Today, May 7, 2012, the United States Mint released the 2012 Proof Set at a price of $31.95.
It is the first core or annual set which contains all of this year’s coins, including those with one-year only designs like those featured on the reverses of the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters, the 2012 Presidential $1 Coins and the recently released Native American Dollar.
Similar core silver and the uncirculated annual sets will follow in the coming months. Of the three, the proof set is by far the most popular as more than one million have been ordered annually over the last several years.
Coins in 2012 Proof Set
Fourteen clad coins make up the 2012 Proof Set. Each bears the "S" mintmark, indicating their "collectible" nature due to their origin at the U.S. Mint facility in San Francisco and resulting proof finish. Regular or circulating coinage, on the other hand, is produced in greater quantities at Philadelphia or Denver and lack the special finish.
This year’s proof set is composed of the following clad coins:
- 2012-S Chester Arthur Presidential $1 coin
- 2012-S Grover Cleveland Presidential $1 coin
- 2012-S Benjamin Harrison Presidential $1 coin
- 2012-S Grover Cleveland Presidential $1 coin (second term)
- 2012-S Native American $1 coin featuring the theme, "Trade Routes in the 17th Century"
- 2012-S Kennedy half-dollar
- 2012-S Roosevelt dime
- 2012-S Jefferson nickel
- 2012-S Lincoln cent
- 2012-S El Yunque National Forest quarter
- 2012-S Chaco Culture National Historical Park quarter
- 2012-S Acadia National Park quarter
- 2012-S Hawaii Volcanoes National Park quarter
- 2012-S Denali National Park quarter
The proof quality, mirror-like background and highly detailed frosted designs are achieved by the United States Mint’s unique processing, described below by the bureau.
"United States Mint proof coins are extraordinarily brilliant, with sharp relief and a mirror-like background. Their frosted, sculpted foregrounds give them a special cameo effect. Proof blanks are specially treated, polished and cleaned to ensure high-quality strikes. The blanks are then fed into presses fitted with specially polished dies and struck at least twice to ensure sharp relief. The coins are then packaged in protective lenses to showcase and maintain their exceptional finish."
There are three protective lenses for the fourteen clad proofs. The five America the Beautiful Quarters are in one, four Presidential dollars are in another, and the remaining five coins of various denominations are in the third. A Certificate of Authenticity is also included.
Proof Set Product Popularity
The total mintage of the set will depend on collector demand. Last year’s issue is still available, and 1,075,197 have been sold between its release on January 11, 2011 and the U.S. Mint’s most recent count as of April 30, 2012.
U.S. Mint Order Information
Customers wanting to purchase the 2012 Proof Set may order directly from the United States Mint website located here, or call toll-free at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). There are no household order limits.
Upcoming Annual Sets
At the time of this writing, the U.S. Mint had the uncirculated 2012 Mint Set scheduled for release on May 21 and the 2012 Silver Proof Set for June 4.
The uncirculated set is also composed of clad coins but will contain twice as many of them. These are produced at the U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia, and they will have a brilliant finish.
In the silver set will be fourteen issues, with seven composed of 90% silver — the five America the Beautiful Quarters and the dime and half-dollar. Coins in the silver set are minted in San Francisco in proof condition with mirror-like backgrounds.