In writing about our personal experiences, we sometimes mention products or services that we use or recommend. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
After all, they’re both sets of coins packaged at the U.S. Mint, and they both contain shiny, mint-condition coins.
While some aspects of mint sets and proof sets may seem similar, they actually are quite different from one another. Even the values of mint sets and proof sets from the same year can be different!
Here are some of the main differences between mint sets and proof sets:
- Proof sets contain one coin of each denomination and design and are carefully produced on polished coin blanks and are struck by polished dies.
- Mint sets contain uncirculated coins very close to the quality of regularly circulating coins. Mint sets contain one coin of each denomination and design made at each mint. Therefore, mint sets commonly contain at least 2 coins of each denomination.
- Proof sets made since the late 1960s are packaged in hard plastic cases.
- Mint sets made since the late 1950s contain at least 2 separate, traditionally cellophane-style packs. All mint sets since the late 1950s (excluding special mint sets made from 1965 to 1967) package coins from Philadelphia in a blue-themed holder, whereas coins from Denver (and on occasion San Francisco) are housed in red-themed holders.
My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at CDN Publishing (a trusted source for the price of U.S. rare coins), editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've also authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins — and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!