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Do Anniversary Dates Matter on Coins?

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Do you remember your first Anniversary? The tenth? How about your thirtieth? Anniversaries have become milestones in our lives. Markers to to stop and celebrate. The question remains, do they matter for coins?

Personally for me, 2016 marked my 19th wedding anniversary.  My wife and I sat down and celebrated over a nice meal, without screaming kids and a barking dog!   Any parent has been there. Inevitably, the conversation turned (she started it, not me!) to how we should celebrate our 20th Anniversary.  The conversation meandered and there was no clear answer but it really had me thinking over the conversation and how it reflects our thoughts.  Really?  Is 20 more important than 19?  Or 21?  It happens in coin collecting too. Anniversary coins are not a new or novel idea.  The Mint has celebrated milestones in our Country's history for over two centuries.  I know you all have some bicentennial quarters and Ike dollars stashed somewhere, don't lie! Sticking to American Eagles, let's take a look into some of the previous offerings the Mint has produced for anniversary dates.

One of the most well known among American Eagle collectors today is the 10 Year Anniversary Proof Set released back in 1995. There have been many articles about this set so for the sake of space we'll hit the high points. The gold set consisted of four denominations ($5, $10, $25, $50) and a single $1 Silver Eagle. The set was struck at the West Point Mint and all five coins bear the W mintmark. From 1986 to 1992, the Proof Silver Eagles were all struck in San Francisco, then switched to Philadelphia in 1993. This resulted in TWO different proof Silver Eagles with TWO different mintmarks in 1995. The Mint had no idea of the storm they were about to start. It made sense to strike all of the coins at West Point, no need to have them shipped from Philadelphia when they can do it all in one spot. However, only 30,125 10th Year Anniversary Proof Sets were made, making the 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle the rarest one ever produced! For perspective, Philadelphia produced over 400,000 Silver Proofs that same year. Today, many of the 1995-W Proof Silver Dollars are more expensive than the Gold Set it came with!

The Mint struck gold again for the 20th Anniversary Set in 2006. The Mint flip flopped this year and made a 3-coin Silver Set and a 3-coin Gold Set but there was a definite twist. A new $50 Gold Eagle was struck as a Reverse Proof. This means Lady Liberty on the obverse and the Family of Eagles on the reverse were polished and the fields of the coin were frosted. In other words, it is the reverse of how a proof coin normally looks. Currently, this is the only Gold Eagle ever produced in this fashion. Also in the set was a Proof $50 Gold and a new "burnished" $50 Gold, all were struck at West Point. The 3-coin Silver Set was an immediate success as well. The Mint took the same idea of reverse proofing to the Philadelphia struck Silver Eagle while producing two other silvers at West Point. One would be your typical proof and the other would be the first ever Burnished Silver Eagle. Burnishing is an added process to prepare the blanks for striking. It results in fantastic detail that is not normally seen on an uncirculated coin. These coins were definite winners for the Mint.

With the successes of the the 10th and 20th Anniversary coins the Mint was more than happy to do something special for the 25th Anniversary! There would be no special issues of the gold this year but they pulled no punches on the Silver Eagles and produced a 5-coin set in 2011. Three Silvers were produced at West Point. The Proof, a burnished, and your typical uncirculated Silver Eagle. Philadelphia would produce the Reverse Proof and for the first time San Francisco would jump in and also strike a burnished Silver Eagle, bearing their well known S mintmark. Needless to say, this was a great success and collectors gobbled them up as fast as possible.

So what will the 225th Anniversary bring for 2017? The Mint has released the new $100 American Liberty gold coin to mixed reviews so let's ask the question. Do anniversaries matter on coins? The resounding answer is YES! There are two reasons. The obvious is the Mint does make some incredible coins that collate with the anniversaries. The not so obvious answer is WE are always going to assign anniversaries as special in OUR own minds. We are simply programmed through life that anniversaries matter. If the Mint decided NOT to do anything special this year, it would STILL be a highly collected year for all of us collectors. Thanks for reading! So until next time, I have a 20th anniversary to plan...

Thank You!


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