Unnamed set - 210196
1966 SMS





Coin Details

Origin/Country: UNITED STATES
Item Description: 50C 1966 SMS
Owner: Cellgazer

Set Details

Custom Sets: This coin is not in any custom sets.
Competitive Sets: Unnamed set - 154808   Score: 2754
Unnamed set - 158027   Score: 2754
Unnamed set - 153917   Score: 2699
Unnamed set - 210196   Score: 2699
Kennedy Kennedy Kennedy   Score: 2699
Unnamed set - 210576   Score: 2699
Research: NGC Coin Explorer NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

This entry is devoted to a particularly scarce group of highly coveted coins struck during a three-year period, from 1965 to 1967. The Coinage Act of 1965 mandated the end of circulating silver coinage in favor of copper-nickel-clad coinage. The transition was an enormous undertaking for the U.S. Mint. They were tasked with producing quantities of copper-nickel-clad coins to ultimately replace the silver coins presently in circulation. Because it was impractical—if not impossible—to completely replace all the currency at once, silver coins, too, continued to be struck until 1966. Working furiously, the Mint created an unprecedented number of coins in Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. The statistics for this period of production are staggering: before 1964, only three mintage figures of quarters exceeded 100 million, with the most coming in 1963 when the Denver Mint struck 135,288,184 quarters. In 1965, however, more than 1.8 billion quarters were struck! In the entire prior history of the silver quarter dollar, from 1796 to 1964, a total of 4.4 billion coins were struck for circulation. Between 1965 and 1967, more than 4.1 billion quarters were struck, so that in just three years, the U.S. Mint nearly matched the production of the previous 168. To enable this enormous increase in production, the Mint cut back in other ways from 1965 to 1967. For one thing, they removed mintmarks from coins. Secondly, the Mint struck no Proof sets or Mint sets in these years, not wanting to devote labor and resources to that endeavor. To satisfy collectors, they issued Special Mint Sets, a hybrid of the Mint set and Proof set. There was less emphasis on packaging and production quality than for normal Proof sets, but the coins were specially struck for this purpose. Possibly as a measure to curb demand, their issue price was set at $4, nearly double the price of Proof sets or Mint sets in previous years. The coins in these sets vary considerably in their appearance from one to another. Some of them present a rather gray satin surface with striated die polish that is unique to Special Mint Set (or SMS) coinage, particularly those coins dated 1965. Others resemble regular circulation-strike coins with few distinguishing characteristics, while others yet resemble true Proof coinage with highly reflective, mirrorlike fields and contrasting frosted devices. These are said to be early strikes from fresh dies. Coins that display contrast between their devices (the design area of the coins) and their fields (the blank portions) are referred to as cameo, named after the carved relief jewelry with related characteristics. Coins with the strongest or sharpest level of contrast are referred to as ultra cameo or deep cameo. Although very rare, some SMS coins with this strongest level of cameo contrast are known and are valuable. The reason that these coins are so desirable is that they resemble the highest-quality Proof coins, and SMS coinage is today sought by collectors of Proof coinage. Only a few dozen ultra cameo examples have been identified for each of the cent, nickel, dime, and quarter dollar. The Kennedy half dollar, especially the 1967 issue, is slightly more available with very deep cameo contrast, and a few hundred exist. While most SMS coins are relatively available and affordable, these high-contrast coins are the noteworthy exception. Garrett, Jeff; Schechter, Scott; Bressett, Kenneth; Bowers, Q. David (2011-03-04). 100 Greatest US Modern Coins (Kindle Locations 2180-2206). Whitman Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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