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How were 1936-1942 Proof Coins shipped?

lsicalsica Posts: 1,553 ✭✭✭

I know that 1950-1954 sets were shipped in that brittle cellophane with that nasty staple, but how were 1936-1942 sets shipped? Especially when only one or two coins were ordered? Thanks

Philately will get you nowhere....


  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 3,047 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Not my area of expertise but I think they were shipped in tissue paper. Others with more knowledge can can confirm or give you better info.

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,572 ✭✭✭✭✭

    From what I understand, the coins were sold individually, so you could buy just a penny or a penny and a quarter, or whatever you wanted, as far as how they were shipped I’m not really sure…

    Someone in here is bound to know. 👍

  • Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 2,068 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Calling @FlyingAl

  • mattnissmattniss Posts: 548 ✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl has some great info to share on his own experience with an original proof set from that era.

  • First, I certainly agree that Roger Burdette's book is the authoritative work on the subject of proofs 1936-1942. I use it frequently.

    I have a few of my own observations about the packaging of this era and the 1950-1955 packaging. I would like to hear others' comments as well.

    I think any proofs from that 36-42 era in the original packaging are now very rare. In fact for me, the only complete set of proof coins in the original stapled cellophane packaging I've seen is the one from Roger's book pictured above. I have seen a few of the single coin or multiples of the same denomination in the original cellophane, but I've only been at it about 5 years.
    As noted earlier, coins were sold individually in that era, not as a complete proof set unless ordered in that fashion, one of each, by the collector. Mostly I see only the empty boxes for sale. I have only assembled sets from this era in Capital holders.

    The coins came in a 2.5 x 2.5" gray cardboard box sealed with brown paper tape. They were wrapped in folded tissue paper fitted to the box interior. This packaging continued later, post war, when proof coins resumed in the 1950-1955 Then began the era of complete proof sets sold directly from the mint. I have seen a couple of these early boxes (1939 and 1942) that have had clearly authentic mint address mailing labels on the box itself with canceled postage and the appropriate era postage stamp and date. Others have not. I don't know whether this represents variation in mint shipping or boxes purporting to be what they are not. I have not seen enough of these era boxes to comment further.

    I think a lot of the later boxed sets are assembled composite from other sets. Judging from both sealed and unsealed sets, it appears the 1950-1952 boxes are sealed criss-crossed with 2 perpendicular bands of brown paper tape. The 1953-1955 boxes only have one band. I use this for judging a box authentic to the dated coins as much as possible. For 1955, I only purchase sets stamped on top with the large 1955 date and the words "United States proof coins." I see other sets marked 1955 without this dating and I consider those to be composites. It could be mint variation, but most are the stamped variety.
    I have seen several boxes that have been stamped in black with smaller dates of either 2 or 4 numbers such as "1954" or"52." I don't know if this is mint variation or if applied later by the collector. I think the latter.
    I only consider coin sets original if they are in the yellow, brittle cellophane held together with a now rusted staple. The are plenty of sets in polyethylene bags with a newer appearing staple which I am certainly skeptical of as repackaging. I considered that a certainty, until recently when I saw a polyethylene set with a rusty staple. Other comments please on this issue.

    Proof coins are actually packaged by the people in the medals division. I think this could have led to some of the possible variations.

    This brings me to my last topic. Sealed versus unsealed sets. I don't think there is a right answer. It's an obvious quandary. Are we satisfying the allure of acquiring a totally pristine set or being hoodwinked by some shyster that has absconded with the original coins and resealed the box with a bunch of washers or such. Maybe it's like Schrodinger's cat. The reality is they're half fake and half real till we look inside. I confess I have some unsealed sets. I would really like to hear others' opinions and experiences here.

    Please, I would like to hear as many responses as possible. I could be wrong about all this stuff. But I do really think that verifying the packaging can help insure true originality.

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