Silver Proof Sets
In 1992, the United States Mint introduced a new proof set product, which included coins struck in a composition of 90% silver. These Silver Proof Sets have been issued for collectors each year since, combining precious metals content with high quality proof coins. Some of the annual sets have lower mintages providing additional numismatic value.
From 1992 until 1998, the Silver Proof Sets included a total of five different coins. The Lincoln Cent and Jefferson Nickel were struck in their standard compositions. The Roosevelt Dime, Washington Quarter, and Kennedy Half Dollar were struck in the composition of 90% silver and 10% copper, also known as "coin silver."
While the first year of release sold in large numbers, eventually sales began to fall for subsequent releases. This pattern continued until the 1995 Silver Proof Set, which had an extremely low mintage of only 549,878 sets. By comparison, the regular clad version of the set had a mintage above 2 million. Secondary market premiums developed for the lower mintage Silver Proof Sets, creating a greater degree of interest for subsequent releases.
With the start of the 50 State Quarters Program in 1999, the size of the annual set increased to nine coins. The number of silver coins was also increased and now included a dime, half dollar, and five different quarters. The 1999 Silver Proof Set had the lowest mintage during the program and is viewed as an important and valuable issue.
In recent years, the rising market price of silver has caused some earlier sets to increase in value. Silver Proof Sets issued from 1992-1998 contain 0.61487 troy ounces of silver, while the 1999-2008 issues contain 1.33823 troy ounces of silver.