Proof Ultra Cameo- “Collector’s Caviar”
The finest coins the U.S. Mint issues in terms of overall eye appeal and quality strike, are United States Mint Proof Coins. Most people think the term “proof” means the condition of the coin; however, “Proof” is a manufacturing process that produces sharp detail and brilliant mirror-like surfaces. U.S. Proof Sets are minted specifically for collectors, and have higher price points than their uncirculated counterparts. Proof coins are considered “Collector Caviar.” They exhibit shiny mirrored surfaces with sharp contrast between the image and surface, with razor-sharp details of the image and inscriptions. A "Cameo," effect or finish, is when there is a softly frosted, detailed design (devices), which seems to float above the contrasting mirrored background (field), giving the coin a remarkable reflective 3D-type effect. In the early years of Proof minting, from 1936 until approximately 1972, Proof coins that had the desired cameo contrast where the very first few coins minted from a fresh set of polished dies, causing deeply mirrored fields with frosted devices. Older rare coin with a Cameo finish are quite rare and demand very high premiums. In the early 1970's the U.S. Mint employed new technology enabling the Mint to achieve a distinctive cameo contrast on all Proof coins.
Proof coins are specially minted for collectors, important occasions, and other numismatic purposes, and never circulated. Proof coins are issued by most countries around the world, however, U.S. Mint proof coinage among the most widely collected coins today. U.S. Mint proof coins are struck at the San Francisco, Philadelphia, and West Point Mints. Each Proof Set is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. Today, thanks to modern high-tech minting equipment and enhanced preparation processes, all proof coins have perfect mirrored surfaces with cameo contrasting frosted designs, every time. U.S. proof coins are the U.S. Mint’s finest and most beautiful coins minted, representing our Country on the world stage of numismatics. Collectors are drawn to Proof coins because of their limited mintages, numismatic rarity, exceptional coin details, and aesthetic appeal. Even at higher price points, Proof coins are always in demand.
Other U.S Mint Sets
Today, the U.S. Mint has a variety of proof sets, including very popular Silver Proof Sets such as the America the Beautiful silver proof series sets, which help launch a new generation of coin collectors. Additionally, there are many Clad Proof Coin Sets available in a variety of sizes, that is an affordable way to get started collecting Proof Coins on a budget. There are several Clad Proof Sets to choose from, including the America the Beautiful Quarter Series, the 50 State Quarters Program, and Presidential Dollars. Prestige Proof Sets are a popular choice among modern proof and Mint sets which began with the 1983 issue through the final set that was released in 1997. However, collecting all of the Prestige proof sets is a challenge due to their scarcity and value. If Proof coins are more than you want to spend, then an affordable option are the Brilliant Uncirculated Mint Coin Sets, which include all the coins produced for circulation in a specific year, minted in Brilliant Uncirculated condition, minted at both Philadelphia and Denver Mints.