US Mint Delays Three 2016 Sets Due to Printing Error

by Mike Unser on January 20, 2016 · 29 comments

Sales of three annually issued proof sets have been delayed because of a packaging error, the United States Mint said today.

2016 quarters box, wrong image

The box for the 2016 ATB Quarters Proof Set had an incorrect image of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

One of the sets was released earlier this month and had to be pulled from Mint store shelves. The other two had not yet been placed on sale. The three collector sets affected include:

  • 2016 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set
  • 2016 Proof Set
  • 2016 Silver Proof Set

The quarters proof set had launched on Jan. 11. It was available for a short time until the error was discovered and its sales suspended. Customers that received the set may return it for replacement.

The Error

All three sets have proof coins that are placed in protective lenses that ship inside of illustrated boxes. The printing error was found on the box for the quarters. Specifically, an incorrect image of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was used. The park is one of the five national sites commemorated on 2016 quarters with a unique reverse design. The same error also affected the other two sets.

Expected Release Timeframe

The 2016 Proof Set was originally scheduled to launch on Feb. 29. The release date for the 2016 Silver Proof Set had yet to be announced. April is now the target month for all three sets.

"We expect all three products to be available for sale in the April timeframe," Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, said in an e-mail statement. "The Mint deeply regrets the error and any inconvenience it has caused to its customers," he added.

Look to the Mint’s online schedule for updated release dates as they become available.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard January 20, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Gosh, thought for a moment we had a real error in a piece of enclosed currency. Oh well, one can dream.

Tinto January 20, 2016 at 1:32 pm

I guess the Mint folks responsible for this were too busy doing something else.

Tinto January 20, 2016 at 1:36 pm

It still doesn’t explain why the Silver ATB proof set was error free, since isn’t it supposed to come out before the full fledged regular proof sets? And wouldn’t it use the same cover box as the clad ATB proof set?

Or is it that I may be off here since I don’t collect ATB proof sets and stopped buying the regular silver proof sets after 2014 …

David January 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm

I think the silver quarter set is also affected they just missed it in their press release.

John January 20, 2016 at 1:44 pm

I can understand errors can happen but I cannot understand the delay on the regular proof set – our company could easily have them new boxes in two weeks or so – they are pushing back a Feb 29 release date into April.

Joe January 20, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Very collectable error for a box.

Tinto January 20, 2016 at 2:15 pm

“I think the silver quarter set is also affected they just missed it in their press release.”

Par for the course with the MInt …. last year 2015, they released the clad ATB proof set on Feb 3rd, followed by the Silver ATB proof set on Feb 20th …..
the full clad proof set was released March 24th, followed by the silver on May 14th …

Seth Riesling January 20, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Mike Unser –

Thanks for the update on these sets. But the article doesn’t say exactly what the specific image error is. I have been to Kentucky a number of times, but not to the Cumberland Gap national park. What site does the error photo on the packaging depict?
The U.S. Mint has produced error coins since it’s beginnings over 200 years ago as we all know, but with all the modern computer technology available today at the Mint & at its outside contracted vendors, it is still producing errors – mainly in packaging, booklets & COAs in recent years. The packaging & printing & historical errors just since 2013 are adding up quickly! This makes me wonder how much attention they give to the quality of the coins themselves if they cannot get simple packaging & written information correct! The number of apologies the Mint has had to issue lately basically saying “we are sorry for the inconvenience” is simply shameful for the largest Mint in the world.
Those who bought the sets with the printing error might be surprised what some diehard ATB quarters collectors will pay for such a thing, depending on how many were shipped before someone noticed the embarrassing mishap. There are collectors for everything out there. Just look at some of the “strange” items offered in the collectibles section on eBay for proof.
As i write this, & as i posted a few days ago on another CoinNews article, the Mint’s outside printing vendor is having to reprint the COAs for the Mark Twain commemorative silver $1 coins, both Proof & Uncirculated versions due to incorrect information that wasn’t caught in the proofreading stage! These errors cost the Mint a good amount of money to correct & they seem to pass the cost on to their customers by raising prices even on the cheaper base metal coins & sets.
What a mess!


Tinto January 20, 2016 at 3:33 pm

And this error would not have occurred if only the Mint had kept using its plain vanilla packaging. I checked my silver proof sets from 1999 (when I got hooked on the statehood quarters) and it wasn’t until 2013 that the Mint started using full color boxes along with full color photos including each state’s parks. All at an increase in printing cost of course and guess who they pass it along to?

Tinto January 20, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Ooops I just made an error myself, Seth already posted the costing stuff before I did …

jim January 20, 2016 at 7:51 pm

An incorrect image? Does that mean it’s not the image of Cumberland Gap they wanted to use or not an image of Cumberland Gap at all? For myself I don’t even look at the pictures on the box – it’s the coins I’m collecting.

Still, just more evidence in my mind that a bureaucrat in the position of “Principal Deputy Director” serves no other purpose than to draw his paycheck. We need an actual Director of the Mint whose job it is to run the mint and take responsibility for the mint and the quality of it’s coins and associated packaging than some temporary bureaucrat.

Keep Calm & Stack On! January 20, 2016 at 8:59 pm

The photo of the falls is located in the State Park, not the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park which is to the east a ways from the falls.

If that really matters, it’s in the neighborhood

Seth Riesling January 20, 2016 at 9:40 pm

Keep Calm & Stack On! –

Thanks for answering my question about the exact location of the color photo the Mint used in error on this new product. Does the Mint not have access to Google maps & images!? Simply amazing & a sad situation really.


eml January 20, 2016 at 10:20 pm

Even more bizarre–the pictures on the box don’t always reflect the actual coin images anyway.

jim January 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm

I sent a nasty note to the Secretary of the Treasury about Jeppson and his incompetencies regarding the poor quality of the American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin and the delaying of the silver Twains and these three coin sets. I expect he’ll never see it but maybe, just maybe, whoever does read it may mention something to Secretary Lew.

Since the ATB quarters proof set is the only one that got out I’m wondering if there might be a premium for the error package. Kinda like a premium for a special piece of paper (e.g. first strike) with a graded coin. Ah, but then they’ll probably just toss the errors in the dumpster and the guy who put a nail in the dime press will collect all the error packages and auction them off.

Seth Riesling January 21, 2016 at 11:52 am

jim –

Good for you for writing Jeppson’s boss with your complaints! U.S. Mint Principal Deputy Director Matthew Rhett Jeppson is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, so you don’t want to piss him off in person! Lol. But his boss Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Jack Lew is an intelligent, reasonable man & all U.S. Mint executives answer to him. Let us know if you get a response from the boss! Thanks Jim.


jim January 21, 2016 at 1:47 pm

I just used the Send a Message to the Secretary web page which has no sender information and I didn’t include my email in the message, so no response expected. I did write on paper a note to Geithner complaining about Peterson, Jeppson’s predecessor. If nobody else wrote then my letter was the impetus to reinstate the product schedule which Peterson stopped doing once he took over. Little good it does these days with so many TBDs but still a general idea is better than none at all.

The Send a Message to the Secretary web page is an easy way to vent and I know an actual paper letter has more impact but I don’t happen to have a printer so more of an effort for me. Maybe if more screw-ups occur I’ll resort to paper.

Tinto January 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm

@Seth Riesling

Too bad that ex-Marine is not seen to be running a tight ship, or running any ship at all, even though he is the captain. IMO he could give the Marines a bad name if he keeps “managing” the Mint this way.

Seth Riesling January 21, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Tinto –

I agree with your comments that the U.S. Mint’s ship basically has a hole in it & is taking on water fast! Principal Deputy Director Matthew Rhett Jeppson is part of the government’s executive service division coming from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is ironic since the Mint is NOT a small business of course & is the largest Mint in the world. From the number of things that have gone wrong since he came to the Mint, his “leadership” is certainly in question. And he is not a numismatist to add insult to injury. His spokesman has had to issue numerous apologies to customers on a variety of issues since he showed up for work at the Mint’s administrative headquarters in Washington D.C. The standard response to problems is “The Mint apologizes for any inconvenience …” & is simply not an acceptable response. Action in the right direction is the answer. Maybe the Mint should listen more closely to suggestions of its dedicated customers before we become ex-customers!


jim January 21, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Both Peterson and Jeppson have failed in their job as Deputy Director of the Mint. But it’s not all their fault. You can blame our do-nothing Senate for stalling and failing to do their job to advise and consent on Presidential appointments including among other positions Director of the US Mint.

Keep Calm & Stack On! January 23, 2016 at 6:47 am

The mint needs to PULL ALL 2015 proof and silver AtB products immediately.

The 2015 product packaging for Bombay Hook shows a heron walking on a picturesque sandy beach adjacent to beautiful blue water.

Wrong State! And misrepresentative photo of Bombay Hook…, Ain’t no beautiful sandy beach and certainly no blue water in the vicinity of that locale.., not where that water is flowing from…

Pull It!

Hey, we all get new packaging now! Hehe… ;7

Seth Riesling January 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Mike Unser & all CoinNews readers –

I learned yesterday that 12,000 of these brand new 1st day issue 2016 ATB quarters error packaging with wrong photo sets were sold & shipped to customers before ANYONE at the U.S. Mint from top to bottom noticed the major photo error! Does that give anyone confidence that the U.S. Mint in on the right track!? They are also still reprinting (at their outside vendor) all Mark Twain silver $ Proof & Uncirculated COAs which were all printed with a major historical factual error also! All of these major errors happened in just one week at the US MInt & was not the fault of the printer as the U.S. Mint provided them with the erroneous information & wrong photo to the printer. We need a U.S. Mint Director (we haven’t had one since the last one left in 2011 to work with PCGS & American Bullion Inc.) & hopefully it will NOT be the current Principal Deputy Director Matthew Rhett Jeppson as he has shown horrible judgement & lack of leadership & numerous product errors in his short time in that position ! We need to get, & deserve a professional numismatist with business experience nominated for that most important position. These error printing sets are already trading at a premium among Mint “error” collectors. Simply Amazing!


Joe January 25, 2016 at 11:18 pm

Seth Riesling-

Nice work on finding out that 12000 were sold.

smileyleg January 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Is it possible that it really isn’t the picture, but to cast a shadow to a mint error? Has anyone looked closely at thier coins? Does anyone see something strange with the “A” in Shawnee on the Illinois coin? What do you think?

Seth Riesling January 29, 2016 at 10:29 am

Joe –

Thanks for your nice comment on my last post on this U.S. Mint coin set article on January 23. I just happened to be speaking with an editor of the largest coin publication in the world on another coin topic & just asked him if he knew how many error printing sets were sold & shipped to U.S. Mint customers & he had just gotten off the phone with the Mint spokesman before I called him, so I lucked out with the new info on this error set sales numbers. With 40 years as a numismatist (collector & investor in coins, tokens, medallions & paper money & involved in all aspects of the hobby/industry/science of numismatics) I am lucky to have a wide variety of sources for my information & enjoy sharing & learning from other collectors on this great coin blog website. Editor Mike Unser & I may have some different sources & some probably overlap but with the help of all CoinNews blog readers we can all benefit from all our input.

Happy collecting Joe!


Rocky January 29, 2016 at 7:38 pm

So here’s where I’m at. With technology today, you will very rarely get major errors. Sure if I loop any coin long enough I can find something and call it a “Vam”. Case in point. The 2008 silver eagle reverse of 2007. In 30 years of silver eagle minting, that’s it. hundreds of millions minted and only something like 30K made it to market. So what’s my point? Simple, the best one can hope is the occasional human error like the packaging on these 2016 proof quarters. PS- I guess I was one of the lucky 12,000 because I am the subscription for the ATB quarters. They emailed me if I wanted to return. I will hold mine in hopes that the value will increase.
PS- smileyleg, I looped the A and do not see a thing. Happy collecting people!

jim January 30, 2016 at 9:42 pm

And so now the packaging (something which nobody cared about before) begins to add value to the coin set. I wonder how the graders will acknowledge the mistake in packaging.

kevin February 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm

I’m a novice numismatist (collecting only US Mint commemoratives and subscriptions that I like). I received one of these misprinted 2016 ATB Quarters Proof Set. I called the mint today about returning it and the agent actually brought to my attention about the possible increase in value. So, I’m online researching this and came across this discussion. Just to indicate my lack of experience and knowledge, I hadn’t even realized they were referencing the packaging, and not the coin itself. Since I’ve apparently not received a misprinted coin or packaging before (at least that I’m aware of), is it better for me to keep this set or return it? I read the remarks that even package misprinting increases the value, but if the quantity of 12,000 misprinted sets is correct, does that many sets actually increase the value materially, especially if it’s just the packaging and not the coin itself? Any insights and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

James Penne March 9, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Just received the 2016 Nixon Dollar cover set, one minted first day of mintage in Denver and one in Philadelphia. I’m not a Coin expert but I can tell the difference between these coins. The one from Denver looks like it’s almost proof like compared to the one from Philadelphia Mint.

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