United States Proof Sets are produced every year for collectors, and generally contain “proof” examples of all regular issue coins produced that year — pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollars and $1 coins. With a few exceptions, Proof Sets have been actively marketed by the US Mint to avid collectors since 1936. Proof coins are made to the same specifications as non-proof coins, meaning they are of the same weight, same metal purity, etc., but proof coins are made from specially prepared, highly polished dies that give them highly reflective, often mirror-like surfaces. Earlier proof coins were package individually but sold together in sets, then they were all packaged together in one cellophane envelope; today, the coins are encased together in hard plastic lenses packaged inside of an outer cardboard box.
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