US Coin Proof Sets

US coin proof sets are collectible coins that many consider to be great investments, bringing beauty and diversity to any investment portfolio. However, most who collect these unique sets are true coin collection lovers and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into every single piece. Anyone considering starting a collection of coinage will certainly want to investigate US mint proof sets, as these can prove to be among the most valuable pieces found today. To get started with this hobby that is said to be as ancient as the Biblical times, conduct first, a little research on the different collectibles such as rare, uncirculated, and proof coins. Gathering information will lead to making wise and prudent purchases that can then lead to good, sound investment strategies.

Understanding the difference between certain terms will help the beginner understand the value of each piece under consideration and if this particular purchase will prove to be a good investment. When a collection is referred to as US mint proof sets, this means that the set has been specially crafted then distributed directly from the United States mint. This special process includes treating a die with chemicals that will give the coins a unique appearance. The background of each proof coin has die that is highly polished, and this leaves a reflective, or mirror-type of image. Then, when the image is struck onto the background, it is created with a frosted finish. This is accomplished by striking the image several times. The entire finish is called "cameo" and has a three-D effect in appearance.

When grading or researching coins, the attributes, "CAM" or "DCAM" may be assigned specific coins and this refers to the cameo type finish. US coin proof sets will all have this three-D, cameo types of quality finish. Today's top grade proof coins are placed in protective coverings after they are scrutinized by gloved inspectors at the mint where they were produced. This means that, unless the piece is removed from packaging and put into circulation within the commercial system, the coins are uncirculated. Many US mint proof sets are also limited in production, making them rare and extremely collectible.

Coins that are not crafted as proof, but are new and fresh from the mint can be uncirculated and have additional value. The uncirculated pieces are different than US coin proof sets, because uncirculated can refer to several different conditions of the coins. When a coin of any type of process has little wear and has been placed into protective coverings, it may be considered as uncirculated. Often these pieces are highly prized, especially in the older and more rare cases. Rare coins refer to pieces that are difficult to find and that are no longer in circulation. There are some series of coinage that were offered in limited numbers and these may prove to be fairly expensive.

Coinage that is no longer in circulation can still be purchased, traded, and sold. There are retailers around the world that specialize in brokering rare and expensive coins. There are also trade shows that specialize in US mint proof sets and other valuable coinage and these shows generally carry large inventories with broad selections to choose from. The Internet also has several agencies that specialize in the trading of coins and they often offer information on collecting, buying, and selling on their sites. Before purchasing any US coin proof sets or other collectible coins, it may be a good idea to use the Internet as a convenient means of comparison-shopping. Auctions have proven to be exciting ways to obtain collectible coins and many collectors thoroughly enjoy trading in this environment.

Coin collecting can be a fun and challenging hobby, and one that can lead to prudent financial investments, as well. Many collectors understand that having US mint proof sets in their possession also means having a diversified financial investment portfolio. Because the stock market can be highly volatile, it is always good to have tangible assets on hand that can be liquidated easily. Coins provide a precious metals market security that paper currency cannot. Looking to the future and planning ahead financially is a good thing, but the Bible explains that we are to put our trust in the Lord and not into the temporary wealth of this world. "Some trusts in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." (Psalm 20:7)

Be sure and conduct ample research before buying any US coin proof sets or other rare and uncirculated coinage. There are many details associated with trading coinage and beginners will want to have ample knowledge before making large investments. There is an entire language associated with trading valuable coinage, and beginners will need to understand the lingo associated with the value of pieces. The Internet is a great place to begin learning more about collections and the trading of these precious metals. Log on today, and conduct further study about this fascinating hobby and investment strategy.

US Commemorative Coins

Collecting US commemorative coins is a wonderful way to enjoyably create wealth during spare time. US commemorative coins have been minted since the turn of the 20th century, and have had a wide range of themes from the Louisiana Purchase up to this years 2008 Bald Eagle commemorative. The minting of these coins began due to the efforts of the founder of the American Numismatic Association, who sold the coins at shows. The coins are beautiful in the uncirculated condition and bring top dollar if they remain so. In the early days of the minting there weren't many sold, and so what was not sold was melted down, creating a premium later on for the ones that were sold.

There are usually limited numbers of coins minted each time a new piece is produced. This is one reason why they are so desirable and collectable. Limited numbers of sets automatically creates a demand. The numbers minted range from 100,000 all the way up to many millions. Gold is one of the most desirable precious metals available, and has been for decades. It is associated with wealth and status. The composition of these pieces are generally ninety percent gold and ten percent alloy metal. The gold is always 24 karat, which means it is soft. Therefore, if these commemorative gold coin sets are not carefully kept, they easily take on scratches and discolorations when handled in any way. It is therefore in the best interest of the collector to ensure these pieces remain protected in the sleeve in which it came.

US commemorative gold coin sets are and have been minted at more than three minting facilities over the years. These are the Denver mint, the Philadelphia mint, the San Francisco mint, and more recently the mint at West Point, NY. The facilities mint the currency in various amounts of precious metals, anywhere from one-tenth of an ounce up to one ounce. The commemoratives are minted in gold, silver and palladium metals. In the last nine years, the West Point, NY facility minted pieces that contain both gold and platinum! Perhaps in future years collectors may see US commemorative coins manufactured in more combinations such as gold and silver, or silver and palladium. Time will tell.

Each time a commemorative gold set is minted, a law is first passed by Congress to order the pieces to be produced. A theme is chosen, an artist commissioned, and then the process begins. Many times the theme is to commemorate an historical event like the founding of West Point Military Academy, or the first flight of Wilbur and Orville Wright. When these themes appear on the coinage, the proceeds from the sales go towards supporting the organizations tied to the themes on the pieces. So when collectors purchase the sets, they will know that the money is being well spent. Other sets are produced to commemorate events such as the Olympics and when the flag was raised in Iwo Jima by our marines.

US commemorative coins present remarkable and beautiful artwork by many skilled artists. For example, on the 2004 Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commemorative silver dollar, one side depicts Lewis and Clark next to a stream bank. On the other side of the piece is depicted a design that represents the many lives of Native Americans with whom the explorers interacted, as well as a medal presented to the many nations of Indians. Many of the artists who create the engravings that are placed on the commemorative sets also have done sculptures and other works which are wonderful. It is quite a cultural journey to learn about all the many artists who have contributed their considerable skills for the minting of these pieces, and can be an inspiration for those artists who aspire to something of this caliber.

US commemorative coins are usually minted for a short period of time. For issues of other metals, commemoratives are produced over a series of years, as in the case of the silver quarter series that commemorate the fifty states. The minting for these quarters ran from 1999 to 2008! Commemorative themes have also been repeated at times, as in the Gold Indian Head sets with the buffalo on the reverse side. These were first produced from 1913 and again in 2001. Not only does the collector of these pieces learn about artists, but will also learn a great deal about American history!

The collector of commemorative gold coin sets can find these valuable additions to collections not only through the mints, but also via on-line auctions, publications and shows across the country. Collectors can also offer whole or partial collections for sale via these auction houses, and can read about special collections that come up for sale every so often. Not only are US gold sets up for sale, but gold issues from across the world! Of course, some of these collections are quite superb, and contain coinage in the uncirculated or even wholly proof condition. Therefore, unless some numismatists have been collecting for many years and have quite a bit of money to spend on collections such as these, the average collector may not have the ability to bid on sets like these. However these auctions offer the average collector of commemorative gold coin sets ample opportunity to learn more and more about what coins are available in the future, and the value these coins sell for in the markets today.

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