Contributed By Doug West, Ph.D.
The prices of US Proof sets can be analyzed to determine which set’s prices are high or low when compared to the group as a whole. The buying and selling of Proof sets is like most other markets, that is, they are always moving toward a price equilibrium. The problem is the term “price equilibrium” is a moving target. There is new information, buyers, and sellers constantly being introduced into the proof set market. As a result of these changes in the market place, some of the sets will appear to be too high relative to the group as a whole and some sets will appear to be too low. In this article, I analyze the group of proof sets from 1956 to 2007 and identify a few sets that may be over priced and a few sets that may be under priced based on mintage numbers.
The mintage figures used were from the 2010 Guide Book of United States Coins (“Red Book”) and the prices are Coin Dealer Newsletter bid prices from June 12, 2009. Only the regular clad and silver proof sets (including the Premier sets) were included in the data set. The proof quarter, Prestige, Presidential, and American Legacy sets were not included in the study. Figure 1 is a plot of the results of the analysis. The x axis is the mintage of the set in millions. The y axis is a logarithmic plot of the CDN price of the set. The price verse mintage was fitted with an exponential equation. The exponential fit gives a straight line on a logarithmic plot. Without getting bogged down in more mathematical jargon, the way to make useful sense of Figure 1 is to consider the sets that are above the line and assume they are more expensive relative to the sets that are below the line. Sets farthest from the line (upward) are more expensive based on their mintage than sets that are on or near the line. The same principle applies to sets that are the furthest below the line, except they are the least expensive sets based on their mintages.
The sets that are significantly above the line, which are considered over priced based purely on their mintage, include the 1999 silver, 2001 silver, 2001, 1976 three piece silver, and 1964 proof sets. I am going to throw out the 1964 set from this group of over priced sets. At a CDN bid of $11.75 this is approximately $3.00 over the silver melt value of the set and a significant portion of these sets have been broken up and the singles have been sold separately. The 1976 three piece silver set is a one year type set and there is justification for this higher price relative to the mintage of 3,998,621. The price of the 1999 silver, 2001 silver, and 2001 clad don’t seem to have a valid reason for this higher than expected set price.
There are seven sets that appear to be real bargains when compared to the group as a whole, these are: 1992 silver Premier, 1998 silver Premier, 1986, 1992, 1972, and 1982. These sets are further from the line on the down side. At only $11.00 wholesale and around $18.00 retail, the 1992 silver Premier set with a mintage of only 308,055 appears to be the bargain of the bunch. The 1998 silver Premier has similar statistics and also a good buy. The 1972, 1982, 1986, and 1992 sets have Red Book prices of $6.00, $6.00, $11.00, and $9.00, respectively. These four sets are just flat cheap, what else can I say?
Figure 1 – Proof Set Price Plot
Considering the old adage “Buy low, sell high”, hopefully this article has helped identify what is currently low in price and what is high in price. As always, buy and sell with a reputable professional coin dealer to ensure you are getting what you pay for and you get a good price when it comes time to sell your proof sets.
Disclaimer: this article is intended solely for informational purposes. The opinions are those of the author only. Please conduct additional research before making any financial decisions. No responsibility can be accepted for losses that my result of trading on the basis of this analysis.