrounds. This gives them a very different and distinctive look compared to other coins. Reverse Proofs have become very popular with collectors, partly because there are not nearly as many Reverse Proof coins from the U.S. Mint compared to the hundreds of regular Proof issues in existence.
The first coins of this type were issued in 2006 as part of the 20th Anniversary American Silver Eagle coin set, which included a 2006-W Reverse Proof coin, as well as the 20th Anniversary American Gold Eagle coin set, which included the 2006-W Reverse Proof gold coin – the only U.S. gold coin ever issued with this finish. Since then there have been other Reverse Proof Silver Eagles, the 2007-W American Platinum Eagle Reverse Proof, the 2011-P Peverse Proof American Silver Eagle, the 2012-S Reverse Proof American Silver Eagle, the 2013-W American Buffalo Gold Reverse Proof, the 2014-W Reverse Proof Kennedy half dollar, the 2015-P Reverse Proof Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, and Kennedy Presidential Dollars, and the 2015-W Reverse Proof Roosevelt dime.
The 2018-S Silver Reverse Proof sets will include 10 coins with this special finish. There will be one lens with the 2018 Lincoln cent, Jefferson nickel, Roosevelt dime, John F. Kennedy half dollar, and Native American dollar (that honors the contributions of Jim Thorpe to American sports and culture). The dollar coin design depicts Jim Thorpe, while the foreground highlights his achievements in football and as an Olympian. Inscriptions are “JIM THORPE,” “WA-THO-HUK,” (Thorpe’s native name), “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” and “$1.”
Then there will be a second lens with the five silver 2018 America the Beautiful quarters, including coins honoring: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan; Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin; Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota; Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia; and Block Island National Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island.
This is the first time eight of these ten coins will be struck with a Reverse Proof finish, which is an exciting development for collectors of modern U.S. Mint coins, especially those building sets of the various coins in the new Reverse Proof set. Those collectors will need those coins to have a complete set of cents, dimes, etc.
As the first coins issued with this finish, the coins in this set are expected to be sought by collectors for many years to come. Depending on whether the Mint produces any future sets of this type, the coins in the 2018 set could also become valuable one-year type coins.